IMCRA's current initiative (Colloquium 4) is being organized to capture the voice of local healthcare service providers who want to share what they have learned and experienced in their interactions with survivors. At our last conference in Sendai, during our work in Iwaki, and via recent correspondance it has become clear that this is a very important component of what we can document from the overall 3-11-11 experience. It is also critical archival information for those who may be facing similar challenges in future. Healthcare providers who have regularly been traveling to and serving the more isolated communities in Tohoku, (especially those in Iwate), over the last two years have passed many of the same stresses and challenges as the people they serve. Being involved over the long-term, they have had a better opportunity to build a more intimate relationship with the people they are personally interacting with. This is critically valuable information both for Japan and the rest of the world. There are many short-term approaches to trauma, but the months and years after a disaster can be particularly deadly - and here the personal knowledge of outreach staff is particularly vital. We realize that in documenting these learnings we must be sensitive to the format in which providers want to share their experiences. Thus, the 4th colloquium will also have the features of a workshop as well as of a more academic colloquium.
Our tentative date for this important event is late June, but the planning process has been underway since late February, because it involves the cooperation of multiple partners both in Japan and the US (i.e. the Red Cross, the National Defence Medical College in Saitama, Kentaro Hayashi's group etc.). In bringing this about, one of our particular challenges has been coordinating all the providers who would like to share what they've learned for the future good of their medical colleagues.
In addition to the 4th Colloquium, a great deal of work has been underway to re-organize and expand the IMCRA educational website, making it easier to access and use in the interactive mode. We have acquired a new ISP as well as several highly enthusiastic partners. Following our efforts in Japan in June we will be posting the unique material derived from these workshops on the new IMCRA site along with downloadable references and other supportive material. After that time we will additionally pursue publication of this and past colloquia in a peer-reviewed journal.
Finally, in the US we've experienced some particularly bad local disasters recently; some natural (Hurricane Sandy) some man-made, (The Boston bombing and the Newtown massacre of children). In terms of PTSD and the long-term psychological and physical impact of life-altering negative experiences the survivors in Tohoku, Boston and Newtown are share a common bond. Following the 4th Colloquium, IMCRA will also reach out to the Boston and Newtown families applying some of what was learned in Japan to the greater global good.
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