Distance Learning
GEHS 6950

GEHS 6950 - Psychosocial Aspects of Environmental Health Disaster, 3 credits

The course covers the theoretical development, history, and empirical studies of the psychosocial dynamics and sequence of disasters. Characteristics of environmental health disasters, reactions and risk factors, as well as trends in disaster mental health are examined. Emphasis is placed on inclusion of psychosocial considerations in the planning, preparation, and very early intervention phases of a disaster. Vulnerable populations are of particular interest in highly interactive case-based learning through reflection labs for application in situations such as natural disaster, environmental health crises, pandemic illness, or threats to national security. Baseline resilience planning is required of all students planning to work in disaster or emergency response fields.

Course Learning Objectives

The student will be able to:

  1. Anticipate and respond to reactive public behavior based on knowledge of disaster impact and phases as well as on reactions and resources of individuals, groups, and communities.
  2. Articulate the theoretical and empirical bases for crisis interventions, psychosocial stress debriefings, Psychological First Aid (PFA), ACT model, CODE-C, and other solution-focused disaster mental health methods.
  3. Outline a foundation model for the integration and coordination of psychosocial services into emergency response systems for pre-event, event, and post-event deployment.
  4. Conduct salient and culturally specific assessment of biopsychosocial risk factors and strengths of client systems in the wake of unexpected crises.
  5. Use concepts of triage and basic human needs models to prioritize solution-focused interventions during removal from scene, hospitalization, mass evacuation, sheltering, recovery and capacity building phases with client systems.
  6. Critically discuss opportunities for advocacy, research, and program development of disaster mental health services in disaster prone areas, with particular attention to equal access to services by marginalized groups such as the poor, frail elderly, homeless, physically or mentally ill, or geographically isolated.
  7. Discuss the four dimensions of resilient planners and responders and write a baseline personal/professional resilience plan.

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