Prepare, Respond, Recover

DTAC Education and Training

The Disaster Technical Assistance Center (DTAC) shares educational and training information on disaster behavioral health (DBH).

Education and training information includes:

If you would like to add an event to our education and training listing, please email DTAC.


  • The Understanding Compassion Fatigue and Compassion Satisfaction: Tips for Disaster Responders (25:19) podcast can help disaster behavioral health (DBH) professionals learn about the positive and negative effects of helping disaster survivors. If you have questions or need more information, please contact Julie Liu at 240-276-2424. Feedback is welcome.
  • The Post-Disaster Retraumatization: Risk and Protective Factors (38:47) podcast informs DBH professionals about the concepts and signs of retraumatization and associated risk and protective factors and highlights promising treatment strategies and tips for avoiding retraumatization. If you have questions or need more information, please contact Julie Liu at 240-276-2424. Feedback is welcome.
  • The Behavioral Health Response to Mass Violence (28:50) podcast informs DBH professionals about the psychological responses to mass violence and suggests strategies and interventions to provide immediate support and mitigate long-term, negative mental health consequences.If you have questions or need more information, please contact Julie Liu at 240-276-2424. Feedback is welcome.
  • The goal of the Mass Casualty: Support and Response (47:33) webinar is to share information about emotional reactions to mass casualty events. It also addresses what Medical Reserve Corps team members, Commission Corps Officers, and other first responders may encounter in the field during a crisis event and familiarizes participants with related DBH resources available through SAMHSA. This webinar supports response efforts and promote responders' individual and peer group resilience by ensuring that viewers are able to:
    • Identify common behavioral health reactions to a mass casualty event.
    • Detect stress reactions of survivors and responders.
    • Assist responders with leadership strategies and team resilience.
    • Locate and use resources found on the SAMHSA Disaster Technical Assistance Center (DTAC) website, including free downloadable guides, pamphlets, tip sheets, the Disaster Behavioral Health Information Series, The Dialogue, the SAMHSA DTAC Bulletin, pre-recorded webinars/podcasts, and other disaster behavioral health–related items.

Featured speakers include Heather Oglesby, SAMHSA Project Officer, CDR Jeffrey Coady, Psy.D., SAMHSA Region V Administrator, and CDR Jamie Seligman, SAMHSA Project Officer. If you have questions or need more information, please contact Julie Liu at 240-276-2424. Feedback is welcome.

  • The goal of the Helping Children and Youth Cope in the Aftermath of Disasters: Tips for Parents and Other Caregivers, Teachers, Administrators, and School Staff Podcast (49:16) is to help parents, caregivers, teachers, and other school staff to identify common reactions of children and youth to disaster and trauma, and discover helpful approaches to support immediate and long-term recovery. Hosted by Julie Liu, M.A., Public Health Advisor, SAMHSA, presenters include Robin Gurwitch, Ph.D., Center for Family Health, Duke University Medical Center and Russell T. Jones, Ph.D., Virginia Tech University. Dr. Gurwitch, a clinical psychologist and Duke University faculty member, is a master trainer in Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, focusing on resiliency for families affected by trauma. Dr. Jones is a professor of psychology at Virginia Tech University and a clinical psychologist who specializes in trauma psychology in the areas of natural and technological disasters as well as interpersonal violence. If you have questions or need more information, please contact Julie Liu at 240-276-2424. Feedback is welcome.
  • The goal of the Deployment Supports for Disaster Behavioral Health Responders (27:18) podcast is to prepare DBH responders and their family members for deployment by reviewing pre- and post-deployment guidelines and ways to prepare oneself and one's family members for the stress of deployment and reintegration into regular work and family life. This podcast aims to accomplish the following:
    • Increase awareness of the unique issues DBH responders face, especially with numerous or long-term assignments.
    • Provide pre-deployment guidelines to assist DBH responders and their family members as they prepare for deployment.
    • Assist with the DBH responder and family members by providing post-deployment guidelines and practices that enable reintegration with family members and routine employment.

The featured speaker is April Naturale, Ph.D., of SAMHSA's Disaster Technical Assistance Center (DTAC). Dr. Naturale is a traumatic stress specialist with a 25-year history in health/mental health administration. She directed New York's disaster mental health response following the terrorist attacks of 9/11, and spent several years in the Gulf Coast after the large-scale hurricanes that devastated the area. DTAC encourages participation of behavioral health, public health, and other professionals involved in emergency management/disaster response. Feedback is welcome.

