Institute for Disaster Mental Health to host conference and events preparing for tenth anniversary of 9/11

NEW PALTZ – The Institute for Disaster Mental Health at SUNY New Paltz (IDMH) announces that registration is open for its upcoming conference and training, “Lessons from Adversity: Strengthening Preparedness with Reflections from 9/11.” The event, which will be held April 7 and 8, 2011, at SUNY New Paltz, will examine the mental health response to each act of violence perpetrated on September 11, 2001, through the lens of a decade’s perspective.

“As our nation anticipates the 10th anniversary of 9/11, it seemed clear that the annual Institute for Disaster Mental Health conference should focus on preparing mental health professionals and emergency responders – not only on addressing the increase in emotional distress this milestone is likely to arouse in the public, but also on responding to the inevitable next catastrophe,” said James Halpern, Ph.D., Director of IDMH and a Professor of Psychology at SUNY New Paltz. By reviewing the specific challenges created by each attack site and the lessons learned in responding to them, it is hoped that the response community will become better prepared for the next mass casualty disaster.

Conference presenters include more than a dozen mental health experts who were directly involved in responding to 9/11 and other major events, including Col. (Retired) Elspeth Cameron Ritchie, M.D., M.P.H. who oversaw the response at the Pentagon; Dianne Kane, D.S.W., who treated World Trade Center first responders and their families; and John Tassey, Ph.D., who brought his experience coordinating the mental health response to the A.P. Murrah Federal Building Bombing of 1995 in Oklahoma City to the 9/11 response. The two days of the conference will include a combination of keynotes, panel discussions, and workshops; a full description of the schedule and list of presenters can be found at the IDMH Web site.

The IDMH event, which is sponsored by the New York State Office of Emergency Management, will be held in conjunction with the SUNY New Paltz Distinguished Speakers Series, featuring a talk on the evening of Thursday, April 7, 2011, by Ray Suarez, Senior Correspondent for PBS NewsHour, who will discuss “Lessons from Adversity: The Media’s Perspective in a Post-9/11 World.”

For additional information about the IDMH conference or other activities, please visit the website or call 845-257-3477. A discounted early registration fee is available until March 1.