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The Carter Center to Host Experts on Psychological Effects of Hurricane Katrina

The Carter Center to Host Experts on

Psychological Effects of Hurricane Katrina

Oct. 4, 2006



Paula Hovater


The 22nd Annual Rosalynn Carter Symposium on Mental Health Policy

Atlanta…Experts in disaster mental health will gather at the 22nd Annual Rosalynn Carter Symposium on Mental Health Policy on Nov. 8 and 9 to discuss the long-term psychological consequences of Hurricane Katrina and ways to improve disaster planning, preparedness, and response as they relate to mental health. Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter and Dr. Thom Bornemann, director of The Carter Center Mental Health Program, will welcome specialists from around the country, including leaders from the affected states of Mississippi and Louisiana.  The symposium is expected to draw more than 200 participants from the mental health community including researchers, service providers, and consumer and advocacy groups, as well as policymakers from all levels of government.  Speakers include Scott Cowen, president of Tulane University; Robert Ursano, M.D., professor and chairman of the department of psychiatry at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences; Joy Osofsky, Ph.D., professor of pediatrics, psychiatry and public health at Louisiana State University School of Medicine; and Brian Flynn, Ed.D., associate director of the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress and adjunct professor of psychiatry at Uniformed Services University.  (A complete agenda of speakers follows this press release.)  
"People in New Orleans and evacuees who moved to other areas around the country are still suffering from the trauma of Hurricane Katrina," said Mrs. Carter.  "Our goal is to use the lessons learned from that catastrophic event to improve the mental health outcomes for people affected in the next disaster."

The two-day event will provide opportunities for in-depth panel discussions about the immediate impact of natural disasters on mental health, the best practices in disaster mental health training and intervention, and how to effect changes to the national public health system.  Panel moderators will be journalists covering the disaster, including Norman Robinson, anchor for WDSU-TV in New Orleans; Greg Miller, writer for Science Magazine; Jane Hansen, investigative reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution; and Bill Lichtenstein, creator of The Infinite Mind heard on National Public Radio.

Dr. Bornemann, who has had many firsthand experiences with large disasters such as Hurricane Andrew, was part of the special federal disaster team organized by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and traveled to Houston to support a city overwhelmed by services needed for some 200,000 evacuees.  As a career public health officer and former assistant surgeon general, Dr. Bornemann helped organize mental health professionals and their response to Katrina victims.

"The impact of Hurricane Katrina on victims was unprecedented for our nation. People suffered multiple traumas not only from injury and loss of possessions, but from the perception that agencies and authorities were unable or unwilling to help them," said Dr. Bornemann.  "Experts and officials participating in the symposium are in a position to help shape a system to address these needs in the future."

In 1985, the Annual Rosalynn Carter Symposium on Mental Health Policy was initiated to bring together national leaders in mental health to focus and coordinate their efforts on an issue of common concern and recommend action steps to move the agenda forward. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.  A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, the Center has helped to improve life for people in more than 65 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; improving mental health care; and teaching farmers to increase crop production.  Please visit to learn more about The Carter Center.


Symposium Agenda

Editor's Note:  All portions of the symposium, except working groups, are open to media.  Reporters who would like to attend should contact Paula Hovater at
770-998-1106 or 

Wednesday, Nov. 8

1:00 – 1:05 p.m.           WELCOME

Thomas Bornemann, Ed.D., Director, The Carter Center Mental Health Program

1:05 – 1:15 p.m.           OPENING REMARKS

Rosalynn Carter, Chair, The Carter Center Mental Health Task Force

1:15 – 2:30 p.m.           Keynote Panel — Hurricane Survivors

Moderator:       Norman Robinson, News Anchor, WDSU-TV, New Orleans

Panelists:          James Cooper, Office Coordinator, The Extra Mile; Yakima Black, Executive Director, Mental Health Association in Louisiana; Sgt. Ben Glaudi, Commander, Crisis Transportation Services, New Orleans Police Department

2:30 – 2:45 p.m.           Q & A

2:45 – 2:50 p.m.           VIDEO CLIP

3:05 – 4:15 p.m.           PANEL I — Science and Research

Moderator:       Greg Miller, 2004–2005 Fellow, The Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism and Writer, Science Magazine

Panelists:          Robert Ursano, M.D., Professor and Chairman, Department of Psychiatry, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences; Joy Osofsky, Ph.D., Professor of Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Public Health, and Head, Division of Pediatric Mental Health, Louisiana State University Medical Center; Monica Schoch-Spana, Ph.D., Senior Associate, Center for Biosecurity and Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh Medical School

4:15 – 4:30 p.m.           Q & A

4:45 – 6:00 p.m.           WORK GROUPS IN SESSION                   

6:15 – 7:00 p.m.           RECEPTION — Jimmy Carter Museum Lobby

(Note: Museum is open to guests)

7:15 – 9:00 p.m.           DINNER — Cyprus Room

8:00 – 8:30 p.m.           DINNER SPEAKER — Scott Cowen, President, Tulane University

8:30 – 8:45 p.m.           Q & A

Thursday, November 9

9:00 – 10:10 a.m.         PANEL II — Science to Practice

Moderator:       Jane Hansen, Staff Writer, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Panelists:          Dominic Mack, M.D., Professor of Family Medicine, Morehouse School of Medicine; Paula Madrid, Psy.D., Director, Resiliency Program, National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University; W. Dennis Derr, Ed.D., Partner, Signature Resources

10:10 – 10:25 a.m.       Q & A

10:40 – 12:10 p.m.       PANEL III — Policy

Moderator:       Bill Lichtenstein, President, Lichtenstein Creative Media

Panelists:          Anthony Speier, Ph.D., Director, Disaster Mental Health at Louisiana Office of Mental Health; Brian Flynn, Ed.D., Associate Director, Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress, and Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences; Craig Fugate, Director, Florida Division of Emergency Management

12:10 – 12:25 p.m.       Q & A

12:30 – 2:30 p.m.         WORK GROUPS IN SESSION

2:45 – 3:45 p.m.           GENERAL DISCUSSION – Cecil B. Day Chapel

3:45 – 3:50 p.m.           CLOSING REMARKS

Thomas Bornemann, Ed.D., Director, The Carter Center Mental Health Program

3:50 – 4:00 p.m.           CONCLUDING REMARKS

Rosalynn Carter, Chair, The Carter Center Mental Health Task Force

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