Supporting Children after Trauma: IDMH will host 16th annual conference, June 7 at SUNY New Paltz

The Institute for Disaster Mental Health (IDMH) at SUNY New Paltz invites members of the education and disaster response communities to its 16th annual conference, with workshops and keynote addresses devoted to the conference theme, “Supporting Children after Trauma and Disaster: Protecting New York’s Future.”

The Institute for Disaster Mental Health Conference unites hundreds of healthcare professionals, emergency services providers, counselors, policymakers and researchers for conversations about best practices in trauma response and care provision.

This year’s event promises two morning keynotes and six afternoon workshops, presented by speakers with diverse skill sets and backgrounds in counseling, public health, crisis intervention, education, government and law enforcement.

Gil Reyes, clinical psychologist focusing on trauma and community response to crisis, will deliver a keynote titled “Protecting and Promoting Children’s Resilience to Extreme Adversity When Facing Violence and Disasters.” The presentation will highlight evidence-based practices and programs intended to protect and support children and families in recovery from violence and disasters.

Reyes will also lead a workshop designed to help emergency response professionals improve their ability to respectfully and functionally communicate with victims and their families throughout the response, with a focus on sensitive handling of death notifications.

Siddharth Ashvin Shah, CEO of Greenleaf Integrative, will give the second keynote, “Taking Charge of Vicarious Trauma & Work-related Distress,” which dives into the special challenges faced by trauma responders on the front lines.

Shah will also lead a workshop focusing on three concrete competencies for maintaining wellbeing and high performance in high-stress work environments.

Craig Haen, co-chair of the American Group Psychotherapy Association’s Community Outreach Task Force, will draw on two decades of crisis intervention experience in a workshop that challenges clinicians to come up with creative approaches to working with young people following mass trauma events.

Christine Montgomery, vice president of community and school-based services at the Clifford Beers Clinic in New Haven, Connecticut, will give a presentation detailing the response of one external community partner to the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. This workshop will outline some of the multi-tiered, flexible interventions provided in the wake of this event to address the numerous trauma and grief needs of students and staff at the school.

Steven N. Moskowitz, director of the Bureau of Emergency Preparedness and Response for the New York State Office of Mental Health, and Jennifer Smith of Save the Children, will give a workshop offering an overview of child-focused Psychological First Aid.

Marisa B. Nowitz, licensed clinical social worker-supervisor at Baylor College of Medicine, will give a workshop that explores theoretical frameworks for supporting a community following traumatic death, and articulate lessons learned from the case of a May 2018 school shooting at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas.

Tiffany Short, child victim program coordinator for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, will present a workshop describing the work of the FBI’s Victim Services Division to provide assistance in the immediate aftermath of an incident of mass violence.

The Institute for Disaster Mental Health Conference has been approved for Social Work and Licensed Mental Health Counselor Continuing Education credit hours.

For more information, please use this link ( or contact

Visit the Institute for Disaster Mental Health online to learn about their leadership and services in the field of trauma response.