APA's Disaster Response Network (DRN) is building a comprehensive, national database of its members.
The database contains approximately 1,800 records of APA Members who have completed American Red Cross disaster mental health training or who have an interest in volunteering for disaster services. The APA DRN office is now collecting data that will enable it to search for psychologists based on criteria such as type of disaster experience, language skills, expertise and location.
"If, for example, we need psychologists who are fluent in Spanish, we can search the database for individuals with that skill," says Marguerite Schroeder, director of the DRN in APA's Practice Directorate.
The database will also help the DRN office disseminate time-sensitive information quickly, especially when called on by the Red Cross to help with a large, national disaster, such as the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
"If people want to get involved, now is a good time, especially before there's a disaster," says Schroeder. The database will be continually updated and enhanced.
The APA DRN, created in 1992 by APA and the Red Cross, works collaboratively with the Red Cross, fire departments, and police and emergency rescue personnel to dispatch licensed psychologists to aid disaster victims and relief workers on-site. Approximately 2,000 psychologists have received disaster response training and are DRN members.
--J. DAW HOLLOWAY