Within the next few months, 16 state psychological associations and university departments affected by Hurricane Katrina will receive a total of $87,049 in a first wave of grants out of a total of $100,000 APA has set aside to assist in recovery efforts. Many of the psychology departments that received the grants-which were announced in November-will use them to replace books and journals lost to the storm, while the state associations will use the funds to assist affected members and to run continuing-education workshops.
"Many of the associations are putting on disaster-relief training programs," says Michael Sullivan, PhD, former assistant executive director for state advocacy in APA's Practice Directorate. "These grants may have a positive impact for a large number of people."
The department grants may also have broad effects-helping psychology students, interns and professors regain their footing after the storm, says Deborah McCall, a program manager in APA's Science Directorate.
The grant recipients are:
Louisiana State University (LSU) School of Allied Health Professions. Hurricane Katrina damaged LSU's Health Services Center, as well as many of the books and journals within the building. APA funds will go toward replacing books and other training materials.
LSU Department of Psychiatry. The psychology section of LSU's Health Services Center Medical School will use its funds to replace assessment materials and books destroyed by the hurricane.
Nicholls State University (NSU). NSU, located in Thibodaux, La., has enrolled a total of 700 displaced students from other universities, and about 175 of those students are taking psychology classes. The NSU psychology department will use the grant to provide additional course offerings for those students.
Southeastern Louisiana University. The university extended its fall semester a week because of hurricane-related closings earlier in the year. The grant will help fund the salaries of psychology graduate assistants during the extension.
University of Southern Mississippi, Gulf Coast. Flood insurance covered university-owned books and equipment lost to the hurricane, but not journals and academic volumes owned privately by faculty. With APA funds, psychology professors at the university will be able to replace some of the books they lost to the storm.
Southern University of New Orleans. The psychology department will replace computers, printers and software damaged by the hurricane.
Tougaloo College. Tougaloo College, located in Mississippi, sustained roof damage to almost every building on campus, due to high winds and toppling trees. The psychology department will use their funds to replace damaged journals, textbooks and office furniture.
Tulane University. The Department of Psychiatry and Neurology will replace lab animals lost to the hurricane.
Louisiana Psychological Association (LPA). LPA will use its grant to provide a three-day track of disaster relief training at its annual convention, including tuition assistance to psychologists from affected areas of Louisiana.
North Carolina Psychological Association (NCPA). NCPA will run four Red Cross training programs for its members, who will assist people who evacuated to the state.
Georgia Psychological Association (GPA). GPA is creating a Web site that will help hurricane evacuees find psychologists willing to provide services free of charge. GPA will also use the grant to train psychologists to be more culturally competent when counseling members of ethnic-minority groups affected by the disaster.
Florida Psychological Association (FPA). FPA will use their funds to train psychologists in disaster response, especially in rural areas of the state, where many hurricane evacuees landed.
Texas Psychological Association (TPA). Roughly 44 percent of the 125,000 hurricane evacuees in Houston are likely to stay there, according to a survey by the Harvard School of Public Health. TPA will use the grant to train members to help these new residents adjust. The association will also reach out to evacuees with information on how to find psychologists willing to volunteer their services.
Arkansas Psychological Association (ArPA). ArPA will use its grant to provide continuing-education programs to displaced psychologists who have relocated to the area. They also will use funds to provide direct financial assistance to members in need of mental health services.
Kentucky Psychological Association (KPA). KPA will train its members in cultural competence and disaster relief so they can be better equipped to assist the roughly 6,800 people who evacuated to Kentucky in the wake of the hurricane. They also plan to tape the trainings for dissemination to members in rural areas.
Mississippi Psychological Association. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, 37,900 Mississippi residents need crisis counseling, and MPA plans to use its grant to train members to meet that need. In addition, MPA members will counsel emergency workers in the state.
- S. Dingfelder