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Facilitate Your Meeting

This module will assist overdose fatality review (OFR) facilitators in effectively facilitating review meetings to build trust and identify recommendations to prevent future overdose deaths.

Facilitator’s Role

An effective facilitator is a neutral convener who is a good listener, develops trust with partners, encourages group participation and engagement, leads but does not direct discussion, and guides the group towards collective problem solving to craft recommendations.

Facilitator

The facilitator is responsible for ensuring that members agree with the following guiding principles:

Response strategies
Overdose deaths are preventable
North Star
Substance use disorder is a chronic, treatable disease
North Star
Use of multisector data to inform response strategies
North Star
Continually improve the OFR process and prevention activities

An OFR meeting is a combination of information sharing, group brainstorming and problem solving, strategic planning, and decision making. The meeting facilitator actively participates in the discussion, moving it from information sharing to problem solving using the following strategies.

Meeting agenda and measuring success

  • Meeting agenda

    Meeting agenda

    Successful OFR case reviews depend on thoughtful preparation by the OFR coordinator, beginning a month or two before an OFR case review meeting. A list of coordinator activities and a timeline is provided along with the Coordinator’s Meeting Preparation Checklist provided in Module 2.

    Opening remarks and introduction
    Goals and ground rules
    Confidentiality
    Case presentation
    Member report-outs
    Group discussion
    Case and timeline summarized
    Formulate recommendations
    Summarize and adjourn

    Opening remarks and introduction

    This step should include member introductions, updates from previous meetings, upcoming events, data presentation, review case selection criteria, and other announcements.

    • Member introductions: Attendees share their names, titles and their agencies’ names and roles in preventing overdose fatalities.
    • Updates from previous meetings: Members share status updates on any delegated action items or recommendations from previous meetings.
    • Data presentation: At the beginning of the year, present an overview of the prior year’s fatal and nonfatal overdose deaths. At each subsequent meeting, present the year-to-date number of overdose fatalities and any noticeable trends (e.g., changes by overall numbers, demographics, or substance type). Understanding overdose fatalities (e.g., who is at risk for an overdose and where overdose deaths are happening) requires an ongoing and real-time analysis of overdose trends. Using a standard report will help partners understand long-term trends in fatalities and allow them to plan and develop new strategies or modify existing ones. Data and analysis from these reports can also be invaluable for promoting public awareness and outreach, as well as for applying for grant funding. A sample summary data report is included in Appendix B. Also, refer to the CDC Foundation’s PHAST for more guidance about presenting data at an OFR meeting.
    • Review case selection criteria: If not all overdose deaths within a jurisdiction are being reviewed, remind the review committee about which criteria were used to select the case

    Goals and ground rules

    The facilitator reads aloud the meeting goal(s), guiding principles, and ground rules included on the agenda handout. Ask participants whether they want to add any new ground rules.

    • A sample list of ground rules is included in Appendix B.
    • Guiding principles listed in Section 3B.

    Confidentiality

    The facilitator or coordinator collects members’ reviewed and signed confidentiality forms and answers any related questions. Confidentiality is discussed in more detail in Module 4. Collect Your OFR Data.

    • Confidentiality agreement: This essential form needs to be signed at the beginning of each review by the members present. A sample confidentiality agreement is included in Appendix D.
    • If more than one case is reviewed at a meeting and some members arrive mid-meeting, the facilitator needs to make sure that they sign and submit the confidentiality agreement when they arrive.
    • Interagency agreement: This agreement needs to be signed by senior leadership of each participating agency (including any ad hoc agencies) before they participate in any reviews. The agreement states the role of the agency in the reviews. A sample interagency data sharing agreement is included in Appendix D.
    • The facilitator is responsible for reminding team members that the meeting is closed and that the information shared in the meeting shall not be discussed outside the meeting, as outlined in the agreements they have signed.

    Case presentation

    The facilitator presents the decedent’s basic case information.

    • The facilitator presents the case summary developed by the coordinator, as outlined in Section 2B. Coordinator’s Activities, Step 6. Summarize Case(s).
    • If each member is given a summary document, all documents should be collected at the end of the meeting.

