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In the past year, the US has experienced several natural disasters: Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, the west coast wildfires and Hawaii’s volcanic eruptions. Our PIR   team is developing a standardized set of measures to assess behavioral mental health issues that in disaster-affected populations. The aim of this project is to produce a toolkit that can be used anywhere in the country after any disaster.

Read all the work we have done below. 



Disasters are often associated with structural, economic, and population disruptions which may lead to short and long-term mental health consequences in adults and children. Although there are a number of rapid assessment and survey research instruments that have been used to assess post-disaster mental health status, there is no single compendium that has systematically collected, validated, and catalogued such behavioral measures. In response to the Request for Proposals from the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, we propose to collaboratively develop a standardized validated toolkit of disaster-related mental health measures. We firmly believe that such a catalogue can support informed decision-making and programmatic strategies for public mental health interventions following catastrophic events.


In collaboration with CSTE and its stakeholders, the research team will produce a toolkit of validated behavioral health measures that can be used in post-disaster settings. The specific aims of the project are to: Review and document the state of the art of rapid assessments in use in the field and in the peer-reviewed literature; test and validate those items and scales which have not previously been validated, using two longitudinal disaster cohorts, one drawing from Hurricane Katrina survivors, the other from Hurricane Sandy survivors; develop a taxonomy of behavioral health measures; and develop a guidebook for public health practitioners that will serve as a ready manual for rapid deployment.

Read more. 


Principal Investigator: David Abramson, PhD MPH, Clinical Associate Professor

NYU College of Global Public Health


Co-Principal Investigator: Emily Goldmann, PhD, Clinical Assistant Professor

NYU College of Global Public Health 


Administrative contact: Nancy S. Daneau, Director 

NYU Office of Sponsored Projects 


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