COVID-19 Taskforce

The mission of the APA Interdivisional Task Force on the Pandemic is to enable psychologists with expertise in trauma  share knowledge and resources about the psychological impact of the pandemic,  how we can cope with it, and how we can minimize deleterious impact. These resources, including human resources, will be available to help other psychologists, first-line responders, caregivers, families, and children who are impacted by this trauma.

Participating and Contributing Divisions: 

  • Lead: Division 56
  • Division 10
  • Division 20
  • Division 32
  • Division 39
  • Division 42
  • Division 50

An interdisciplinary task force comprised of psychologists with expertise in trauma is working to create new resources and amalgamate available resources not already available elsewhere that makes use of the expertise from our joint divisions.

Task Force Admin Group: 

  • Charles Figley, PhD- charlesfigley(at)gmail(dot)com
  • Melissa Wasserman, PsyD- meliwasserman(at)gmail(dot)com
  • Ann Chu, PhD- ann.chu(at)ucsf(dot)edu 

Workgroups are focusing on the following areas.

The International Whole Person Approaches workgroup is collaborating both locally and globally with researchers and practitioners to provide international resources on working with individuals affected by the Covid-19 pandemic from an integrative approach that recognizes the multiple dimensions of traumatization: biological, psychological, social, and spiritual: The Whole Person.
POC : Ilene Serlin - iserlin(at)ileneserlin(dot)com

International Whole Person Approaches Resources

The Elderly and their Caretakers workgroup is focusing on the needs and priorities of seniors during Covid-19, as well as on those of their caretakers and the agencies that provide services to the elderly. From a perspective emphasizing whole-person, Trauma Informed Person-Centered approach, there will be a focused attempt to address and learn about the experiences during Covid-19 of seniors who have suffered and endured prior traumatic situations in their lives. Understanding how these past experiences contribute to the difficulties and concerns, as well as to adaptive coping and resiliencies exhibited in reaction to the pandemic will enhance effective interventions with individuals and on a programmatic level.

Co-Chairs: Irit Felsen & Patricia Bach

The Professional Support for Psychologists workgroup is developing resources for psychologists working with patients who have been directly or indirectly affected by COVID-19, including front-line health care workers, and those who are providing support to front-line COVID-19 workers. This work group within the APA COVID-19 Task Force will assess the needs and preferred forms of support of psychologists and other mental health providers, and will develop and guide the implementation of needed peer-to-peer professional support for managing secondary traumatic stress and compassion fatigue which can affect professional work and personal lives. The support will include virtual discussion groups and educational presentations designed to enhance mental health professionals' personal wellness and to facilitate the delivery of psychological and other mental health services that are tailored to the unique needs and circumstances of front-line workers and other persons directly affected by the pandemic.

Co-Chairs: Melissa Wasserman & Julian Ford jford(at)uchc(dot)edu

The Crisis Intervention Teams/Trauma Consultation working group's mission is to provide resources varying depending on crisis stage to individuals and organizations in emergent crisis affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly emergency/crisis responders (e.g., fire dept, police dept, EMTs), other essential workers, and mental health providers registered through state crisis registries.  The group is also working on the development of a new framework of providing crisis management and emergency services to meet the unique needs of the current COVID-19 pandemic and evaluating current models of crisis intervention services.  In addition, the working group is reviewing systemic barriers, gaps, and resources currently available.

Co-Chairs: Falu Rami (drfalurami(at)gmail(dot)com) & Melissa Wasserman (meliwasserman(at)gmail(dot)com)

Other committees under development are focused on the following areas:

Hospital Workers, Patients, & Families
Co-Chairs: Maureen O'Reilly-Landry (mo135(at)columbia(dot)edu) & Victor Welzant (welzant(at)icisf(dot)org)

Support for Children & Families
Co-Chairs: Rachel Ann Wamser (WamserR(at)umsl(dot)edu) & Sandra Rafman (sandrarafman(at)gmail(dot)com)

Higher Ed Students
Co-Chairs: Ayli Carrero Pinedo (ayli.carreropinedo(at)und(dot)edu), Emily Lutringer (elutringer(at)gmail(dot)com), Rita Rivera (ritamrivers(at)gmail(dot)com) , &  Denise Carballea (dcarballea88(at)gmail(dot)com)

Immigrants & Refugees and Marginalized Populations
Co-Chairs: Falu Rami (drfalurami(at)gmail(dot)com) & Monica Indart (monica.indart(at)gmail(dot)com)

Research Initiatives
Co-chairs: Leia Saltzman (lsaltzman(at)tulane(dot)edu)  & Rodasveta Dimitrova (dimitrova(dot)radosveta(at)gmail(dot)com)

Intimate Partner Violence
Co-chairs: Lenore Walker (drlewalker(at)aol(dot)com), Rita Rivera (ritamrivers(at)gmail(dot)com), Denise Carballea (dcarballea88(at)gmail(dot)com)

Webinar Series: Trauma Psychology in the World of the Coronavirus

Given the severe nature of the Coronavirus and the effects on our patients, families and colleagues, Division 56 will be conducting a series on "Trauma Psychology in the World of the Coronavirus". You may find a listing of the webinar series here

Let Your Division 56 Community Help You

During the best of times, we thrive when we have communities to rely on. But in times of adversity, turning to our communities is especially critical. Please remember that Division 56 is one of the communities you can turn to during this stressful time, and anytime, and you are encouraged to take full advantage of it. Our members include leading experts in first response, tending to mental health needs of first responders, teaching and training, telehealth, caregiver health, dealing with stress within families, and so much more.

You can connect to your Division 56 community in many different ways: the listserv (for members only), on Facebook, Twitter, or email.

We will get through this together.