This application describes our plans to create a National Center for Disaster Mental Health Research (NCDMHR) that is methodologically innovative, capable of rapid response, and responsive to the needs of scientific, policy, and practitioner communities. In Part I, Administrative and Scientific Resources, we address four central points: First, we describe our vision for the Center's work. We present a dynamic conceptual framework for disaster mental health research that re-directs attention to resilience and wellness, explicitly recognizes the critical role of time, is inherently interdisciplinary, and guides both epidemiologic and intervention research. The NCDMHR has the capacity to address several methodological and conceptual shortcomings in past disaster research. Second, we describe our institutional strengths. Truly creating a national Center, investigators from five prominent universities in four regions of the country have partnered for this effort. These affiliates bring exceptional expertise in epidemiology and survey research (Michigan), postdisaster services and clinical trials (Dartmouth/NCPTSD), genetics and neuroendocrinology (Yale/NCPTSD), secondary prevention (Medical University of South Carolina), and children (Oklahoma). Affiliates are well networked and have historic linkages to important consumers of disaster research. Third, we describe our administrative resources, including internal organization and management plan. Led by Fran Norris, PhD, a psychologist (Dartmouth/NCPTSD), and Sandro Galea, MD, DrPH, an epidemiologist (Michigan), the proposed Center has two research cores, four sections, boards of independent collaborators and policy advisors, and a research education arm, supported by existing research education (R25) and training (T32) grants. NCDMHR's structure of sections within cores allows for flexibility and future growth in the scope and aims of the Center. We outline past funded research to highlight our long history in the disaster field, blend of epidemiology and services research, and strong collaborative relationships. Fourth, we describe our exceptional scientific resources in survey research methods, statistical analysis, and laboratory facilities. Details of the research plan are provided in Part II (Epidemiology) and Part III (Services Research). The public health significance of the NCDMHR should be considerable because of its mission to facilitate the rigorous study and effective promotion of resilience and wellness in the context of disaster.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Comprehensive Center (P60)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZMH1-ERB-B (04))
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Tuma, Farris K
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Dartmouth College
Schools of Medicine
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