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Institute for Disaster Mental Health

6th Annual IDMH Conference

Friday April 17, 2009

In the Wake of Disaster:
Effective Mental Health Interventions

This conference will promote disaster preparedness and planning to support those health and mental health providers, emergency management personnel, spiritual care providers, first responders and community responders who will be providing assistance to survivors and their families during the early aftermath of disasters. A growing body of evidence indicates that delivering appropriate mental health interventions such as psychological first aid and psychoeducation in the immediate aftermath of disasters can help to prevent serious sequelae in those impacted. Additionally, effective screening methods can help responders direct limited longer-term mental health resources to those who need them most.

Morning keynote speakers will highlight recent evidence-based approaches to the assessment and treatment of disaster survivors and their families. Afternoon workshops will provide more in-depth information and training on these interventions as well as additional options such as self-care for helpers, spiritual care, and assisting first responders, bereaved children, people with substance abuse issues, and more. A lunchtime panel will discuss issues of cooperation and coordination among New York State agencies involved in disaster mental health response efforts.

» Conference Brochure *

CONFERENCE SCHEDULE

8:30 - 9:00
Breakfast and registration

9:00 - 9:15
Welcome – Steven Poskanzer, President, SUNY New Paltz
Introductory Remarks – James Halpern, Ph.D., Director, IDMH

9:15 - 10:30
Keynote – Principles and Research on Early Intervention and the Screen and Treat Approach
Chris Brewin, Ph.D., Clinical, Educational & Health Psychology, University College, London

10:30 - 11:00
Coffee break

11:00 - 12:15
Expert Panel – Innovations in Early Intervention

  • Assisting Survivors Via Technology: Gerald McCleery, Ph.D., Associate Executive Director, Mental Health Association of New York City
  • Assisting Children: Paula Madrid, Psy.D., Director, Psychosocial Preparedness Division, National Center for Disaster Preparedness, Columbia University
  • Multicultural Perspectives: Monica J. Indart, Psy.D., BCETS, Emergency Response Coordinator, NJ Division of Mental Health Services, Disaster and Terrorism Branch

12:15 - 1:45
Lunch break with optional working lunch:
Emergency Officials Discuss a Coordinated Response to Disaster

  • New York Department of Health: Robert L. Burhans, Director of Health Emergency Preparedness
  • New York State Emergency Management Office: John R. Gibb, Director
  • New York Office of Mental Health: Representative to be named
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: Terri H. Spear, Ed.M., Emergency Coordinator
  • American Red Cross: Elliott Hill, Senior Associate for Disaster Mental Health

Moderator: Alan S. Chartock, Ph.D., President, WAMC Northeast Public Radio

Afternoon Workshops
Participants may either attend two standard 1¼-hour-long workshops, or one extended 3-hour-long workshop.  Complete workshop descriptions and learning objectives below.

2:00 - 3:15
Standard Concurrent Professional Workshops, Session I

3:15 - 3:45
Coffee Break

3:45 - 5:00
Standard Concurrent Professional Workshops, Session II

Standard Workshop Topics (repeated in each session period):

  • Psychological First Aid with Children: Paula Madrid, Psy.D., Director, Psychosocial Preparedness Division, National Center for Disaster Preparedness, Columbia University
  • The Impact of Trauma on the Relationships of First Responders: Dianne Kane, DSW, Assistant Director of the Counseling Services Unit of the FDNY, & Paul Greene, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, Iona College
  • Counseling Bereaved Children and Adolescents: Kathleen (KatySue) Tillman, M.A., Lecturer, Department of Psychology, SUNY New Paltz, & Jeannie Straussman, L.C.S.W., Consultant, NYS Office of Mental Health
  • Wellness in Chaos: Self-Care Skills for the Disaster Responder: Mary Tramontin, Psy.D., Clinical Psychologist at the Traumatic Stress Studies Program/PTSD Clinic, James J. Peters Veterans Administration Medical Center, & Meredith Johnson, Graduate Student, SUNY New Paltz
  • Substance Abuse Issues in Disaster Recovery:  Richard E. Isralowitz, Professor and Director, Israel Regional Alcohol and Drug Abuse Resources Center, Ben Gurion University
  • Cross-Cultural Issues in Disaster Response and Recovery: Monica J. Indart, Psy.D., BCETS, Emergency Response Coordinator, NJ Division of Mental Health Services, Disaster and Terrorism Branch
  • Best Practices and Challenges in Disaster Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care: Peter B. Gudaitis, M.Div., Executive Director & CEO, New York Disaster Interfaith Services; Ali Gheith, MS, MPH, Resiliency Coordinator, Office of Mental Health Disaster Preparedness and Response, NYC Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene; & Rabbi Stephen B. Roberts, BCJC, MBA, Associate Executive Vice President, New York Board Of Rabbis

