Dr. Kellie O’Dare is an Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management with the Institute of Public Health at Florida A&M University. She holds a Ph.D. in Social Work from Florida State University, where she also earned both Master of Social Work (MSW) and Master in Public Administration (MPA) degrees. She has worked in various roles with the Florida Legislature, Department of Health (DOH), Department of Children and Families (DCF), and the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), as well as with several state and national University systems. She has provided overall administrative direction, strategic planning, statewide program implementation, policy development, staff supervision, and managed complex operating budgets, comprised of federal, state, grant, and trust fund dollars. Dr. O’Dare has significant experience conceptualizing, designing, implementing, and evaluating large scale quantitative, geospatial, and mixed method research projects in both academic and applied settings. Dr O’Dare is the spouse of a current professional firefighter/paramedic, and is the niece of Shawn T. O’Dare, firefighter/paramedic killed in the Line of Duty in Miami-Dade County in 1985.
Dr. O’Dare is the Founder & Director of the 2nd Alarm Project. The 2nd Alarm Project is a multi-faceted, evidence-based outreach and intervention approach to addressing the behavioral health and substance use needs of first responders (primarily fire, EMS, and dispatch) in the FL Panhandle. The program’s vision is that no first responder will face mental health stigma or go without access to evidence-based, first-responder specific behavioral health resources, and that access to these resources will support mission readiness, preserve the force, and improve the long term health of firefighters, families, and retirees. The 2nd Alarm Project seeks to reduce barriers and increase access to evidence-based behavioral health services for first responders by 1- offering no-cost, professional tele-counseling services by licensed, first-responder proficient mental health providers, 2- supporting departments in establishing or enhancing capacity of trained peer support teams, 3- providing state of the art mental health literacy materials, and 4- providing leadership development to reduce mental health stigma and promote culture change. To ensure sustainability, the program strives to build internal capacity within each agency and community we serve. The program takes a comprehensive approach to mental wellness by supporting departments in building comprehensive Behavioral Health Access Programs (BHAP), facilitating best practice implementation and policy development, and providing behavioral health navigation services.