9th Annual IDMH Conference


The 9th Annual Conference consisted of a set of trainings that focused on building responder capacity and maintaining resilience among trauma and disaster workers. Disaster response, trauma work, and emergency management are intrinsically and uniquely stressful, and it is essential that the inherent occupational hazards be mitigated through proactive stress management and effective self-care strategies. The care that responders provide to others can only be as good as the care they provide themselves.  See Training Brochure.

Building Capacity:
Managing and Mitigating Responder Stress
was held Friday, April 20, 2012

DVD of Conference Available for $35
See 2012dvdorderform for details

Sponsored by the NYS Office of Emergency Management, SUNY New Paltz Campus Auxiliary Services, and NY/NJ Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Center

The training featured presenters who are experts on the interrelated work of mitigating the stress and maximizing the rewards of trauma work, on both individual and organizational levels (for details, see speaker bios).  Each presenter discussed foundational concepts, current research and recommended practices, and lessons learned from their experiences in the field.  Presentation handouts are available as links below in the detailed Training Agenda.

Training Agenda:
Friday, April 20, 2012

9:00–9:30 - Welcome and Introductions

   Donald Christian, Ph.D., SUNY New Paltz President
   James Halpern, Ph.D., Director, IDMH
   Gregory Brunelle, M.S., First Deputy Director, 
       NY State Office of Emergency Management

9:30–10:30- Mitigating Occupational Hazards of Disaster Response; Charles Figley, Ph.D.

10:30-11:00 - Q & A with Charles Figley, Ph.D.

11:00-11:15 - Coffee Break

11:15-12:15 - Posttraumatic Growth: Psychological Reconstruction in the Aftermath of Disaster; Richard Tedeschi, Ph.D.

12:15-12:30 - Q & A with Richard Tedeschi, Ph.D.

12:30 – 1:30 - Lunch Break.  Boxed Gourmet Lunches, Networking, tabling, book-signing

1:30-2:30 - New Strategies for Reducing Responder Risk: From Pre-Deployment Screening to Post-Deployment Support; Rob Yin, L.I.S.W., and Valerie Cole, Ph.D., American Red Cross

2:30-2:45 - Q & A with Rob Yin, LISW, and Valerie Cole, Ph.D.

3:00-5:00 - Concurrent Professional Workshops (For details, see complete descriptions and learning objectives)

  • Building Leadership Capacity in Emergency Management with Charles Figley, Ph.D.
    See figleyworkshop

  • Facilitating Posttraumatic Growth with Richard Tedeschi, Ph.D.

  • Mindfulness as Self-Care for First Responders with Dianne Kane, D.S.W.
    See kaneworkshop

  • Promoting Resilience: Culturally Responsive Self-Care with Monica Indart, Psy.D.
    See indartworkshop

  • Force Health Protection: American Red Cross Training with Rob Yin, L.I.S.W., and Valerie Cole, Ph.D.
    See fhpworkshop

  • Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction with Stephanie Speer, M.A. 
    See mbsrhandout

Speaker Bios

Special Thanks to our Conference and Institute Sponsors:

Presenting Sponsors:
NYS Office of Emergency Management
SUNY New Paltz Campus Auxiliary Services

NY/NJ Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Center
Center for Research, Regional Education & Outreach

Supporting Sponsors:
Main Course Caterers
Metropolitan College of New York

Sustaining Sponsors:
Mental Health America of Dutchess County
Minnewaska Lodge
PDQ Printing & Graphics

Participating Sponsors:
SUNY New Paltz Career Resource Center
Four Winds Hospital
National Animal Assisted Crisis Response
NYS Bar Association-Mass Disaster Response Committee

Community Supporters:
SUNY New Paltz Bookstore
SUNY New Paltz Psychology Department
SUNY New Paltz Psychological Counseling Center
Fox and Hound Wine and Spirits
Mudd Puddle Coffee Roasters & Cafe
Stop & Shop
Winter Moon Studios 

And thanks to all those who helped in planning this year's conference:
Christine Waldo-Klinger, Rita Rapoza, and the entire Conference Services Department
Mary Kastner and the Design Services and Print Services Departments
Emily Trapp, Diane Strauss, Keron Lewis, and the entire IMS staff
The IDMH Practicum students, Elena Brondolo, and other student volunteers


Building Capacity:
Managing and Mitigating Responder Stress

Concurrent Professional Workshops
Descriptions & Learning Objectives:

Building Leadership Capacity in Emergency Management with Charles Figley, Ph.D.

