Improving global prehospital and emergency health care, public health, and disaster health and preparedness

Psychosocial

The establishment of the Psychosocial Section was approved by the WADEM Board of Directors in March 2012.

To enhance the role of disaster mental health specialists in responding to and providing support across the different phases of a disaster.

To pursue didactic, research, policy, and operational excellence in international disaster preparedness, response, and recovery, including the prevention and mitigation of psychosocial stress and the promotion of resilience.

The objectives of the Psychosocial Section are to:

  • Promote the learning and understanding of disaster mental health at the individual and community level;
  • Disseminate throughout the international disaster-related community empirically derived “best practices” and “lessons learned” by means of workshops and conference presentations as well as web-based materials;
  • Increase the presence and activities of disaster mental health specialists in disaster preparedness and response through their inclusion in existing and newly developed response networks;
  • Strengthen the research as well as the intervention skills of disaster mental health specialists through enhanced academic courses and practical training;
  • Promote greater involvement in national and international committees while identified as a WADEM representative in the field of psychosocial disaster care;
  • Coordinate international collaboration in research and in creative care approaches among psychosocial section members worldwide;
  • Develop tools for measurement of psychosocial aspects of emergencies and disasters in a standardized and internationally accepted manner.

Any member in good standing of WADEM with expertise or interest in the psychosocial aspects of disasters is eligible to join the section. There are no section dues.

Nominations for the positions of Chair, Chair-elect, and Secretary will open on 1 January of years associated with a meeting of the Congress of the WADEM. All nominees must be members in good standing of WADEM and the Section. The Nominating Committee will present the slate of nominees to the general membership of the section to vote for the respective candidates via electronic ballot. The newly elected officers will then be installed at a Section meeting during the WADEM Congress. All elected officers of the Section will hold office for a two-year term, with the possibility of serving one additional term.

Section members are strongly encouraged to send to the Section Officers psychosocial documents developed by your regional/national groups for inclusion on the links below.

For further information regarding section, or for initiation of activities, please contact section co-chairs:

Gordon Dodge, PhD
Co-Chair

Dr. Gordon Dodge is the clinical director for Lakes Area Human Services, Inc., Forest Lake, Minnesota. He has over 40 years experience as a psychologist in clinical, consultative, and educational services. He also heads up a consulting firm that addresses workplace and community crises and trauma. As a disaster psychologist, he has extensive experience working with private industry, emergency services personnel, and other public agencies on a local, national and international basis. He has had numerous international assignments: in the former Yugoslavia during their war (staff care), Kosovo (psychosocial evaluation team leader), Albania, the Burmese-Thai refugee camps, the Gujarat earthquake in India (psychosocial assessment and planning team leader), the KAL plane crash in Guam, development of the Worker Care Program for the Canadian Red Cross, two consultation and training assignments to Nairobi in follow-up to the embassy bomb blast, two psychosocial missions to Pakistan in response to the Kashmir earthquake, a consultation a training assignment in Guyana in response to civil conflict, mass murders, and neighborhood violence, and two missions to Haiti.

Domestic assignments have included an Oklahoma city bombing hotline, Red River Valley floods, Hurricane Katrina, San Diego Wildfires, and several other natural disaster responses in the United States. He worked for the American Red Cross, serving on the Critical Response Team, was assigned in a leadership position in New York following the World Trade Center attack, is an instructor in Coping with Deployment, Coming Home Series, Psychological First Aid, and Critical Incident Stress Management. He has written, lectured, and provided training extensively on many other aspects of trauma and disaster psychology nationally and internationally.

Limor Aharonson-Daniel, PhD
Co-Chair

Prof. Limor Aharonson-Daniel, heads the Department of Emergency Medicine in the Faculty of Health Sciences of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and is the founding director of PREPARED Center for Emergency Response Research at BGU. She has a BSc in statistics from the Tel Aviv University and a PhD in Community Medicine from the University of Hong-Kong. With vast experience in injury epidemiology, she developed Multiple Injury Profiles (MIP), and was among the developers of the Barell Body Region by nature of injury diagnosis matrix. Her current interests are in the academization of disaster preparedness and response and the development of methods and instruments to facilitate practically oriented studies of disasters, including physical and psychosocial aspects. Prof. Aharonson-Daniel has initiated and is currently leading several disaster related community initiatives including the BGU volunteering university project and "signs in crisis," a smartphone application facilitating communication for deaf people during emergencies.

She formed and is co-chairing the Conjoint Community Resiliency Assessment Collaboration, an interdisciplinary work group that developed the Conjoint Community Resiliency Assessment Measure (CCRAM), a standard instrument for the measurement of community resilience in the face of disaster. Prof. Aharonson-Daniel has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals and authored several book chapters both on Injury Research Methods and on Disaster Preparedness Assessment. She is a member of the CDCs' International Collaborative Effort (ICE) on injury statistics, a core Member of the Global Burden of Disease study "Injuries Expert Group," a member of the World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine (WADEM), and the American Public Health Association (APHA) Injury Control, and Emergency Health Services (ICEHS) section. She is an active reviewer for several journals and serves on the editorial board of Injury Epidemiology and Disaster Health.