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State of the Science: The Health and Mental Health Consequences of Catastrophic Events (PSY 2902 / VUL 2806)State of the Science: The Health and Mental Health Consequences of Catastrophic Events (PSY 2902 / VUL 2806)

Sandro Galea, MD, DrPH, discusses the public health consequences of the 9/11 attacks on post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and the interrelation between mental health and physical health. He asserts that research on the health consequences of large scale traumatic events has advanced significantly in the past 10 years, and that it is now possible for public health workers to gain a much better understanding of the medium and long term consequences of traumatic events, which in turn can improve planning and mitigation efforts.

Estimated Length: 1 hour(s)


Name View Schedule
Online Lesson1. Pre-Test -
Online Lesson2. State of the Science: The Health and Mental Health Consequences of Catastrophic Events -
Online Lesson3. Post-Test -
Online Lesson4. Satisfaction Survey -


Course Objective:

The purpose of this course is to:

  • To summarize ten years of research on mental and physical health consequences following the 9/11 attacks

Key Messages:

  • Science moved from individual level experiences to population level; 9-11 increased understanding of the breath of psychopathologies after trauma, how health changes after a disaster and that mental health and physical health go together.
  • In addition to psychopathologies, scientific  evidence indicates changes in immune-function affecting physical health 
  • Population Resilience, a Hallmark of 9-11; to promote resilience, non-traumatic stressors must be recognized and addressed.
  • The role of media: (1) may transmit the consequences of the event, and (2) may exacerbate risk for psychopathologies, particularly in persons previously exposed to the horrific event.
  • Particular demographic groups are at higher risk for PTSD
  • The challenge for public health is how to use this information to develop systems and processes to mitigate consequences in groups at high risk for PTSD.


Public Health Emergency Preparedness Capabilities:

  • Responder Safety and Health
  • Public Health Surveillance and Epidemiologic Investigation
  • Community Recovery


Preparedness and Emergency Response Learning Center (CDC):

  • 2.1 Manage information related to an emergency.
  • 2.2 Use principles of crisis and risk communication.
  • 3.2 Contribute expertise to the development of emergency plans.
  • 4.2 Employ protective behaviors according to changing conditions, personal limitations and threats

Learning Objectives:

At the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • List 3 advancements in research of health consequences following the 9/11 attacks
  • Explain why resilience can be considered a central finding in all 9/11 health consequences research
  • Describe 4 major trends in the 9/11 health consequences research
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