    Member report-outs

    The facilitator calls on each member to share what he or she knows about the decedent, his or her social connections, and the overdose incident. The information shared helps members understand more about where the decedent lived, socialized, worked, and played to help identify risk factors and missed opportunities for prevention and intervention that may have contributed to the overdose death.

    The facilitator calls on members to share their summary reports, as discussed in Section 2C. Members’ Activity, Step 4. Prepare a Summary, starting with the medical examiner and first-responder agencies, to report out in reverse chronological order, for assistance with developing an incident timeline. The facilitator will then determine the best approach to receive report outs from the remaining members, based on the specific case.

    Group discussion

    The facilitator actively guides the group discussion by encouraging members to ask questions. The group discussion will clarify timeline of significant life events and identify missed opportunities for prevention and intervention. The facilitator may want to use the strategies outline in Section 3D. Meeting Facilitation Strategies.

    Case and timeline summarized

    The facilitator summarizes significant case information and draws a timeline of key activities, ideally on a whiteboard.

    Formulate recommendations

    The facilitator leads a problem-solving discussion as outlined in Figure 2.1 to identify recommendations for change in practices or policies that may have prevented this overdose death and may prevent those in the future.

    Summarize and adjourn

    The facilitator reviews and clarifies actionable recommendations, assigns individuals responsible for any action items, reflects on the meeting’s process and findings, and collects any participants’ handouts containing case information.

    • The facilitator recaps how the meeting went and relates today’s review to other cases or to a larger context, such as by saying, “Today’s case involved a heroin-laced fentanyl, and there has been an increase in such reported cases in recent months from this area of the city.”
    • The team determines whether the investigation is complete or whether more information is needed.
    • Remind members of confidentiality and collect any papers with confidential information.
    • Remind members of the time and location of the next meeting.

Self-Assessment Checklist

Facilitate Your Meeting

Next Module Collect your Data

Check out the toolkit!

Download the toolkit

Appendix

  • Online Resource

    Addiction Language Guide

    Online Resource - 10/27/2023

  • Fact Sheet

    OFR Facilitation Checklist

    Fact Sheet - 3/31/2022

  • Fact Sheet

    10 Tips to Facilitate a Successful Overdose Fatality Review

    Fact Sheet - 3/2/2022

  • Fact Sheet

    Guidance for Facilitators: Beyond Facilitation—The Cultivation of an Overdose Fatality Review Team

    Fact Sheet - 7/14/2021

  • Webinar

    Uncovering the Connection Between a History of Problematic Substance Use and Brain Injury Matters in Overdose Fatality Review

    Webinar - 6/3/2021

  • Sample

    Sample Interview Questions: Facilitator Role

    Sample - 5/7/2021

  • Sample

    Sample Facilitator Job Description

    Sample - 5/5/2021

  • Report

    OFR Timeline Samples

    Report - 1/27/2021

  • Online Resource

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Social Determinants of Health

    Online Resource - 1/26/2021

  • Online Resource

    Office for Victims of Crime: The Vicarious Trauma Toolkit

    Online Resource - 1/15/2021

  • Online Resource

    Traumatic Brain Injury and Opioid Use Toolkit

    Online Resource - 10/19/2020

  • Sample

    Sample List: Facilitator Qualities

    Sample - 7/22/2020

  • Sample

    Sample Template: Meeting Minutes

    Sample - 7/22/2020

  • Sample

    Sample: OFR Agenda

    Sample - 7/22/2020

  • Sample

    Sample: Governing Committee Report Outline

    Sample - 7/22/2020

  • Webinar

    Overdose Fatality Review (OFR) and COVID-19 Response

    Webinar - 5/7/2020

  • Report

    COSSUP Overdose Fatality Reviews and COVID-19 Virtual Case Review Meetings

    Report - 4/20/2020

  • Webinar

    Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Why Addiction is a 'Disease' and Why It’s Important

    Webinar - 4/26/2018

  • Webinar

    Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Overcoming Stigma, Ending Discrimination Webcast

    Webinar - 3/28/2018

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