  • The goal of the Cultural Awareness: Children and Youth in Disasters (54:25) podcast is to assist DBH responders in providing culturally aware and appropriate DBH services for children, youth, and families impacted by natural and human-caused disasters. The podcast aims to accomplish the following:
    • Define cultural awareness.
    • Demonstrate the importance of cultural awareness in disaster services particularly with children and youth.
    • Identify common reactions of children to disaster and trauma.
    • Present helpful approaches to working with children impacted by a disaster.

Featured speakers include April Naturale, Ph.D., of SAMHSA DTAC and Russell T. Jones, Ph.D., of Virginia Tech University. Dr. Naturale is a traumatic stress specialist with a 25- year history in health/mental health administration. Dr. Jones is a professor of psychology at Virginia Tech University and a clinical psychologist who specializes in trauma psychology in the areas of natural and technological disasters as well as interpersonal violence. SAMHSA DTAC encourages participation by behavioral health, public health, and other professionals involved in emergency management/disaster response activities, who are interested in learning more about working with children and youth following a disaster or need a refresher about the disaster response issues specific to this population.

  • SAMHSA DTAC is pleased to present the Self-Care for Disaster Behavioral Health Responders (56:47) podcast. The goal of this podcast is to provide information, best practices, and tools that enable DBH responders and supervisors to identify and effectively manage stress and secondary traumatic stress through workplace structures and self-care practices. The podcast will accomplish all of the following:
    • Define the stressors unique to DBH responders, including secondary traumatic stress.
    • Present best practices in self-care for DBH responders.
    • Provide tools that can be used to promote self-care.
    • Identify supports that can be provided by supervisors and management to assist DBH responders.

Featured speakers include April Naturale, Ph.D., of SAMHSA DTAC and Jeannette David, Georgia Disaster Behavioral Health Coordinator. SAMHSA DTAC encourages participation by behavioral health, public health, and other professionals involved in emergency management/disaster response who are interested in learning more about self-care best practices.

Non-SAMHSA DTAC Webcasts

  • The From Radiological Incidents to Nuclear Calamities: Social, Behavioral, and Risk Communication Issues in Radiation Emergencies (1:09:21) presentation was posted by the Institute of Disaster Mental Health at the State University of New York. The goal of the training was to increase the knowledge base among emergency and disaster response personnel, as well as the general public, about the probability, effects, and consequences of radiological disasters and the importance of clear risk communication before, during, and after an event. (Date recorded: April 13, 2013)
  • The Social Vulnerability Approach to Disaster Planning webinar, posted by the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center, is geared toward public health planners, emergency managers, and first responders. It provides an overview of the factors that make people vulnerable to the effects of disasters and associated implications. (Date recorded: April 1, 2013)
  • This Principles of Planning for Disaster Risk Reduction podcast is part of a conference call series sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Medical Reserve Corps. The focus of this particular call is effective disaster planning. (Date recorded: September 18, 2012)
  • The subject matter experts in this Gender and Disaster webinar provide an overview of the impact of gender on individual and collective experiences of disaster and conflict for individuals, families, and communities. (Date recorded: July 11, 2012)
  • The Mitigating Disaster Trauma: Lessons from Sandy webinar is part of the National Council LIVE webinar series hosted by the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare. Participants will learn more about conducting a pre-disaster needs assessment that can help them implement a tailored, culturally sensitive response. These skills can also ensure that participants are able to help boost resilience in the aftermath of a disaster. (Date recorded: November 14, 2012)
  • The Crisis Intervention: How to Support People Coping with Loss (26:02) webcast, hosted by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, provides teachers, parents, and guardians with strategies to help students cope with loss and shares the steps of a debriefing process for participants to follow with students who are heavily affected by loss. (Date recorded: March 16, 2010)
  • In this Women, Gender, and Disaster: What’s the Connection? webinar, posted by the Canadian Women’s Health Network, the presenter shares her personal experiences during and after Hurricane Andrew and her research on the role of gender in disaster vulnerability and resilience. (Date recorded: March 31, 2010)
  • This Stress Management for Emergency Responders—What Agencies Can Do podcast provides information on stress management for individuals, teams, and agencies working in crisis settings. The episode identifies ways to reduce stress and its negative effects on individual staff members and the agency as a whole. (Date recorded: January 21, 2009)
  • Geared toward public health and aging services professionals, this Emergency Preparedness Concerns for Older Adults podcast was created by the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and the Coordinating Office for Terrorism Preparedness and Emergency Response at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The speakers address special concerns older adults may face during a disaster. (Date recorded: January 26, 2009)
  • The Promoting Mental Health in the Wake of Disaster podcast is part of a series sponsored by the University at Buffalo School of Social Work. In this episode, the presenter provides an overview of the stages of disaster and supportive mental health responses to trauma at the individual and community levels. (Date recorded: March 9, 2009)
  • In the Understanding and Responding to the Needs of Children After Large-Scale Disasters webcast, the South Central Center for Public Health Preparedness, in partnership with the Alabama Department of Public Health, provides information about how children may respond to traumatic events, ideas for interventions, and recommendations for disaster preparation in this webcast. (Date recorded: May 22, 2008)
  • This Safe Schools: Behavioral Health Recovery After Crisis Situations (38:23) webcast presents key concepts in children’s reactions to community trauma, a school’s role in disaster recovery, and information about the Project Recovery Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program in response to the Wisconsin floods. (Date recorded: December 16, 2008)
  • In the Disaster Mental Health Counseling Podcast, doctoral student Kristin Page interviews Dr. Cirecie West-Olatunji, an associate professor of counselor education at the University of Florida and creator of a certificate program in disaster mental health counseling. The speakers discuss advocacy and social justice issues involved in disaster mental health counseling and highlight the need for more cultural competence and more extensive disaster counseling training for all counselors. (Date recorded: Unknown)