OR

2:00 - 5:00
Extended Professional Workshops

I. American Red Cross Psychological First Aid
Michael S. Cronin, Ph.D., LCSW, Assistant Professor of Social Work, The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, and Disaster Mental Health Leader & Volunteer Partner for International Mental Health, American Red Cross in Greater New York
This course teaches participants to provide basic care, comfort, and support to people who are experiencing disaster-related stress by providing a framework for understanding factors that affect the stress responses of disaster relief workers and the clients they serve. In addition, it provides practical suggestions about what you can say and what you can do as you practice the principles of Psychological First Aid.

II. Developing a Screen and Treat Plan, for Disaster Mental Health Leaders
Chris R. Brewin, Ph.D., Clinical, Educational & Health Psychology, University College, London
Please note that this session is intended for leaders of governmental and non-governmental agencies who are likely to be directly involved in the mental health response to disasters, and who would like to learn how to organize and train an outreach team to implement the Screen and Treat approach. Registration in this session will be limited and will require the approval of the conference organizers.

5:00 - 6:00
Networking and tabling, including an information and recruitment area for those interested in being part of the American Red Cross Disaster Mental Health volunteer team.

CONFERENCE DIRECTOR

James Halpern, Ph.D.
IDMH Director and Professor of Psychology at SUNY New Paltz, Dr. Halpern is Chair of Disaster Mental Health Services for the Ulster County Chapter of the American Red Cross and has responded to both local and large-scale national disasters. He is co-author of the textbook Disaster Mental Health: Theory and Practice.

CONFERENCE COORDINATORS

Phyllis R.Freeman, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychology at SUNY New Paltz. Dr. Freeman is the founding Chair of the IDMH Advisory Board and a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Community Health in the School of Public Health at New York Medical College.

Karla Vermeulen, MA
Ms. Vermeulen is the Coordinator of the IDMH and a Lecturer in the Psychology Department at SUNY New Paltz.

SPECIAL THANKS
to our Conference and Institute Sponsors:

  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, for a Knowledge Dissemination Conference Grant
  • The New York State Office of Mental Health
  • The New York State Department of Health
  • Campus Auxiliary Services at SUNY New Paltz
  • SUNY New Paltz College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • SUNY New Paltz Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach
  • Wal-Mart Foundation

Grant support of this conference does not imply endorsement by SAMHSA/ CMHS or by the Federal Government, of any conference activities or oral or written information presented at, or resulting from the conference.

LOCAL LODGING

A special conference rate is offered at
Minnewaska Lodge, 845-255-1110

Other lodging is available at:
Econo Lodge, 845-244-6200
Lefevre House B&B, 845-255-4747
Mohonk Mountain House, 845-255-1000
Rodeway Inn & Suites, 845-883-7373
Super 8 Lodging, 845-255-8865

For other lodging suggestions
www.newpaltzchamber.org

DIRECTIONS AND PARKING INFORMATION
www.newpaltz.edu/visitorsguide

IDMH OFFICE
(845) 257-3477
idmh@newpaltz.edu

Workshop Descriptions & Learning Objectives

1. Psychological First Aid with Children: Paula Madrid, Psy.D., Director, Psychosocial Preparedness Division, National Center for Disaster Preparedness, Columbia University

This workshop will provide a brief introduction to the principles of Psychological First Aid. The speaker will discuss ways in which PFA can be applied to children by keeping in mind the specific ways in which children react to stress, trauma, and disasters.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will have an increased understanding of the principles of Psychological First Aid
  • Participants will be able to describe the specific ways in which children are impacted by stress, trauma, and disasters
  • Participants will acquire knowledge in how children impacted by trauma can be assisted through the use of Psychological First Aid

