Thursday, November 10
Ronald C. Kessler, PhD
Harvard Medical School, USA
The Epidemiology of Trauma and PTSD
Dr. Kessler’s research deals broadly with the social determinants of mental health and illness as studied from an epidemiological perspective. He is the author of over 600 publications and the recipient of many awards for his research, including the Senior Scientist and MERIT awards from the National Institute of Mental Health. He has been rated as the most widely cited researcher in the world in the field of psychiatry for each of the past fifteen years and is a member of both the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Kessler is the Principal Investigator of the US National Comorbidity Survey, the first nationally representative survey of the prevalence and correlates of mental disorders in the U.S., and a Co-Director of the World Health Organization’s World Mental Health Survey Initiative, a series of comparative community epidemiological surveys of the prevalence and correlates of mental disorders and treatment for these disorders in 26 countries around the world. In addition to his epidemiological studies, Kessler is involved in evaluating a number of innovative programs for the prevention and treatment of mental illness in high-risk segments of the population. Finally, Dr. Kessler is the Principal Investigator of the Harvard Medical School site for STARRS-LS, a research program funded by the Department of Defense to study risk and protective factors for suicide among Army personnel.
Dr. Kessler earned his PhD in sociology from New York University in 1975. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in psychiatric epidemiology at the University of Wisconsin before joining the faculty at the University of Michigan in 1979. He was a Professor of Sociology and a Program Director at Michigan’s Institute for Social Research at the time he took his current position at Harvard Medical School in 1994.
Friday, November 11
Elisabeth B. Binder, MD, PhD
Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Germany
Epigenetic Regulation of Stress Genes and their Role in Stress-Related Psychiatric Disorders: FKBP5 as an Example
Elisabeth Binder has studied Medicine at the University of Vienna, Austria and Neuroscience at Emory University in Atlanta, GA, USA. Following a postdoctoral training at the Max-Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich, Germany, she returned to Emory University as an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Human Genetics. In 2007, she was appointed as research group leader at the Max-Planck Institute of Psychiatry within the Minerva Program of the Max-Planck Society.
Since August 2013, Elisabeth Binder is the director of the Department of Translational Research in Psychiatry at the Max-Planck Institute of Psychiatry. She also holds an appointment as an Associate Professor in the Dept. of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University School of Medicine. Her main research interests are the identification of molecular moderators of the response to environmental factors, with a focus on early trauma and gene x environment interactions. She studies how such factors influence trajectories to psychiatric disease or well-being to ultimately use this information for novel prevention and treatment strategies.
Saturday, November 12
Mark van Ommeren, PhD
World Health Organization, Switzerland
Supporting Vast Numbers of People in Communities Affected by Adversity: Lessons Learned (So Far)
Dr Mark van Ommeren is Public Mental Health Adviser in the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at the World Health Organization (WHO). He functions in WHO as global focal point for mental health and psychosocial support in emergencies.
This position includes advising and supporting all relevant agencies in providing the best possible social and mental health supports to people affected by war and other disaster. He has played a key role in initiating and drafting the most popular documents currently used in emergencies worldwide.
He was initiator and co-chair of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Task Force for Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings, representing guidelines for emergencies written and endorsed at head-of-agency level by 27 agencies representing key UN agencies, the Red Cross/Red Crescent movement and leading non-governmental organizations.
He also led the drafting of the mental health standard in the Sphere Handbook (2004, 2011), which is worldwide the most widely used guide in emergencies across disciplines.
He has a particular interest in action related to “building back better”, that is converting short-term emergency-related interest in mental health into momentum for long-term improvement, as described in Building Back Better: Sustainable Mental Health Care after Emergencies (WHO, 2013).
He is also member of the WHO mhGAP team where he is focal point for psychological interventions as well as for depression, trauma and loss. His recent work focuses on the development and testing of simplified “low-intensity” psychological interventions to be used in communities affected by adversity.
He was the recipient of the 2002 ISTSS Chaim Danieli Young Professional Award for excellence in service or research in the field of traumatic stress. He regularly co-authors articles in leading public health journals (h-index is 36 in Google scholar).
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