Preparing for and responding to natural disasters, including lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina, will be the focus of several sessions at the 2010 Annual Meeting in New Orleans, the city devastated by flooding that followed Katrina in 2005.
New Orleans psychiatrist Edward Foulks, M.D., Ph.D., says New Orleans residents had different reactions to Katrina. “Many people have major scars from Katrina and its aftermath. People with preexisting schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or depression often developed PTSD. Some could not take [the hardships] and presented a clinical challenge to the system, but many people came out of the experience with a new role in life. It brought out the best in them.”
Disaster sessions at the annual meeting include a workshop on reorganizing the New Orleans health delivery system chaired by Elmore Rigamer, M.D., a workshop on disaster preparedness and rebuilding chaired by Erich Conrad, M.D., and a symposium on lessons learned from Katrina featuring Ronald C. Kessler, Ph.D., Kenneth Thompson, M.D., Anthony Speier, Ph.D., Howard J. Osofsky, M.D., and Joy D. Osofsky, Ph.D.