Professor Figley will share his work in co-founding the Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy at Tulane University in 2009. He will discuss the role of psychosocial and behavioral health in understanding how leaders can facilitate resilience and remain resilient themselves. He will discuss a new platform for building leadership capacity among educational institutions in countries especially vulnerable to natural disasters.

Learning Objectives:

Stipulate the scope of disaster responders, occupational hazards of the responders.Define the role of human factors in mitigating occupational hazards of disaster response.Recognize and apply the principles of self care for disaster responders.Describe the role of leadership in promoting post-disaster resilience.Define and promote best practices in disaster-related human services.Appreciating the characteristics of the Disaster Resilience Leader including adherence to the Triple Bottom Line.

Facilitating Posttraumatic Growth with Richard Tedeschi, Ph.D.

Although the process of posttraumatic growth often occurs naturally in survivors of traumatic events, there are ways to facilitate this growth. This workshop will focus on understanding the process of posttraumatic growth and how to provide "expert companionship" to trauma survivors in a way that advances this process. An integrative framework that includes cognitive, existential, and narrative elements is used to manage emotional reactions and rumination, encourage disclosure and creation of a coherent narrative, and focus trauma survivors on possibilities for meaning and growth.

Learning Objectives:

Understanding the process of posttraumatic growthUnderstanding the use of a measurement tool to assess posttraumatic growthDeveloping an ability to apply expert companionship with trauma survivorsRecognizing vicarious posttraumatic growth

Mindfulness as Self-Care for First Responders with Dianne Kane, D.S.W.

How often do you eat a meal and really pay attention to your food? When you are talking with your spouse, your children, your co-workers, do you really listen? How often do you dedicate your time to one thing, and only one thing? For most of us, the answer is almost never. In fact, most of us pride ourselves on our ability to multitask; to get things done as quickly as possible. Mindfulness, the opposite of multitasking, helps us slow down and live in the present moment, which can greatly affect our health and quality of life. This workshop will explore mindfulness as the center point of a self-care program for first responders. Self-care begins by becoming more aware of what is going on in our own bodies and minds. As we focus on the present moment we can see new possibilities for relating to ourselves and to others which in turn can increase our capacity to reduce stress and feel better. Discussion and experiential exercises will be used to demonstrate that first responders already use a lot of mindfulness techniques in their work that can be carried over into their self-care regimen.

Learning Objectives:

Participants will be able to define mindfulnessParticipants will able to identify different types of meditation (counting, breath, metta, visualization)Participants will understand how practicing mindfulness can help reduce stress and increase self-careParticipants will be able to recognize the ways in which they utilize mindfulness practices in their daily routine

Promoting Resilience: Culturally Responsive Self-Care with Monica Indart, Psy.D.

This workshop will provide participants an opportunity to examine ways in which cultural traditions can promote self-care in clinicians working in disasters and complex emergency settings. Drawing on clinical experiences and evidence-based models of intervention, this workshop will focus on how cultural and spiritual traditions can be used to promote resilience in the people and communities we serve, as well as in ourselves. Participants will learn the fundamental principles of self-care using a capacity-building approach. Capacity-building seeks to incorporate current research from the "third wave" of trauma-focused treatments, which focus on promoting resilience rather than treating disorders. Integrated with these resilience-focused approaches is Pedersen's concept of inclusive cultural empathy, a key element in this culturally responsive self-care model that can be used with individuals and across organizations. Utilizing case vignettes from the humanitarian aid field, as well as their own experiences, participants will examine applications of a capacity-building approach to self-care.

Learning Objectives:

Participants will identify key principles of a culturally responsive capacity-building model of self-careParticipants will examine how current research on promoting resilience can be specifically used in effective self-care practicesThrough case vignettes, participants will examine how culturally responsive self-care can be used while working in the fieldParticipants will practice three elements of this self-care model within the course of the workshop

Force Health Protection: American Red Cross Training with Rob Yin, L.I.S.W., and Valerie Cole, Ph.D

This workshop will provide an opportunity for participants to learn about disaster responder risk factors and stress reactions and how to utilize force health protection (FHP) strategies to mitigate those risks. Disaster-specific obstacles to promoting worker care will be identified and supervisor/worker strategies to overcome those obstacles will be discussed. Participants will have an opportunity to discuss how FHP strategies can be applied within their unique disaster- or crisis-response environment to protect the workforce and effectively deliver services.

