C02 -​​ Disaster Psychiatry: Principles and Practice​​ 

Friday, 23 October​​ 

13:30 – 16:45 (3 hrs plus 15 min break)

Frank Sommers*, MD, FRCPC, DFCPA, DLFAPA; Anthony Ng, MD, DFAPA; Janet Ellis, MBBChir, FRCPC; Jodi Lofchy, MD, FRCPC; Andrea Tuka, MD, FRCPC​​ 
Supported by the Section on Disaster Psychiatry​​ 

CanMEDS Roles:​​ 

  • Health Advocate​​ 

  • Leader​​ 

  • Collaborator​​ 

At the end of this session, participants will be able to:​​ 1) Know the principles of disaster psychiatry; 2) Know and be able to apply such skills as psychological first aid, including self-care; and 3) Be able to manage post-traumatic stress and apply evidence-based work toward its prevention.​​ 

When disasters strike, the people affected don’t only need physical care, as the psychological harms can be as, or even more, severe. In recent times, we have witnessed, in Canada and around the world, both natural disasters and human-caused mass violence with increasing frequency. The direct impact of these on victims ripple through their families, witnesses, first responders, whole communities, and even nations, potentially producing significant morbidity and mortality. Distress responses, risk behaviours, and psychiatric disorders, with elevated vulnerability in some populations, need to be expected. This course will cover evidence-based basic principles of disaster psychiatry; acute- and post-acute traumatic stress management; psychological first aid, including self-care; and up-to-date guidelines for the prevention of post-traumatic stress disorder. Our overarching goal is to enable psychiatrists to assume active roles in communities, in planning for disasters, and in coping with disasters’ aftermaths, and to comply with the Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons' mandated roles for doctors in public health emergencies. Our motto is "Disasters are Unplanned, but the Response Shouldn’t Be." This course will use didactic and interactive modes of learning, including handouts and some use of media, such as videos.

References / Références :​​ 


  • Ursano RJ, Fullerton CS, Weisaeth L, et al. Textbook of Disaster Psychiatry. 2nd ed. Cambridge Cambridge University Press; 2017.

  • Stoddard FJ, Pandya AA, Katz CL, eds. Disaster Psychiatry: Readiness, Evaluation, and Treatment. Washington (DC): American Psychiatric Assocication Publishing; 2011.


/ Virtual Conference 2020