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College of Human Ecology

K-State's school of Family Studies and Human Services a co-sponsor of 2006 all-hazards behavioral health symposium

Thursday, October 5, 2006

MANHATTAN -- Helping behavioral health specialists with responses to emergency events or acts of terrorism in Kansas is the focus of the 2006 All-Hazards Behavioral Health Symposium, "Preparedness, Response and Recovery in Kansas," Oct. 17-18, in Salina at the Kansas Highway Patrol Academy, 2025 E. Iron.

The conference, expected to draw around 300 behavioral health professionals, is sponsored by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment's Center for Public Health Preparedness in cooperation with the Kansas Adjutant General's office, the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, Kansas State University's School of Family Studies and Human Services, Kansas Highway Patrol and the University of Kansas Medical Center's Area Health Education Centers.

Funding for the symposium is through a Health Resources and Services Administration grant to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

"The symposium is to help increase the visibility of a behavioral health professional's role in emergency response to all hazards, as well as to increase the knowledge base and awareness of emergency responders for disaster-related behavioral health issues," said Briana Nelson Goff, coordinator of the Kansas All-Hazards Behavioral Health Program. Goff also is interim assistant dean of K-State's College of Human Ecology and associate professor of family studies and human services.

Goff and Charlie Griffin, research assistant professor of family studies and human services at K-State, will be among the session speakers at the symposium. Keynote speakers include Tonya Roberts, deputy coordinator of emergency management in Arkansas's Sebastian County, and Capt. Joan Harding, Federal Emergency Management Region VII national disaster medical system emergency coordinator for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

More information about the symposium, including how professionals can register, as well as the Kansas All-Hazards Behavioral Health Program, is available at http://www.k-state.edu/kahbh

Goff and Griffin were charged in January 2005 with developing a state plan for disaster behavioral health in Kansas. In the event of a presidentially declared disaster or other public health emergency in the state, the plan will help address preparedness, response and recovery services; training and education; resource allocation and collection; and statewide network
recruitment and coordination.

The Kansas All-Hazards Behavioral Health Program is funded by a contract between K-State, the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, State Mental Health Authority and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. K-State, through the School of Family Studies and Human Services in the College of Human Ecology, is providing services to develop the Kansas All-Hazards Behavioral Health Plan.

As of August 2006, Goff said the program has completed a database of around 340 behavioral health and non-behavioral health professionals who can respond to the behavioral health needs of disaster survivors. Of the professionals listed in the database, 245 have completed the program's core training.

This article was posted on Thursday, October 5, 2006, and is filed under College News, Family Studies & Human Services.