2016 Institute for Disaster Mental Health Conference

Effective Response to Mass Transportation Disasters
Friday, April 15, 2016
SUNY New Paltz, New Paltz, NY 
9 a.m.-4 p.m.

 

Register by clicking here!

 

About This Conference

In April 2016, the Institute for Disaster Mental Health will hold our 13th annual conference. This conference will concentrate on the psychosocial aspects of an effective response to this frequent and often catastrophic type of disaster.

New York is a transportation hub in the US, with 20 major national and international airports, 3 commuter railroads serving 203 million people a year, 13 national rail lines, and thousands of bus routes. Although some accidents could involve responding to major hazmat spills/explosions, this conference will focus on events involving passengers. In recent years, New York State disaster workers have responded to plane, train, commuter ferry, and bus accidents and crashes. These events pose significant challenges for all responders:

  • These are often mass casualty events.
  • Survivors and responders can be exposed to grotesque sights and sounds, significantly increasing the risk for long-term mental health problems, such as Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.
  • Local communities are impacted when there is local loss of life, individuals witness the event and/or initiate failed attempts to rescue victims, and temporary or permanent changes in the infrastructure result.
  • Responders may have little experience or familiarity with the culture or religion of survivors.
  • There may be more agencies involved than in a typical disaster, especially if a crime or terrorism is the suspected cause (e.g., NTSB, FBI, USPHS, DOD, DMORT), and airline personnel may have roles as well as the more typical response organization. If a plane that crashes is an international carrier, there are additional complications (e.g., involvement of State Department and foreign consulates).
  • Loved ones may arrive at the disaster scene from all over the country and the world, to wait for the status of their loved ones.
  • There may be considerable uncertainty about the cause of the disaster or the fate of loved ones for a significant period of time, creating much ambiguity and distress.
  • Memorials need to be planned with family and friends from a multitude of locations and cultures.
  • Press and media will be involved in these events and plans need to be made to work effectively with them.

This IDMH conference will focus on problem solving and practical solutions to the serious mental health consequences of mass transportation disasters. Presenters with national and international reputations will describe innovative and practical approaches to addressing community-based problems, including the role of messaging and effective communication. Workshops will be tailored for different professional groups likely to be involved in the response to high-intensity disasters caused by mass transportation incidents and delivered by leaders in the emergency management and mental health fields with plenty of the “on the ground” experience.

Schedule of Events

9 - 9:30 a.m.: Opening Remarks

  • James Halpern, Director, Institute for Disaster Mental Health
  • President Donald Christian, State University of New York at New Paltz
  • Kevin Wisely, Director, Office of Emergency Management, New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services

9:30 - 10:30 a.m.: The National Transportation Safety Board’s Family Assistance Model – The Big Picture, Max Green, Coordinator, Emergency Operations, National Transportation Safety Board

10:30 - 10:45: Break

10:45 - 11:45 a.m.: Understanding Traumatic BereavementDr. Laurie Ann Pearlman, Ph.D., author of Treating Traumatic Bereavement: A Practitioner’s Guide

11:45 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.: Lunch & Networking Event

12:45 - 2:15 p.m.: Panel discussion: When Planes, Trains, and Buses Crash: Multiple Response Perspectives

  • Samantha Philips, Philadelphia Emergency Management
  • Diane Ryan, L.C.S.W., American Red Cross: Mental health
  • Peter Gudaitis, M.Div., Disaster Interfaiths Network: Spiritual care
  • Elizabeth Cronin, Esq., New York State Office of Victim Services: Legal needs
  • Penny Neferi, Jet Blue Airlines: The role of the airline

2:15 - 2:30 p.m.: Break

2:30 - 4 p.m.: Workshops

  • Aviation Accident Case Study – Asiana Airlines Flight 214, San Francisco, CA, July 6, 2013: The Importance of Situational Awareness, Max Green, Coordinator, Emergency Operations, National Transportation Safety Board
  • Engaging Faith Communities in Crisis Settings: Increasing Religious Literacy and Competency, Peter Guidatis, M.Div., President, National Disaster Interfaiths Network
  • Treating Traumatic Bereavement in Adults, Laurie Ann Pearlman, Ph.D., author of Treating Traumatic Bereavement: A Practitioner’s Guide
  • A New York State Structured Mental Health Response to Disaster, Steve Moskowitz, L.M.S.W., Director, Bureau of Emergency Preparedness and Response, Office of Mental Health, and Greg Brunelle, ‎M.S., M.A., Vice President, Emergency Management and Community Resilience at Tetra-Tech

 

Descriptions and Learning Objectives

 

The National Transportation Safety Board’s Family Assistance Model – The Big Picture

Max Green, Coordinator, Emergency Operations, National Transportation Safety Board

The NTSB Transportation Disaster Assistance Division (TDA) provides information and assistance for family members and friends of accident victims and survivors in the immediate aftermath of an accident and in the months and years following. TDA also coordinates transportation disaster assistance activities and works with the transportation industry, communities, and representatives from all levels of government.

Learning objectives:

  1. Participants will gain an understanding of the NTSB’s operating authority and family assistance model.
  2. Participants will understand the four primary concerns of family members in the aftermath of a major transportation accident and how the NTSB’s family assistance model provides guidance to responding agencies to address those concerns.
  3. Participants will heighten their awareness of federal family assistance legislation, including how family assistance legislation was enacted, to whom the legislation applies, and the requirements set forth in the legislation.