2. The Impact of Trauma on the Relationships of First Responders: Dianne Kane, D.S.W., Assistant Director of the Counseling Services Unit of the FDNY, & Paul Greene, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, Iona College

Trauma can affect intimate relationships in many ways, most of which can be negative, although other outcomes can be positive over time. For those whose work often puts them in harm's way, the cumulative effects of trauma as well as a major traumatic event often increase feelings of alienation, isolation and distrust that have an obvious effect on any close relationship, especially the relationship with a partner or spouse. Experience working with first responder and military couples teaches us that couples benefit greatly from understanding the impact trauma has on each of them and on their relationship. Facilitating a more advanced understanding of trauma allows them to see their relationship as a source of healing rather than as an additional stressor.  This workshop will highlight interventions such as psychoeducational techniques, couples psychological first aid, and related goals for couples counseling that have particular relevance when working with first responder and military couples.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will be able to identify three negative impacts of trauma on relationships
  • Participants will understand the ways in which trauma symptoms can easily be misinterpreted in the context of relationships
  • Participants will be able to identify three aspects of Couples Psychological First Aid that can assist in stabilizing trauma reactivity within the relationship

3. Counseling Bereaved Children and Adolescents: Kathleen (KatySue) Tillman, M.A., Lecturer of Psychology, SUNY New Paltz, & Jeannie Straussman, LCSW, Consultant, N.Y.S. Office of Mental Health

This interactive workshop will provide participants with an overview of developmentally appropriate treatment interventions for bereaved children and adolescents. The effectiveness of individual therapy, support groups, and bereavement camps will be discussed. We will emphasize intervening early and connecting families with community resources. This workshop is designed for anyone who is interested in learning more about working with bereaved youth, and will be of special interest for those mental health professionals who work directly with children and adolescents.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will be able to identify the common symptoms of traumatic grief in children and adolescents.
  • Participants will be able to describe three developmentally appropriate treatment interventions for bereaved youth.
  • Participants will be able to identify three community resources for bereaved youth and their families.

4. Wellness in Chaos: Self-Care Skills for the Disaster Responder: Mary Tramontin, Psy.D., Clinical Psychologist at the Traumatic Stress Studies Program/PTSD Clinic, James J. Peters Veterans Administration Medical Center, & Meredith Johnson, Graduate Student, SUNY New Paltz

This workshop is designed for disaster responders from different disciplines who wish better to understand and implement sustainable self-care strategies in service of their professional well-being. At this workshop's conclusion, participants will be able to outline the specific elements of disaster response stress, explain the ethical rationale underlying self-care, learn to identify personal and professional barriers, begin the process of developing personalized self-care plans, and practice specific skill-building exercises to prevent potentially negative consequences of disaster response work

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will be able to outline the specific elements of disaster response stress
  • Participants will be able to explain the ethical rationale underlying self care and learn to identify personal and professional barriersParticipants will begin the process of developing personalized self-care plans
  • Participants will practice specific skill-building exercises to prevent potentially negative consequences of disaster response work

5. Substance Abuse Issues in Disaster Recovery: Richard E. Isralowitz, Professor and Director, Israel Regional Alcohol and Drug Abuse Resources Center, Ben Gurion University

Considerable attention has been given to disasters and substance abuse or dependence. This workshop will review key terms (e.g., abuse and dependence); review substances of concern; examine the rates of substance use following disasters; and review what research has shown about substance use following disasters. Participants will be asked to engage in a broad discussion of key questions facing researchers and treatment providers working with substance abuse populations affected by a disaster. Questions open for discussion may include: 1) What groups are at greatest risk in disaster situations, how best can they be identified and reached when disasters strike; 2) What role does substance use and abuse play in influencing other morbidities; and 3) What gaps and needs should be addressed to synthesize research findings and lessons learned from disasters and improve our public health preparedness and effectiveness in response to those that follow?

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will improve their understanding of the relationship between disasters and substance abuse or dependence
  • Participants will be able to describe the major concerns and challenges to be addressed in disaster situations and its impact on vulnerable populations and responders
  • Participants will be able to describe education and training efforts needed for mental health and social work providers working with substance abuse and dependence cases linked to disaster situations.

