IDMH will convene 14th annual Conference, confronting pandemic disasters and bioterrorism

The Institute for Disaster Mental Health (IDMH) at SUNY New Paltz will host its 14th annual conference throughout the day of Friday, April 7, in the Lecture Center.

The conference theme is “Psychosocial Response to Pandemic Disasters, Infectious Diseases, and Bioterrorism.” The event brings together experts in critical medical care, traumatic and psychosocial stress, disease control and prevention and disaster preparedness.

“Each year the IDMH conference provides a chance for responders from around the region, the state, and beyond to connect with each other while they learn essential skills for addressing different types of disasters,” said IDMH Director Amy Nitza. “A disease outbreak or bioterrorism event obviously will cross boundaries and impact everyone in a community, so it’s essential that emergency responders and healthcare and mental health professionals have this opportunity to connect with each other in addition to hearing from our world-class lineup of experts.”

Keynote presentations will be given by Dr. Laura Evans, who oversaw New York City’s response to the 2015 Ebola outbreak as Associate Chief of Medicine and Chief of Critical Care at Bellevue, and also by specialists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress.

Interactive workshops will cover topics including:

  • Integrating emergency management and disaster behavioral health in cases involving pandemics, infectious diseases and bioterrorism;
  • Delivering customized psychological first aid to diverse populations in the wake of a disease outbreak;
  • Building psychosocial capacity in a way that values the culture and personhood of communities and individuals affected by disaster; and
  • Understanding fear and fear-related behaviors in situations when infectious disease creates a mass threat.

Registration for the 14th annual IDMH Conference on April 7 at SUNY New Paltz is FREE for a limited number of emergency management professionals, care providers, media members, students and faculty. Free registration is made possible through the generous sponsorship of the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Register via this link:

About the Institute for Disaster Mental Health
The IDMH was founded in 2004 to prepare students, community members, paraprofessionals, and professionals in the helping fields to care for others following a disaster via evidence-based disaster mental health interventions, content, and skills.

IDMH programs include developing and presenting professional trainings in disaster mental health; research and dissemination on training needs to improve community preparedness, and an annual conference or training that brings experts in the field to the New Paltz campus. The IDMH also supports a SUNY New Paltz interdisciplinary undergraduate minor in disaster studies.

The IDMH annual conference is the only one of its kind in New York State that brings together emergency managers with health and mental health personnel, who all must play a role in preparing for and responding to future disasters.

Complete program details and registration information is available at:–events/conference.html.