Office of the Governor 

Governor July 7, 2004

Contact:      Ellen Qualls                                  Martha Mead, DMHMRSAS 
Phone:         (804) 786-2211, x2379               (804) 786-9048
Cell Phone:  (804) 393-9429                          Trina Lee, Virginia Dept. of Health
Internet:           (804) 864-7008


RICHMOND-Governor Mark R. Warner today announced the establishment of a joint advisory council to coordinate behavioral health preparedness and response to any future disaster or terrorist acts within the Commonwealth. This unique group is a joint effort of the Virginia Department of Health and the Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services.

"Terrorist attacks and natural disasters have devastating effects on our mental health," said Governor Warner. "Individuals, groups, and communities may experience significant impacts from such events or acts. Behavioral health care interventions are critical to helping even the most resilient people respond and recover."

The Terrorism and Disaster Behavioral Health Advisory Council (TADBHAC) will provide guidance to the Virginia Departments of Health and Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services and other key disaster response entities. The Council represents the development of an important partnership and planning process among federal, state, and local agencies and organizations coordinating behavioral health and public health preparedness and emergency response within the Commonwealth. It is a grassroots, leadership-based approach that takes place locally, with health departments and community services boards linking strongly to serve as a core partnership in emergency response. This partnership will also bring together municipal agencies, including emergency management, law enforcement, fire and rescue departments, public and private and military behavioral health care providers and agencies, hospitals, academic institutions, public information, and others as locally indicated. 

"The scope and depth of the Council's knowledge in this very critical area promises to well serve the Commonwealth in planning and preparing for and implementing a sound, effective, and evidence-based behavioral health response to any emergency event that may occur," said James S. Reinhard, M.D., Commissioner Mental Health, Mental Retardation, and Substance Abuse Services.

"This Council, which has members from public health and behavioral health disciplines, clearly demonstrates that the two areas need to be strongly linked in all-hazards emergency preparedness and response planning in order to be effective and successful," said State Health Commissioner, Robert B. Stroube, M.D., M.P.H..

TADBHAC has adopted goals to eliminate the duplication of efforts that currently exist in the disaster behavioral health arena. These goals will guide state and community agencies and organizations in their individual emergency operations planning, and in the realms of prevention, response, and recovery. The goals include:

* Institute a planning process that integrates the principles of public health and behavioral health preparedness and response into the overall disaster planning process, paying particular attention to assisting localities in developing a cooperative and effective community response. The plan will include guidelines, standards and recommendations for training and education, credentialing in service provision, coordinating interagency response, identifying resources, and using evidence-based practices.

* Develop planning and guidance on how to meet the increased need for public health and behavioral health services in any disaster, often referred to as 'surge capacity'.
* Incorporating principles of community and individual resiliency in the planning process.
* Establishing guidelines for the empirical evaluation of crisis health care and behavioral health efforts.

The Council's membership includes state agencies, community services boards, academic institutions, the military, American Red Cross, advocacy organizations, professional societies, and business and industry. Council members were selected because of their specialty expertise and multiple agency affiliations.

Terrorism and Disaster Behavioral Health Advisory Council
(TADBHAC) Membership 

Mark L. Dembert, M.D., M.P.H. (Chair, TADBHAC)
Health Director, Western Tidewater Health District
Suffolk, Virginia
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Eastern Virginia Medical School 
Norfolk, Virginia
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
Bethesda, Maryland
(Former Eastern Regional Medical Consultant Emergency Preparedness and Response Programs)
Virginia Department of Health

Bill Armistead, M.P.H.,
Director, Disaster Preparedness and Response
Office of Planning and Development
Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services
Richmond, Virginia

David R. Beckert, B.S.
2nd year Medical Student
Director of Operations, UVA Medical Reserve Corps
School of Medicine, University of Virginia
Charlottesville, Virginia

Larry Braja, MSW
Human Services/Individual Assistance officer
Recovery and Administrative Services
Department of Emergency Management
Richmond, Virginia

Ruby E. Brown, Ph.D.
Mental Health Community Disaster Response Coordinator
Arlington County Behavioral Healthcare Division
(Former Project Director, Arlington County Community Resilience Project)
Member, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Committee 
Arlington, Virginia

Judy Cusumano, Ph.D.
Academic Counselor/Assistant Professor
Jefferson College of Health Sciences
Roanoke, Virginia

Kimberly J. Dowdell, B.S.
2nd Year Medical Student
Director of Administration, UVA Medical Reserve Corps
School of Medicine, University of Virginia
Charlottesville, Virginia

Edward M. Kantor, M.D.
Residency Training Director 
Governor's Faculty Fellow in Public and Community Psychiatry
Director, Division of Consult-Liaison, Emergency and Community Psychiatry
Faculty Advisor, UVA Medical Reserve Corps
Department of Psychiatric Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Virginia Health System
Charlottesville, Virginia
(Head, Disaster Committee, Psychiatric Society of Virginia)

John Lindstrom, Ph.D.
Director of Assessment/Emergency and Medical Services
Richmond Behavioral Health Authority
Richmond, Virginia
(Chair, Mental Health Council, Virginia Association of Community Services Boards)

Julie Linker, Ph.D.
Associate Director, Commonwealth Institute for Child and Family Services
Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Medical College of Virginia/
Virginia Commonwealth University
Richmond, Virginia

Karen P. Mann, A.C.S.W.
Senior Planner
Office of Planning and Development
Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services
Richmond, Virginia

Dorinda Miller, Ph.D.
New River Valley Community Disaster Response Coalition
American Red Cross, Disaster Mental Health Services
Pearisburg, Virginia

Carol Morrow
State Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) Coordinator
Office of Emergency Medical Services
Virginia Department of Health
Richmond, Virginia

Mellie Randall, B.A.
Manager, Community Program Planning and Standards
Office of Substance Abuse Services
Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services
Richmond, Virginia

Peter L. Sheras, Ph.D.
Professor and Director of Clinical Training
Curry Programs in Clinical and School Psychology, Department of Human Services
The Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
(Past Chair, Region Ten Community Services Board
Mental Health Lead, Central Virginia Chapter, American Red Cross; Central Virginia
Coordinator, American Psychological Association, Disaster Relief Network)
Charlottesville, Virginia 

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