Learning Objectives:

Identify disaster responder risk factors and stress reactionsRecognize four obstacles to promoting responder careUnderstand supervisory and worker FHP strategies to overcome those obstaclesApply FHP strategies in their unique response environment

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction in the Here and Now with Stephanie Speer, M.A.

This workshop will introduce participants to the principles and practices of mindfulness based upon the internationally acclaimed MBSR model created by Jon Kabat-Zinn PhD at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. MBSR has proven to be a powerful approach to learning practical and effective ways to focus on the present moment in order to permanently change the way one handles stress. MBSR has been shown to alleviate stress, anxiety, panic, depression, chronic pain and a wide range of medical conditions. Within the safe and supportive learning environment of this workshop, participants will be taught a variety of simple and gentle mindfulness practices shown to increase one's capacity to work with ordinary and extraordinary life challenges. Strategies will be provided for integrating mindfulness into daily life; practices which can used anytime and anywhere. Neuroscientific research will be cited to demonstrate the power of these practices which have been shown to change our brain, boast our immune system, increase our mental and physical health enabling us to live our life with greater ease, joy, depth and balance each and every day, come what may.

Learning Objectives:

Understand the principles of mindfulnessIntegrate mindfulness into daily livingHave knowledge of the outcomes of MBSR research studiesPrepare for, cope with and recover with greater resiliency from difficult life circumstances



Speaker Bios

Charles R. Figley, Ph.D. Dr. Figley is the Paul Henry Kurzweg, MD Distinguished Chair in Disaster Mental Health and a Tulane University Graduate School of Social Work Professor since July 2008. He is also director of the award-winning Traumatology Institute. The Institute was recognized in 2000 as the best program of its kind by the University Continuing Education Association. Co-Director of the Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy and directs its graduate program. He is a former Fulbright Fellow and Visiting Distinguished Professor at the Kuwait University, 2004-present. Dr. Figley is also a psychologist, family therapist, psychoneuroimmunologist, and social work educator and researcher. Most recently he was a professor in the College of Social Work at Florida State University and former director of the PhD program in Marriage and Family. He is formerly Professor of Family Therapy and Psychology at Purdue University (1974-1989). Professor Figley received both graduate degrees from the Pennsylvania State University and his undergraduate degree from the University of Hawaii , all in the interdisciplinary field of human development. He is founding editor of the Journal of Traumatic Stress, the Journal of Family Psychotherapy, and currently editor of Traumatology.

Richard Glenn Tedeschi, Ph.D. Dr. Tedeschi received his B.A. in Psychology from Syracuse University, his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Ohio University, and completed his Clinical Psychology Internship at The University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Dr. Tedeschi is Professor of Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He is a Licensed Psychologist specializing in bereavement and trauma, and has led support groups for bereaved parents for over twenty years. With his colleague Lawrence Calhoun, he has published books on posttraumatic growth, an area of research that they have developed that examines personal transformations in the aftermath of traumatic life events. Their books include Trauma and Transformation (1995), Posttraumatic Growth (1998), Facilitating Posttraumatic Growth (1999), Helping Bereaved Parents: A Clinician's Guide (2004), and the Handbook of Posttraumatic Growth (2006). Dr. Tedeschi serves as a consultant to the American Psychological Association on trauma and resilience, and as a subject matter expert for the US Army's Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program. He was a finalist for the Bank of America Award for Teaching Excellence, and recipient of the Mary G. Clarke Award for Distinguished Service to Psychology given by the North Carolina Psychological Association, and is President of NCPA.

Rob Yin, L.I.S.W. Rob Yin is a Licensed Independent Social Worker who directs the Disaster Mental Health (DMH) program for the National American Red Cross. He provides technical and programmatic oversight to over 4,000 thousand DMH volunteers. Since first joining the Red Cross as a volunteer in 2001, Mr. Yin has led DMH teams on 22 national disaster relief operations and was the DMH Lead for the Hurricanes Katrina/Rita response in Louisiana. Rob is the co-editor of the new Red Cross curriculum, "Coping in Today's World: Psychological First Aid and Resilience for Families, Friends and Neighbors" and is the co-author of "Self Care for Disaster Mental Health Workers: Force Health Protection Strategies." Mr. Yin began his clinical social work career as the supervisor for Child Protective Services in Taos County, New Mexico and is the author of, "Innovations in the Management of Child Protection Workers: Building Worker Resilience."

