Under the direction of James Halpern (Psychology), the Institute for Disaster Mental Health (IDMH) recently received two grants – a $45,000 grant from the New York State Department of Health and a $47,500 grant from the Ulster Coutnty Office of Mental Health – to organize and hold psychological first-aid trainings across the state for mental health professionals. Add to this, that the institute’s first graduate assistant, Karla Vermeulen ’05g (Psychology), has returned to New Paltz fulltime as the institute’s coordinator and an adjunct lecturer in the Psychology Department. In addition to conducting some of the grant-funded trainings, she will teach the Disaster Psychology course that is a requirement of the Disaster Studies minor. Vermeulen will also plan the institute’s conference scheduled for April 2009.
"It’s exciting to see how much the institute has grown since I was there four years ago," she said. "I'm happy to be back working with Dr. Halpern to educate people about disaster mental health."
Meanwhile, Jemma Binder ’06 (Psychology) was in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, from June 17 to July 2, working as an AmeriCorps National Preparedness and Response Corps Member for the American Red Cross after the recent flooding in the state.
"Being in a disaster is truly a testament to what people can do when put to the test," said Binder. "The two weeks I spent in Iowa are a blur of people, stories, laughter and tears." Visit www.newpaltz. edu/idmh for more information.
The New Paltz Regional Chamber of Commerce will host an open community forum designed to give New Paltz residents the opportunity to get answers from town, village and college leaders, including President Steven Poskanzer and University Police Chief Raymond Bryant. The forum will be held from 7 to 9 p.m., on Tuesday, July 15, at Ulster County BOCES located at 175 State Route 32 North in New Paltz. For more information, visit www.newpaltzchamber.org or call the chamber at (845) 255-0243.
The campus will host the SOS4KIDS triathlon on Aug. 9. The inaugural swim/bike/run event is open to children ages 7 to 15. The swim portion, held in the Elting Gym pool, will be followed by a bike ride around campus (older kids can bike to Huguenot Street), and a run around campus, finishing at the outdoor track on campus.
The race is limited to 100 participants. Deadline for entries is July 31. Volunteers are always welcome. Contact Director Mike Vance at firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer.