Institute for Psychosocial Health

More than 70 social work practitioners gathered at Basin Street Station in downtown New Orleans for the second annual Disaster Mental Health and Resilience Conference entitled "Rethinking Resilience: From Research to Rock and Roll" on Friday, Oct. 8 and Saturday, Oct. 9.

The Institute for Psychosocial Health would like to thank both our presenters and our participants for making this year's conference a very special and engaging event. Sideshows from several of the presentations will be available in the coming weeks. 

For more information about the Institute and future events, contact Cindy Sykes at or at (504) 862-3481.


Jane Parker, MPH, LCSW, ACHE, Director

The Tulane University Institute for Psychosocial Health is a dynamic research, education, training and advocacy organization designed to:

a) promote higher levels of resilience in primary responders and the communities they serve.  "Primary responders" include front line first responders as well as longer term significant responders such as social workers, physicians, nurses, mental health counselors, fire and police personnel, psychologists, and others who have committed themselves to serving the psychosocial health and safety needs of the community;

b) promote the integration of psychosocial care into the primary health care delivery system in poor neighborhoods and disaster prone areas;

c) provide training opportunities for MSW students in psychosocial health and resilience enhancement, including a Certificate in Disaster Mental Health; and

d) offer primary and behavioral health practitioners evidence-informed training and coaching in psychosocial health methods, programs, and holistic delivery strategies.

Disasters, pandemics, violent crime, oppressive poverty, acts of terrorism, and chronic or catastrophic illnesses can induce acute and chronic stress upon the individuals involved in the response and recovery efforts.  Much research has been conducted concerning the mental health needs of trauma victims, seriously ill persons, and primary responders; yet few organizations have engaged in an ongoing partnership whereby cutting edge research is translated into practical training and service support to the healthcare and response community.   Both survivors of and responders to traumatic events have an increased risk of alcohol and drug use, family breakdown, depression, anxiety, or other long-term physical and mental health effects which can plague their personal and professional lives.

Interventions such as psychosocial debriefings, enhanced clinical training, evidence-based program evaluation, and a supportive coaching relationship for responders and agency leaders are vital for quality healthcare delivery and for sustaining the psychosocial care workforce. Responders such as military, police, fire personnel, medical care providers, counselors, agency leaders, and even supply distributors are highly susceptible to the stress of transferred trauma from their intense exposure to trauma survivors or individuals in chronically poor health. The results are high costs in terms of the excruciating toll on physical health, psychosocial functioning, turnover in agency personnel, and inconsistency in health service delivery. By bringing together the best minds, evidence-based research, and outstanding leaders and trainers from multiple disciplines, the Institute for Psychosocial Health offers leadership, collaboration, and service to the local, state, and regional community service network.


For more information

Contact Director Jane Parker at 504-862-3493, toll-free at 800-631-8234 or via e-mail at

Inquiries can also be mailed to:

Institute for Psychosocial Health
Tulane School of Social Work
6823 St. Charles Avenue, Building 9
New Orleans, LA 70118

Best Practices


Disaster Mental Health and Resilience.

What is, What Could Be!

The Institute for Psychosocial Health at the Tulane School of Social Work held a special two-day conference for social workers, psychologists, teachers, emergency preparedness workers and others who work with disaster mental health planning or clinical services. The event entitled "Best Practices in Disaster Mental Health and Resilience. What is, What Could Be!" drew more than 150 participants on New Orleans on March 19 and 20, 2009.

Below is a listing of the PowerPoint presentations given at the March conference. A photo gallery from the event can be viewed here.

PowerPoint Presentations (March 19-20)

"It ain't over... but we're moving forward" by Douglas S. Faust, PhD, Director of the Department of Psychology at Children's Hospital of New Orleans

"Empathic discernment: The key to preventing compassion fatigue" by Charles Figley, PhD, Kurzweq Distinguished Chair, Tulane University

"An ecological model of taking care of traumatized children" by Danny Brom, PhD, Director of the Israel Center for the Treatment of Psychotrauma

"Treating traumatized children: Risk, resilience, and recovery" by Ruth Pat-Horenczyk, PhD, Director of Children and Adolescent Clinical Services at the Israel Center for the Treatment of Psychotrauma

"From hurricane to home: Evolving trauma treatment with students and families" by Doug Walker, PhD, Director, Fleur-de-lis Program, Mercy Family Center

"Creative collaboration for emotional, social, and spiritual care post disaster" by Nadine Bean, PhD, West Chester University School of Social Work and Co-Founder of

"Community and academic partnerships" by So'Nia Gilkey, PhD, Assistant Professor at the Tulane School of Social Work

"Protecting and promoting the psychosocial health of disaster workers" by Rear Admiral (Ret.) Brain W. Flynn, EdD, former Assistant Surgeon General for the United States Public Health Services