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Building National Capacity for Child and Family Disaster Mental Health Research

Building National Capacity for Child and Family Disaster Mental Health Research


Disaster mental health is a burgeoning field with numerous opportunities for professional involvement in preparedness, response, and recovery efforts. Research is essential to advance professional understanding of risk and protective factors associated with disaster outcomes; to develop an evidence base for acute, intermediate, and long-term mental health approaches to address child, adult, family, and community disaster-related needs; and to inform policy and guide national and local disaster preparedness, response, and recovery programs. To address the continued need for research in this field, we created the Child & Family Disaster Research Training & Education (DRT) program, which is focused specifically on enhancing national capacity to conduct disaster mental health research related to children, a population particularly vulnerable to disaster trauma. This paper describes the structure and organization of the DRT program, reviews the training curriculum, discusses implementation and evaluation of the program, and reviews obstacles encountered in establishing the program. Finally, key lessons learned are reviewed for the purpose of guiding replication of the DRT model to address other areas of community mental health.

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Full Citation: 

Pfefferbaum, Betty, and J. Brian Houston, Gilbert Reyes, Alan M. Steinberg, Robert S. Pynoos, John A. Fairbank, Melissa J. Brymer, Carl A. Maida. 2010. "Building National Capacity for Child and Family Disaster Mental Health Research." Professional Psychology: Research and Practice (February): 26-33. http://www.psych.on.ca/files/nonmembers/BuildingNationalCapacityDisaster...

START Author(s): 
Betty Pfefferbaum
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