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College of Human Ecology

Work in Greensburg earns K-State group an Emergency-Management award

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

MANHATTAN -- A Kansas State University group organized to safeguard the mental health and physical well-being of citizens and emergency workers after disasters has been recognized for its hard work after a tornado ravaged Greensburg, Kan., in May.

The Kansas All-Hazards Behavioral Health Program has earned the 2007 award for outstanding service from the Kansas Emergency Management Association. The award recognizes individuals or groups when they go beyond their regular duties to further association goals.

The program is a joint effort by K-State's School of Family Studies and Human Services, the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. It consists of more than 400 health workers, clergy, school personnel and other local community members, all of whom can respond after a disaster is declared by the U.S. president.

"Our network of responders is outstanding," said Briana Nelson Goff, associate dean for academic affairs in K-State's College of Human Ecology and associate professor of family studies and human services.

Nelson Goff and Charlie Griffin, research assistant professor in family studies and human services, are program coordinators for KAHBH, which was organized in 2005 to provide statewide coordination of behavioral health care after a disaster, whether a flood, tornado or chemical spill.

In Greensburg, as well as after the summer floods in southeastern Kansas, "We were really pleased with the role that behavioral health played overall, and that it has been acknowledged by state leaders and by disaster and emergency management officials," Nelson Goff said. "This award is recognition of the work we've done in Kansas."

The group was nominated by Cathy Hernandez of Finney County Emergency Management. "This organization provided much-needed counseling not only for the residents of Greensburg and Kiowa County but also for response personnel," Hernandez wrote in nominating the all-hazards program. "They could always be seen around town in their green vests, checking on residents and workers, pushing their carts, which were full of hand sanitizer, bottled water and other essentials. Their response to Greensburg exceeded all expectations."

Source: Briana Nelson Goff, 785-532-1490, bnelson@k-state.edu

News release prepared by: Andy Badeker, 785-532-6415, abadeker@k-state.edu

This article was posted on Tuesday, November 6, 2007, and is filed under Family Studies & Human Services.