Valerie Cole, Ph.D. Dr. Cole is a clinical psychologist and Senior Associate for Disaster Mental Health at the American Red Cross National Headquarters. Prior to working with the Red Cross, Dr. Cole was in private practice and an associate professor of psychology at St. John Fisher College in Rochester, NY. Dr. Cole was the Red Cross chapter DMH lead in Rochester NY for several years and then the state DMH Lead for New York State for two years. In 2005 and 2006, Dr. Cole assisted in developing and implementing the New York State Office of Mental Health and Department of Public Health training, Disaster Mental Health: A Critical Response. She has written curricula on provision of disaster mental health services related to substance abuse and mental illness during disaster and has published on social support and recruitment and retention of volunteers.

Dianne Kane, D.S.W, L.C.S.W. Dr. Kane is a licensed clinical social worker and certified group psychotherapist. Currently she is an Associate Professor at Hunter School of Social Work and Assistant Director of Counseling Services for the NYC Fire Department. She has been involved in the development and delivery of employee assistance and trauma related services to uniform personnel in NYC since 1994. Following the loss of 343 FDNY members on 9/11 she was responsible for the rapid expansion of trauma and bereavement services to the 15,000 member FDNY community. Currently these programs serve over 3,000 responders annually and continue to follow over 200 bereaved family members. In addition Dr. Kane has provided services to members of the New Orleans Fire Department following Hurricane Katrina and to FDNY veterans deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. As a member of the Community Outreach task force of the American Group Psychotherapy Association she has provided training via Skype to Chinese psychologists responding to the earthquake in Jianchuan Province. She is co-author of FDNY Crisis Counseling: Innovative Responses to 9/11 Firefighters, Families, and Communities and Healing Together: A Couple's Guide to Coping with Trauma and Post-traumatic Stress. She is a founding member of the New York Center for Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy. (NYCEFT)

Monica Indart, Psy.D. Monica Indart, Psy.D. is a psychologist with 30 years of experience working in the related fields of crisis intervention, trauma, and grief and loss. Dr. Indart earned her doctorate degree in clinical psychology from the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers University, where she has been an assistant professor for the past twelve years. She worked as a field operations and clinical supervisor for Project Phoenix, New Jersey's federally-funded 9/11 response program, for four years, and assisted New Jersey's Disaster and Terrorism Branch in establishing a disaster crisis counselor certification program. Since 2003, she has provided consultation and training to the United Nations on issues related to trauma, grief and loss, and psychosocial support programs for staff and families on peacekeeping missions. In May 2011, Dr. Indart began a psychosocial care program for humanitarian aid workers for Medecins Sans Frontiere (Doctors Without Borders, USA office), serving as co-director of the program. Dr. Indart currently works with NGO's in Uganda and Rwanda on programs for survivors of torture and genocide. Much of her current interests focus on the importance of cultural and spiritual beliefs in the transformation of traumatic experiences.

Stephanie Speer, M.A. As an instructor of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Ms. Speer has been teaching mindfulness to individuals and groups of students for over 20 years. Mindfulness programs have been delivered to mental and physical health professionals, consumers of mental health services, people living with chronic pain, anxiety, depression and life threatening illnesses. In response to the terrorist acts of 2001, she provided mindfulness programs as a part of the FEMA Project Liberty of New York State initiative. Over 250 students have participated in her 8-week Mindfulness–Based Stress Reduction programs providing powerful and proven ways to work with ordinary and extraordinary life challenges. She has also presented a variety of mindfulness based seminars including "Mindfulness and Conscious Eating", "Working with Our Anger", "Finding Happiness" and "Calming the Anxious Mind". Ms. Speer was trained by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD and Saki Santorelli, EdD, MA of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society of the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. She received her Masters in Humanistic Education from Goddard College. All of Stephanie's professional work has been informed by her 25 year meditation practice and Buddhist studies. In addition to teaching mindfulness, she is currently the Director of Staff Development at Crystal Run Healthcare LLP of Orange and Sullivan Counties.