Thanks to everyone who contributed to the success of our conference:
"Why Don't People Listen?" -
The Whole Community and Communicating in a Crisis
Friday, April 25, 2014
The 11th annual Institute for Disaster Mental Health conference on April 25, 2014, focused on how disaster response professionals can best communicate with community members to help them avoid or minimize their exposure to disaster, and to jumpstart their recovery when events do occur. Presentations and workshops addressed specific hazards and populations, with experts familiar with the challenges of message dissemination during complex and rapidly changing disasters. Please visit our Speaker Bios page for more information about our speakers, and for keynote and workshop descriptions please see below. Check back in a few days for streaming video of select keynote presentations.
8 a.m. Registration begins
9-9:30 a.m.: Welcome and Introductions
- Karla Vermeulen, Ph.D., Acting Director, Institute for Disaster Mental Health
- Donald Christian, Ph.D., President, State University of New York at New Paltz
- Jerome Hauer, Ph.D., Commissioner, New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services
- Col. (Retired) Chris Gibson, MPA, Ph.D., Congressman 19th District New York
9:30-10:30 a.m.: The Whole Community Approach to Resilience
Honorable Richard Serino; 8th Deputy Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency
10:30-10:45 a.m.: Break
10:45-11:45 a.m.: Adaptation: Superstorms, Climate Change, and the Future of Cities
- Eric Klinenberg, Ph.D., Professor, Sociology at New York University and author of Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago
11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m.: Information to the Rescue
- Wendy Harman, Director, Information Management and Situational Awareness, Disaster Cycle Services, American Red Cross
12:45-1:45 p.m.: Lunch & Networking
1:45-2:45 p.m.: The Media and the Madness: Is Rome Really Burning?
- Lou McNally, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor, Climate Change Institute, University of Maine at Orono, Maine, and Assistant Professor of Applied Aviation Sciences, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University
2:45-3 p.m.: Break
3-4:30 p.m.: Concurrent Professional Workshops
- Implementing the Whole Community Approach- Honorable Richard Serino; 8th Deputy Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency
- How to Become a Digital Humanitarian- Wendy Harman, Director, Information Management and Situational Awareness, Disaster Cycle Services, American Red Cross
- Critical Information: Whom to Believe and When- Lou McNally, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor, Climate Change Institute, University of Maine at Orono, Maine, and Assistant Professor of Applied Aviation Sciences, Embry Riddle Aeronautical University
- The Challenges of Crisis Communication with Vulnerable Populations- Linda Certo, M.A., L.C.S.W., Assistant Professor of Psychology, SUNY New Paltz
- Post Disaster Talk and No-Talk Communication Strategies with Children and Parents- David A. Crenshaw, Ph.D., ABPP, RPT-S, Clinical Director, Children's Home of Poughkeepsie
Sponsored by the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services
Campus Auxiliary Services
Institute for Disaster Mental Health
State University of New York at New Paltz
The Whole Community Approach to Resilience
As a concept, Whole Community is a means by which residents, emergency management practitioners, private sector, voluntary agencies, non-profits, faith-based groups, academia, organizational and community leaders, and government officials can collectively understand and assess the needs of their respective communities and determine the best ways to organize and strengthen their assets, capacities, and interests. By doing so, a more effective path to societal security and resilience can be built. In a sense, Whole Community is a philosophical approach on how to think about conducting emergency management ¬– which is important to everyone involved in building and maintaining resilience.
1. Participants will be able to identify the key components of Whole Community Concepts.
2. Participants will be able to describe how to help a community be resilient.
3. Participants will understand how to implement Whole Community principles within their own community.
Adaptation: Superstorms, Climate Change, and the Future of Cities
Why wasn't the Eastern Seaboard better prepared for Hurricane Sandy? Why did seven hundred and thirty-nine people die in Chicago's 1995 heat wave? Instances of natural disasters are on the rise, and few places are ready. In this talk, Eric Klinenberg draws on his recent New Yorker article "Adaptation" and his book on the great Chicago heat wave to explore the concept of "climate-proofing" our cities. He provides a dramatic, tragic story of what can happen when cities and nations fail to learn from previous disasters, and an argument for how they can use recent history and cutting-edge science to become more resilient and better prepared. Should we be scared of climate change? Yes, of course, says Klinenberg. But let's use that fear to drive change and build stronger, more agile cities that benefit from intelligent and climate-proof design.