6. Cross-Cultural Issues in Disaster Response and Recovery: Monica J. Indart, Psy.D., BCETS, Emergency Response Coordinator, NJ Division of Mental Health Services, Disaster and Terrorism Branch

This workshop will examine how culture mediates all aspects of disaster response. The concept of cultural responsiveness will be introduced, one that integrates aspects of difference and diversity. The workshop will take a narrative focus, emphasizing how individuals within and across cultures make meaning from traumatic experiences. Through videotape examples and case vignettes, participants will have an opportunity to examine how these frameworks for meaning profoundly influence notions of suffering, dysfunction, survival, healing and resilience, and how interventions can be tailored to narrative frameworks. The workshop will conclude with participants exploring how their own cultural backgrounds and experiences can facilitate their work with individuals and families within and across cultures.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will identify key elements of the concept of cultural responsiveness
  • Participants will understand basic elements of a culturally informed, narrative approach to understanding traumatic experiences
  • Participants will identify three intervention strategies that can be adapted to working within and across cultures affected by disasters

Best Practices and Challenges in Disaster Chaplaincy and Spiritual Care: Peter B. Gudaitis, M.Div., Executive Director & CEO, New York Disaster Interfaith Services; Ali Gheith, M.S., M.P.H., Resiliency Coordinator, Office of Mental Health Disaster Preparedness and Response, NYC Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene; & Rabbi Stephen B. Roberts, B.C.J.C., M.B.A., Associate Executive Vice President, New York Board of Rabbis

A didactic presentation on best practice models for building diverse disaster chaplaincy and spiritual care partnerships, print resources and curricula for the education and preparedness training of religious leaders. Participants will discuss the challenges of local and national standards of care, partnerships with mental health bodies and inter-religious conflicts. Come prepared to share and learn about training and operational models available nationally or used locally. Trouble shoot around your own planning and operational challenges with faith-based, secular, or government agencies. You'll come away with practical resources and a broader network of colleagues to support your work.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will receive instruction on emerging national standards and ethics for disaster spiritual care
  • Participants will receive instruction on best practices in teaching disaster chaplaincy and spiritual care as a partner with public health and mental health authorities and partners
  • Participants will receive instruction on one operational model for disaster spiritual care and crisis response
  • Participants will receive instruction on challenges and impediments between faith communities, with government and in providing competent non-sectarian spiritual care

Extended Workshops:

I. American Red Cross Psychological First Aid
Michael Cronin, Ph.D., L.C.S.W.
This basic level Disaster Services course teaches participants to provide basic care, comfort, and support to people who are experiencing disaster-related stress by providing a framework for understanding factors that affect the stress responses of disaster relief workers and the clients they serve. The course consists of five separate segments and a self-review questionnaire which is completed after the training has been completed. The course provides a framework for understanding the factors that affect stress responses in disaster relief workers and the clients they serve.  In addition, it provides practical suggestions about what you can say and do as you practice the principles of Psychological First Aid. It is appropriate for any potential disaster volunteers and members of local agencies interested in supporting the role of the Red Cross in the community's actions in preparing for, responding to and recovering from emergencies and disasters.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will be able to describe how to recognize the signs of stress in clients, co-workers, and themselves
  • Participants will be able to apply psychological first aid principles in providing immediate support to people who may be experiencing stress
  • Participants will be able to describe how to obtain additional mental health support for themselves, co-workers, and clients

II. Developing a Screen and Treat Plan, for Disaster Mental Health Leaders
Chris R. Brewin, Ph.D.
Please note that this session is intended for leaders of governmental and non-governmental agencies who are likely to be directly involved in the mental health response to disasters, and who would like to learn how to organize and train an outreach team to implement the Screen and Treat approach. Registration in this session will be limited and will require the advance approval of the conference organizers.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will learn the specific components of the Screen and Treat approach
  • Participants will learn how to organize and to train an outreach team to implement the Screen and Treat approach in their communities
  • Participants will consider the issues that will be important to address in planning to implement a Screen and Treat approach in their communities