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Disaster Trauma Committee
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Disaster Trauma Committee

Madelyn Miller, PhD, LCSW, CGP, Chair

Meeting Time: Fridays, 9:00 am to 11:00 am on a bi-monthly basis. Please refer to our calendar of events for our most up-to-date meeting schedule.

Place: NASW-NYC Chapter
305 Seventh Avenue, Suite 13A
New York, NY 10001

RSVP: Kindly email

 Since 1997, the Disaster Trauma Committee has been meeting to recognize social workers’ interest and experience in disaster work, providing bimonthly meetings for continuing learning and collegial support. Presentations focus on the diversity of disaster experiences within a global context, related trauma and loss issues, disaster preparedness planning, and attention to the inevitable impact on social workers of immediate and long-term disaster work.

Created after the 1996 TWA airline disaster to offer social workers a context for dialogue, engagement, and an expanding knowledge and practice base, many of the committee’s members became trained American Red Cross Disaster Mental Health Services volunteers, responding to local fires, building collapses, evacuations, aviation disasters, and memorials. Since then, committee members include those who have participated widely after local, national, and global disasters, through disaster-specific and other organizations, as well as through various community-based groups. Many have worked with survivors of recent and past disasters in their diverse social work roles across settings and communities.
Meetings consider the individual and collective impact of natural and human-caused disasters, from exploring the cultural context of loss, grief, and mourning after disaster, and bearing in mind the common frame of inequities often accompanying disaster, to discussing distinct immediate, emerging, and long-term issues and response considerations, as well as keeping in view vicarious trauma and resilience, and reflective self-care. The essential elements of social support and the building of community are considered in relation to both the evolving aftermath of disaster and our own experiences of engaging in disaster work.   
After September 11, 2001, the committee offered training on the unique dynamics of terrorism, our expanded roles in responding to the collective impact of mass violence, and our dual experience as survivors and service providers. Anniversary meetings continue to be held, marking the passage of time through reflection and remembrance. For nearly two decades the committee has continued to examine catastrophic tragedies across our globe, so commonly framed by overt social factors, from the Indian Ocean region tsunami, contextualized by civil war for some, and the US Gulf Coast region Katrina/Rita hurricanes, to the Haiti earthquake, and the still uncertain impact of Japan’s nuclear power plant disaster. The Sandy superstorm in our city and region, the Sandy Hook school shootings, considered amidst other school and community shootings across the country, the Boston marathon bombing, and the devastating typhoon in the Philippines, recent disasters, illustrate unique as well as common considerations. Meetings since the Sandy storm have been held monthly to carefully consider evolving realities, including those most vulnerable, gaps in services, and our own experiences, as the long-term reach of the storm unfolds, still.
Amidst the many new as well as familiar mass disaster anniversaries, the committee considers the collective well-being of the broad NYC community, and other communities affected by disaster, with a hope for a climate of social engagement and community collaboration as we move forward.
All social workers are invited to meetings, held every two months, or more frequently, on Friday mornings, 9 to 11 am at the chapter office. Dates are noted in Currents, and on our calendar of events.


Important Disaster Trauma Committee Meetings 2017 - Present

Zoom Meetings Focused on SW & the Pandemic - 5-22-20; 6-12-20; 7-3-20


What Happens to a Dream Deferred? Identity Formation and DACA - 1-17-20


Annual 9/11 Anniversary Reflection & Remembrance - 9-20-19


Special Meeting Honoring the 70th Anniversary of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights  11-16-18


17th Annual 9/11 Anniversary Reflection and Remembrance Meeting - 9-14-18


Continuing Our Discussion in New Reality-Ongoing Action, Future Initiatives, 12-24-17


After the Election: Planning As We Take Care of Ourselves& Each Other, 12-16-17


After the Election: Our Experiences, and Where We Go from Here, 11-18-17


The Annual 9/11 Anniversary Reflection and Remembrance Mtg, 9-16-17


Click here to view a listing of all meeting topics held from 1997 to 2016








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