Funded communications equipment and coordination efforts amongst hospitals throughout Palm Beach County in the wake of the 2001 anthrax attacks. Over the years the initiative – known as the Healthcare Emergency Response Coalition (HERC) – has developed into an award-winning model for disaster preparedness and response in the healthcare arena. HERC membership has grown to include a variety of healthcare providers (not just hospitals) and other first responders, and is now part of the formal disaster response plan in Palm Beach County, Florida. The members train together, share information and tracking systems, and have worked to coordinate efforts actively in the wake of several hurricanes in our community. The members of HERC also wrote and published a guide to establishing similar coalitions in other communities.
Created and implemented InCourage, a pilot program to provide mental health services to adults in Baton Rouge La., in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (with additional support from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and others). InCourage was designed to increase the capacity to screen and treat post-disaster distress in Louisiana and promote awareness of the services available. This program worked to fill the gap between short-term crisis counseling funded by the federal government and mental health services for the chronically mentally ill available through state and local community organizations. The 10 treatment sessions are divided into three main areas: psychoeducation, coping skills and cognitive restructuring.
Assisted a local mental/behavioral health service provider with matching grant dollars to assist the survivors with counseling sessions after the tornadoes. An onsite location was created to make it convenient for the survivors to get to counseling. Many individuals and families benefited from the free counseling.
Funded the local visiting nurse service to conduct mental health screenings/support groups/counseling for those affected by Hurricane Sandy in and around Ocean Beach, NJ. In the wake of September 11th, they funded a local hospital to develop a disaster preparedness strategy.
Funded the NJ Department of Health following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, to establish a partnership with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey to create a “COP to COP” program providing law enforcement professionals with a peer to peer counseling program to assist in the recovery process.
Funded a ”Trauma and Resilience Conference,” which served as an important meeting point for ideas, the sharing of best practices, and networking among Sandy recovery professionals. A series of resources which includes a Conference Summary Paper, Resources List and Contact sheet was compiled and made available for the emotional and mental health professionals in attendance.
Funded Monmouth University to produce “After Sandy: The Persistence of Psychological Distress,” which tracks ongoing issues with Sandy survivors. The survey was designed to monitor progress in a number of different areas, including rebuilding, finances, communications, and well-being.