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International terrorism trauma expert to present workshop at Olivet

Posted: Aug 27, 2013


An increased emphasis on emergency preparedness began in Kankakee County after the 1999 Amtrak disaster. (Photo courtesy of NTSB)


Dr. Rony Berger has led many emergency relief and medical teams during major disasters, including Hurricane Katrina, terror attacks in Sri Lanka, and earthquakes in Turkey and Japan.

Dr. Rony Berger will present a workshop on “Fostering Psychological Preparedness and Healing in the Aftermath of Critical Incidents for Everyday Heroes” in Olivet's Chalfant Hall on Saturday, September 21, 2013, 7:45 a.m. to 3 p.m.

A senior clinical psychologist and a family and child therapist, Dr. Berger is an internationally recognized expert in dealing with the psychological preparation for and aftermath of terrorism and other major disasters. He is on the faculty of emergency medicine at Ben Gurion University and also the Stress, Crisis and Trauma program at Tel Aviv University. He is a fellow in Psychology Beyond Borders, a humanitarian organization for alleviating the psychological suffering in the aftermath of traumatic events.

A collaborative effort, this workshop is sponsored by Olivet, Riverside Medical Center, Presence St. Mary’s Hospital and Kankakee Community College.

“Working together to present this workshop is strengthening bonds in our community that would be valuable in the event of a crisis or disaster,” said Teresa Ciaccio, Riverside’s emergency preparedness specialist and trauma registrar. “Dr. Berger has a definite sensitivity for the needs of those who respond to a disaster or crisis and provides many tools for them to use in dealing with the aftermath of their experiences.”

This event is open to all first responders and everyday heroes, including physicians, nurses, firefighters, law enforcement officers, social workers, mental health professionals, chaplains, emergency management professionals, as well as undergraduate and graduate students and others.

Blending lecture with experiential exercises, simulations and videos of field work, this workshop focuses on immediate interventions in the aftermath of critical incidents. Participants will learn about:
• identifying the phenomenology of individuals who have been exposed to critical incidents and those who are at risk for developing post-traumatic disorders
• psychological first aid techniques and immediate intervention strategies to help survivors better cope during the initial stages of the disaster
• self-maintenance skills for emergency workers

“This is a valuable opportunity for professionals to experience practical training with a recognized expert in the trauma associated with disasters,” said Dr. Craig Bishop, criminal justice professor at Olivet. “He has walked other professionals through the aftermath of major critical incidents, both in the United States and abroad. We are fortunate to have Dr. Berger available to our community in such a proactive effort.”

Cost for the workshop is $25 per person, due at the time of registration, which includes CEU credits plus a continental breakfast and box lunch. For those who are seeking continuing education and participation credits, this workshop offers five hours of credit.

Register online here. For more information, contact Dr. Craig Bishop at 815-928-5410 or

Acres that comprise Olivet's beautiful, park-like campus in Bourbonnais, Illinois