Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Two Haiti CISM Deployment Opportunities

In the last 24 hours, I've received two requests for CISM responders to work in Haiti and/or with Haitian-American communities.  If you are CISM trained and interested in helping in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, please read the two letters below:

Opportunity #1:  Medishare deployment to Haiti
Dear Colleagues,

We are organizing a planned mental health support team for Haiti with the first deployment potentially scheduled for February 2, 2010 with rotations following thereafter. The mental health teams will be partnering with Project Medishare, a non-government organization that has been in Haiti since 1994 providing health and other much needed services.

Project Medishare staff will be our on the ground support and will be providing the lodging, sustenance, transportation, security, and translation for our team.  Mental health teams will provide support at Project Medishare's sites. The teams will be working with children and their caregivers so I am looking for a wide range of skills. Psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, and other mental health professionals, and clergy. If you are NOT a mental health professional but have responded to a National disaster in the past, please provide me with your information. Deployment will be for 4-5 days.

What I am hoping to do is have enough people interested to be able to send people down in rotation with teams overlapping throughout for several weeks. I will also designate a lead person/coordinator for each team when I can't be there.  Project Medishare has private planes that have been donated for their use that leave from Miami daily to Haiti. We are currently working with airlines and other organizations to get team members to Miami. At this point we do not foresee a cost to the team member for transportation. If you know of other mental health professionals who have expressed an interest in deployment who have been trained in a disaster/crisis response model (ICISF-CISM, NOVA, or TLC) please forward this email to them.


For those wishing to GO TO Haiti to volunteer time/skills please e-mail:
1.  Full name
2.  Contact #
3.  Home address
4.  Date of birth
5.  E-mail address
6.  Languages spoken
7.  Title/ profession/degree
8.  Specialty/skills
9.  Country of citizenship
10. Passport # with exp date
11. Mental Health/Medical License #
12. Crisis response training/deployment history
13. Availability
14. ICISF Membership
15. ICISF Certificate Of Specialized Training (COST), preferred but  not required
16. Medishare is advising you should have a current Tetanus Shot and  Hepatitis “B” shot

Samantha Madhosingh, Psy.D.
Project Medishare in Haiti

Your point of contact shall be:
Samantha Madhosingh, Psy.D.

Opportunity #2:  Green Cross Deployments

Memo:  To All current and former ICISF members
RE:   Opportunity to join Green Cross and be available to deploy to assist with Haitian Earthquake event
Date:  January 27, 2010
From:  Dr. Charles Figley, Founder Green Cross
             Mary Schoenfeldt, Board President Green Cross

Many ICISF members have expressed interest in deploying to assist victims and communities affected by the earthquake in Haiti.  As you know ICISF is NOT primarily a deploying agency.  Deployment however is a core function of Green Cross Academy of Traumatology.  Another core function is providing certification in Field Traumatology through a variety of levels.  Much more information on the levels of certification and the over mission of Green Cross can be found on the website.

Green Cross and ICISF have always had a collaborative relationship and in fact, the majority of Green Cross founders, board members and members either are or have been ICISF members.  Green Cross got it’s beginning in response to the OKC Bombing when it became evident that our field needed a new entity to Certify Field Traumatologists and then maintain a mechanism to deploy them when they are needed.  Dr. Charles Figley was the visionary force behind the formation of Green Cross and actually unveiled the new organization at an ICISF World Congress in Baltimore.  Since then Green Cross has sent teams to New York after 9-11, Sri Lanka after the Tsunami and New Orleans after Katrina and to countless other communities that needed our services.

With the urgency of the need in Haiti and other communities affected by the earthquake, Green Cross has now begun to deploy teams to a variety of settings, some in the United States and not on the ground in Haiti.  One example is we are working with a labor union in Florida who has asked us to provide services and support to their members and their staff who have lost family members.  Our initial assessment is that we could be in for a large and long deployment possibly with this organization and with others.  As you can see Green Cross deployments have a range of locations, conditions and clients.  The one constant, is that Green Cross provides Compassion Fatigue relief and Field Traumatology services where needed.  Our deployments range from a few days to 2 weeks.  If the assignment is longer than 2 weeks, we will rotate in a fresh team.

The backbone of Green Cross is in our philosophy.  First, we are a Compassion Fatigue and FIELD Traumatology team and will come where we are needed when asked.  We also ask our host agency to pay the expenses of our volunteers (through reimbursement quite frankly may take some time).  One assigned role a Green Cross team member will take on is that of Compassion Fatigue Specialist for OUR team.  Their job is to ensure we are doing as we tell others about healthy self care.  We also organize using an Incident Command Structure so we can easily fit into local emergency management.

So how does that impact you? If this piques your interest, how do you get involved?  First, go to to see what we are doing.  Secondly, follow these simple steps:

In addition to having a current ICISF Membership, become a member of Green Cross, if you are not already. The membership fees are a low $65 if you want a basic membership and only $95.00 if you also want to receive the Journal of Traumatology as a benefit of membership.

Look for the section called Certifications and click on that.  You will see a number of certifications available.  The one we are most interested in for this effort is Field Traumatologist.  You will see requirements for certain courses to be completed as well as other criteria.  GREEN CROSS AND ICISF HAVE A RECIPRICAL AGREEMENT TO ACCEPT EACH OTHERS COURSES.  IF YOU HAVE ONE OF ICISF’S CERTIFICATE OF SPECIALLIZED TRAINING, you have met many of the basic requirements to be certified.  You will see a Certification fee of $25.00 … For the Haiti response Green Cross will waive that fee for ICISF members.  IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A CERTIFICATE OF SPECIALIZED TRAINING BUT HAVE COMPLETED ICISF COURSES, THOSE WILL BE ACCEPTED ALSO.  As part of the application process you will be asked to fax copies of certificates and licenses (if you have them).  Please read the website to get more information.

We will also be asking those people interested in deployment… either within their own region, the US or internationally, to complete 3 FEMA courses if you have not already done so.  Those courses are IS 7 – Citizens Guide to Disaster, IS 100 – Incident Command System and IS 700 – NIMS – National Incident Management System.
To further support your knowledge of field work you also will be asked to take a Just in Time Training (JITT) on line with an overview of Compassion Fatigue and Field Traumatology.  We will provide the link to that training when you indicate your interest to be involved.

The question has been asked of how do CISM skills within ICISF differ from CISM skills of Green Cross.  They differ only in the addition of Compassion Fatigue and Field Traumatology with an arsenal of skills for psychological first aid and disaster stress management.  In many typical ICISF team assignments, the “incident” is over and the goal is to put people back to work.  With a Compassion Fatigue and Field Traumatology focus, the “incident” is still on going and the goal is to keep people working until it IS over.  The melding of ICISF work and Green Cross work extends the continuum of services and support available from beginning to end of an incident.

Please go to the Green Cross website at for more information or email

Thank you for doing what you do… caring for people who are hurting and working to help them manage and recover.

Please consider sharing your skills through Green Cross. The response to the Haitian earthquake will be going on for an extended time.  The need for our services will span the globe and not only be centered within the devastated country of Haiti.  We expect to have teams in Haiti, in Miami and other locations.  Please join us.

Dr. Charles Figley, Founder
Green Cross Academy of Traumatology

Mary Schoenfeldt, Board President,
Green Cross Academy of Traumatology
Deputy IC, Green Cross Haiti Earthquake Response

If any Quarterbackers out there join these deployments, please pop me an email and let me know -- I'd love to offer you this space to share your experiences.


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Naomi Zikmund-Fisher
is a clinical social worker, former school Principal and a Crisis Consultant for schools and community organizations. You can learn more about her at
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