Disasters, terrorist acts, and other mass casualty incidents occur frequently and are a major burden to our nation's mental and physical health. Good disaster research requires a collaboration among researchers, mental and public health practitioners, disaster planning and relief agencies, and public policy makers, particularly at the state and local levels. This application proposes to establish a Disaster Research Education and Mentoring (DREM) Center. The Center is a joint effort between researchers at the National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center at the Medical University of South Carolina and the New York Academy of Medicine, who collaborated on a series of major research studies of the September 11th terrorist attacks in New York. The proposed project also involves collaborations with the Council of State Governments and the American Red Cross. Given that disasters often impact the general population in addition to direct victims, the DREM center will focus primarily on epidemiological approaches to research assessment and intervention evaluation. The project has four major objectives: 1) Provide disaster research education and mentoring; 2) Develop and implement a web-based mental health and epidemiological research measures data-base; 3) Develop disaster-specific psychoeducational materials for potential use with disaster victims; and 4) provide the Council of State Governments and American Red Cross with evidence-based information about disaster-related physical and mental health problems as well as about the safety, efficacy, and effectiveness of mental health interventions for such problems. The Center will use a variety of strategies to accomplish these objectives including individualized training and mentoring for researchers and other relevant parties, a web-based disaster mental health and epidemiological research measures database, research mentoring, and developing disaster-specific psychoeducational materials for disaster victims. An important component of the project is consultation and collaboration with the Council of State Governments and the American Red Cross to facilitate the usefulness of disaster-related research information to public policy makers and disaster relief agencies. ? ?
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