Name of Engagement
Dr. Lennis Echterling Consults on First Responder Trauma Following Hurricane Dorian
The photos from the Bahamas and other places ravaged by Hurricane Dorian are heart wrenching, as are the stories of loss being told by the survivors. While the physical trauma is easy to spot, other types of trauma are not so visible, says JMU Graduate Psychology Professor Lennie Echterling, whose research areas include trauma and disasters, counselor education, resilience and positive psychology.
"The other issue here is that the support system is down too," Echterling said, noting that communities have been wiped out. "The social and psychological infrastructure is one of the first things that needs rebuilding."
When Echterling trains first responders, he emphasizes the importance of listening to the survivors. "Stories have to have an audience," he said, noting that story telling helps people rebuild their lives and provides hope for the future.
Echterling said the first responders need support too. In a disaster as large as that created by Dorian, first responders can often feel like their efforts lack impact.
Involves Faculty, Involves Participants External to JMU
Regional US Scope, National Scope
Ongoing (Currently in existence, year round)
Primary Focus of Program
Governance and Public Policy; Health and Healthcare
Areas of Engagement