 

Understanding Traumatic Bereavement

Laurie Pearlman, Ph.D.

The loss of a loved one to a sudden, violent, or untimely death can lead to traumatic bereavement, a combination of trauma and grief that interferes with survivors’ ability to lead meaningful and productive lives. The presenter will describe the phenomenon of traumatic bereavement, including signs and symptoms, risk factors, and the ways it disrupts survivors’ lives.

Learning objectives:

  1. Participants will be able to describe the signs and symptoms of traumatic bereavement and differentiate it from other forms of trauma and grief.
  2. Participants will be able to describe the risk factors for traumatic bereavement.
  3. Participants will be able to describe the phenomenology of traumatic bereavement.

When Planes, Trains and Buses Crash: Multiple Response Perspectives

  • Diane Ryan, L.C.S.W., American Red Cross
  • Peter Gudaitis, M.Div., Disaster Interfaiths Network
  • Elizabeth Cronin, Esq., New York State Office of Victim Services
  • Penny Neferi, Jet Blue Airlines
  • TBA: Emergency management

Experts on this panel will represent the American Red Cross, the Disaster Interfaiths Network, NYS Office of Victim Services, NYS Emergency Management, and Jet Blue Airlines. Speakers will discuss their respective agencies’ role in responding to mass transportation incidents including planes, trains, and buses to provide the audience with a variety of organizational perspectives on mental health, spiritual care, and legal considerations.

Learning objectives:

  1. Participants will be able to describe the various roles that these organizations play in responses to mass transportation incidents.
  2. Participants will gain an understanding of the personal experience of responding to plane, train, and bus crashes.
  3. Participants will increase awareness of interagency communication and interactions.

Workshops:

Aviation Accident Case Study – Asiana Airlines Flight 214, San Francisco, CA, July 6, 2013: The Importance of Situational Awareness

Max Green, NTSB, Coordinator, Emergency Operations

291 passengers and 16 crewmembers were onboard Asiana Airlines Flight 214 when it crashed while landing on the morning of July 6, 2013. 3 teenagers were killed; 49 people (passengers and crewmembers) suffered serious injuries; and 255 people (passengers and crewmembers) reported minor or no injuries. Challenges abounded for the agencies responding to this accident: 15 area hospitals received patients from the crash site; the majority of the passengers and crew in the victim population were foreign nationals so challenges included language barriers and cultural diversity; and there was intense media coverage both domestically and internationally.

Learning objectives:

  1. Participants will gain an appreciation for the importance of situational awareness and how it affects stakeholder’s preparedness, planning, and response to a major transportation accident.
  2. Participants will understand the challenges faced by agencies involved in the family assistance operation.
  3. Participants will appreciate the importance of planning and preparedness activities as they relate to family assistance operations.

Treating Traumatic Bereavement in Adults

Laurie Ann Pearlman, Ph.D.

The sudden death of a loved one can create traumatic bereavement, a combination of trauma and grief. This workshop will present an integrated treatment approach to traumatic bereavement that interweaves resource building, trauma processing, and mourning. The workshop will include opportunities for participants to apply the concepts to their own clinical material.

Learning objectives:

  1. Participants will be able to list three elements of an integrated treatment approach to traumatic bereavement.
  2. Participants will be able to describe at least two approaches to building resources in traumatic bereavement clients.
  3. Participants will be able to describe at least two approaches to processing trauma in traumatic bereavement clients.
  4. Participants will be able to describe at least two essential processes in facilitating mourning in traumatic bereavement clients.

“Engaging Faith Communities in Crisis Settings: Increasing Religious Literacy and Competency”

Peter Guidatis, M.Div., President, National Disaster Interfaiths Network

Faith communities can be valuable resources and partners in all stages of the disaster planning cycle, including mitigation, prevention, planning, response, and recovery. This workshop will provide information about this country’s ethnic, cultural, and religious diversity, as well as a detailed and practical understanding of religious systems and organizations.

Learning objectives:

  1. Participants will gain enhanced understanding of the diverse nature of individual faith communities, their disaster response capabilities, and their national disaster response organizations and resources.
  2. Participants will understand how to assist responders in meeting the needs of minority faith communities during disaster response or recovery operations.
  3. Participants will improve their religious literacy, competency, and knowledge and receive vital information on the nature of, role, practices, mission, goals, and objectives of faith communities and faith-based organizations.

A New York State Structured Mental Health Response to Disaster

Steve Moskowitz, L.M.S.W., Director, Bureau of Emergency Preparedness and Response, Office of Mental Health, and Greg Brunelle, ‎M.S., M.A., Vice President, Emergency Management and Community Resilience, Tetra-Tech

Mental health consequences after a traumatic event may go unrecognized as officials focus on physical injury, property loss, and environmental damage. An effective disaster response must meet people's needs with an appropriate combination of services, a task that requires strong inter-agency cooperation and planning. Comprehensive response and recovery planning must account for every contingency including the mental health needs of the community, families, faculty and staff, and the students.

Learning objectives:

  1. Participants will understand the nature of interagency cooperation in disaster scenarios.
  2. Participants will gain knowledge of the working relationships between mental health response and other first responders.
  3. Participants will understand the need for mental health response in traumatic situations.