1. Participants will learn the costs of not taking climate change seriously
2. Participants will be able to understand key points of "climate proofing"
3. Participants will be able to learn to implement "climate proofing" for strong communities
Information to the Rescue
Technology now enables humans to organize themselves without the benefit of institutions and infrastructure, so the role of community members and disaster organizations such as the Red Cross is shifting. Local communities are increasingly becoming tech-enabled first responders, so the resiliency of community members is more important than ever. Recent research suggests that social connectedness is the leading indicator of resiliency. I will discuss how the Red Cross is considering the challenges of using technology to optimize disaster preparedness, response, and recovery; I will discuss the challenge of acting on unstructured information in a traditionally structured environment. I will discuss how the Red Cross is positioning itself to be able to facilitate information and resources in this environment.
1. Participants will be able to identify the changing roles of both individuals and institutions in emergencies
2. Participants will be able to demonstrate how information and human connectedness has become as important to recovery as food, water, and shelter
3. Participants will learn about best practices in social media engagement during disasters
The Media and the Madness: Is Rome Really Burning?
It seems that the media tends to make each weather event a monstrous and immediate disaster...or they are hoping it will be. With all the hype around severe events, it's no wonder nobody listens anymore...until it happens to them. We look at the role of the media in communicating information before, during, and after disaster strikes. Not all media sources can be trusted. We also will look at which sources are reliable, and which are not, and why.
1. Identify official versus non-official information
2. Identify sources of official information
3. Choose which sources (including media) to use for critical short-term planning and response
4. Choose proper sources for long-term planning and response
Implementing the Whole Community Approach
This workshop will provide participants with an understanding of Whole Community and Survivor Centric concepts and the two imperatives, including how it is important to use innovation during a disaster, as well as the five priorites of FEMA for the next four years. During the workshop participants will be encouraged to become Survivor Centric. This workshop will be participatory, encouraging participants to share their experiences and to learn how they can be "part of the team" to succeed. During this workshop we will discuss the importance of how to communicate in a crisis.
1. Participants will be able to describe how Survior Centric is key to communicating in a crisis.
2. Participants will be able to understand the two imperatives and percentage prorates for FEMA for the next four years.
3. Participants will learn how they can implement Survivor Centric in their community.
How to become a Digital Humanitarian
Social media conversations about disasters are often more emotional than pure data and information sharing. Since a big part of the mission of the Red Cross is to provide hope and comfort to people on their worst days, we have leaned forward in providing mental health and resiliency guidance via the social web as well as offering a listening ear and encouragement. I will share our digital volunteer training program and demonstrate how our disaster mental health team is involved with our social engagement efforts during disasters.
1. Participants will know how to serve as a digital volunteer during disasters
2. Participants will know how to identify relevant social media conversations and understand best practices for engagement
3. Participants will demonstrate a knowledge of the opportunities and challenges around using social media for mental health work
Critical Information: Whom To Believe And When
This workshop will delve deeper into finding the sources of official information and how to sort through the media noise to get the critical decision-making information required for efficient long- and short-term disaster preparedness and response. We will also look at how to approach and work with your local media, local and national government liaisons, and how to maximize value from private consulting meteorologists.
1. Identify providers of official information
2. Explain various terms such as "Watch" and "Warning" as they relate to severe weather events
3. Develop relationships with providers of critical and official information for efficient planning and response (information acquisition)
4. Develop relationships with local media for efficient control and dissemination of disaster information (information dissemination)
The Challenges of Crisis Communication with Vulnerable Populations
In exploring the idea of vulnerable populations, we need to broaden our understanding of who may need additional support, and identify more effective ways to mitigate the effects of disasters on the segments of the population that may not typically be considered when making emergency plans. Identifying and clarifying the needs of those with special needs can help the community respond more effectively, enable individuals and providers to plan accordingly, respond more effectively, and help individuals return to their prior level of independence.
1. Will be able to explain at least three factors that impact vulnerability during crisis
2. Will identify different ways to communicate with various populations based on need
3. Will be able to identify at least two ways one can change the means of communication and the environment to assist those with special needs during a crisis
4. Will be able to able to identify concrete steps they can take before an event to help caregivers prepare for a crisis
Post-Disaster Talk and No-Talk Communication Strategies with Children and Parents
In the immediate aftermath of catastrophic events, spoken language is often not the strong suit of children. Neuroscience research on the way trauma is encoded in the brain suggests the need to evoke the potentials of right hemisphere dominant forms of communication. This workshop will prepare participants to help parents facilitate communication with their children by understanding no-talk, right hemisphere language.
1. Will be able to describe two overriding goals of post-disaster intervention;
2. Will be able to describe at least two main components of psychoeducation for both parents and children following disaster;
3. Will be able to explain the use of at least two cognitive strategies and two affect regulation strategies;
4. Will be able to describe at least 3 no-talk strategies to help children communicate in the immediate post-disaster period.