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Online Trainings

  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Online Courses are free independent study that can be completed for continuing education units. Courses cover topics such as emergency preparedness, developing and managing volunteers, and the Incident Command System.
  • The Johns Hopkins Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Center has developed a variety of online mental health preparedness trainings:
    • Disaster Mental Health Intervention
    • Disaster Mental Health Planning
    • Introduction to Mental Health and Disaster Preparedness
    • Mental Health Consequences of Disaster
    • Psychological First Aid Competencies for Public Health Workers
    • Psychology and Crisis Response
    • Psychology of Terrorism
    • Roots of Terrorism
    • Self-Care
  • The Massachusetts Environmental Health Association has developed Disaster Behavioral Health Trainings that are available online:
    • Disaster Behavioral Health
    • Psychological First Aid: Helping People Cope During Disasters and Public Health Emergencies
    • Psychological First Aid in Radiation Disasters
    • Psychological Issues Following Disasters
  • The National Child Traumatic Stress Network Learning Center for Child and Adolescent Trauma is an online training center geared toward professionals and families seeking to learn more about child traumatic stress. Many resources specifically focus on disaster-related trauma and grief. The center also features PFA Online, a 6-hour course in which the student plays the role of a provider working in a scene after a disaster.
  • The Office of Minority Health Cultural Competency Curriculum for Disaster Preparedness and Crisis Response includes four online courses that can help disaster and crisis personnel and volunteers build skills to provide culturally competent assistance during all phases of disaster. The curriculum is grouped into three themes: culturally competent care, language access services, and organizational supports.
  • The University of North Carolina Center for Public Health Preparedness offers free online training on public health preparedness. The available course topics include disaster planning, response, and recovery; diverse populations; bioterrorism; chemical and radiation emergencies; and basic epidemiology.

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Field Events

  • Over 3 days, the National Council for Behavioral Health Conference '14 will include 125 sessions featuring 300 expert speakers to discuss research, policy, and technology innovations in behavioral health. The conference will include tracks on trauma-informed care, children and youth, and addictions and co-occurring disorders. (May 5–7, 2014; Washington, DC)
  • The 2014 National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) Conference features meetings, training sessions, and workshops within four conference tracks: long-term recovery, partnership formation and strengthening, use of technology in disaster operations, and volunteer management. Conference participants include federal representatives and hundreds of national, state, and local VOAD representatives. (May 13–15, 2014; Indianapolis, IN)
  • The World Conference on Disaster Management, a nonprofit organization, will bring together international disaster management professionals to hear lessons learned and promote dialogue among conference attendees in more than 60 interactive sessions. Conference track topics include resilience, crisis communications, emergency management, and business continuity management. (June 15–18, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
  • The 2014 Natural Hazards Research and Applications Workshop is held by the Natural Hazards Center, based at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The workshop is designed to bring together nearly 400 government officials, nonprofit and humanitarian organizations, and researchers and practitioners from disaster and emergency management disciplines for discussions on how society responds to and recovers from hazards and disasters. (June 22–25, 2014; Broomfield, Colorado)

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Last Updated: 04/08/2015