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  1. Dr. Samantha Francois is one of the dedicated youth advocates who spoke to Gambit Weekly.
  2. Dr. Mary Margaret Gleason, a VPI faculty member in the Tulane School of Medicine, will be presenting on identifying children at risk of developing mental health problems and helping participants recognize the early warning symptoms. She says, "Early intervention is most accurate for children with early onset symptoms. 'The earlier the intervention the better, because of the rapid brain development,' she advises. 'However, intervention can also be effective later when many symptoms don’t develop until school age or adolescence.'”
  3. The VPI has won a grant from the Pincus Family Foundation to create a Violence Prevention Scholarship which connects graduate students with VPI faculty and community partners! This interdisciplinary program will be based in the Master's of Public Health program, but will integrate faculty from across all schools at Tulane, particularly the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, the School of Medicine and the School of Social Work. Scholars will be immersed in an innovative new training initiative focused on building skills to effectively integrate with community organizations and co-develop programs designed to mitigate the effects of violence and, in the long-term, prevent the intergenerational transmission of violence and its health impacts. The initiative will focus on the lives of children throughout New Orleans, with an emphasis on Central City, and places throughout the city where children are most affected by violence.
  4. Dr. Denese Shervington from the School of Medicine and the Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies testified before the Congressional Committee on Oversight and Reform at the first ever hearing on childhood trauma. Dr. Shervington stressed how the impact of natural disasters and climate change must be factored into how the government addresses childhood trauma. She said, “Children need two things: caretakers to make them feel safe and to know their environment is safe. When Katrina happened, all of that was shattered. Children don’t have the language to talk about how they’re feeling and adults are often dependent on that while they themselves are trying to cope”.
  5. Dr. Sarah Gray will study the effectiveness of Mom Power, an existing evidence-based intervention that aims to mitigate the negative impacts of trauma on physical and mental health across generations. This four-year grant from the National Institute of Mental Health will bring the family-focused project to two New Orleans area Head Start centers - Educare and Kingsley House. Gray and her team will collaborate with two VPI faculty, Dr. Stacy Drury and Dr. Charles Zeanah.
  6. The impact of trauma in the lives of New Orleans students has been shown to alter a child’s brain development and other bodily systems, making it difficult for them to learn. In response, the Orleans Parish school board is working to improve support for traumatized students in public schools. Tulane University psychology professor Stacy Overstreet commented that 67 percent of children nationwide have been exposed to an adverse childhood experience.
  7. Dr. Sarah Gray, an assistant professor of psychology at Tulane University, is one of five recipients of a prestigious Early Career Award from the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD). Dr. Gray studies mental health and physiological consequences of exposure to early life stress and trauma, especially in underserved children and their caregivers.
  8. Dr. Catherine Burnette, an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at Tulane University, says that people generally respond to divorce and their own conflict resolution skills in one of two ways. “They either model their parent’s conflict resolution styles, or they become self-aware and intentional about how they want to navigate conflict in their own relationships,” Burnette says. And sometimes, it’s a mixture of the two. In other words, having divorced parents may enhance a person’s ability to be a judge of character, recognize red flags and choose healthy partners.
  9. Charles Figley, a psychologist and director of the Tulane University Traumatology Institute, says thinking too much about traumatic events, whether it's a refugee crisis on the other side of the world or a school shooting in our own country, can make people too anxious or depressed to function in their daily lives. Figley says, "It's a natural response called compassion fatigue. We of course think about ourselves being in such a place, in which someone would suddenly burst in and shoot things up, but if we think about that too much, then it deteriorates our sense of confidence and our sense of trust and our sense of safety."