Staff from Barry and the DEEP Center are pictured (L-R): Susan Schmitz, Alvaro Patino, Navita Persaud, Barry's Maritza Cabrera and Dr. Andrea Allen, Harlee Bustamante and DEEP CENTER Director, Dr. James Shultz.



Academy for Better Communities Program Director, Maritza Cabrera, is pictured with Dr. James Shultz, M.S. (right) and Brian Flynn, Ed.D. (left), both presenters from the University of Miami's Disaster and Extreme Events Preparedness (DEEP) Center.

DEEP Center in the News

  • School of Social Work hosts psychological first aid workshop

Disaster preparedness training was open to Barry and surrounding communities

By: Julianna M. Pietak
The Academy for Better Communities, through Barry University’s School of Social Work, brought disaster response training to more than 50 members of the university and surrounding community, Tuesday, June 10, 2008.

“Safety, Function, Action: Psychological First Aid for Terrorism and Disasters” was presented by the Center for Disaster and Extreme Event Preparedness (DEEP CENTER) out of the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine.

“Psychological First Aid is early intervention for psychologically distressed and overwhelmed survivors,” said DEEP CENTER director and presenter, Dr. James Shultz. “It’s doable by mental health and non-mental health professionals in a variety of settings with almost no equipment.”

The program, which has been presented in more than 10 states and Canada, is a national model, developed and presented by national experts and DEEP CENTER consultants, such as Tuesday’s presenter, Dr. Andrea Allen, assistant professor of behavioral sciences at Barry. The training targets disaster responders or anyone who may be in contact with disaster victims, and provides techniques to help providers make rapid assessments of survivors’ immediate concerns, and to implement supportive activities.

“Safety, function, action is dealing with people who, after a traumatic event may be distressed; to stabilize, mitigate, restore and evaluate,” Shultz said.

In addition to members of the Barry community, the workshop was open professionals throughout Miami-Dade County, and included representatives from Miami-Dade police departments, health organizations, public schools and community organizations.

“The Academy for Better Communities continues to promote strategies for effective preparedness and response to the unfortunate event of a disaster in South Florida, whatever the nature of the disaster may be,” said Maritza Cabrera, program director for the Academy for Better Communities. “We have wonderful partners in this endeavor, such as the DEEP CENTER. We welcome Dr. Shultz’s leadership, current information and excellent resources.”

Barry University’s Academy for Better Communities, which hosted the training, brings the university’s resources – expertise, students and faculty – to solve challenges in local communities. The program is implemented through six neighborhood resource networks that provide resources to collaborating residents and leaders of community businesses and organizations.

The disaster response training was funded by the Florida Department of Health with assistance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is the second in a series, and follows a general training also offered by the DEEP CENTER at Barry last year.

Publications, and more information from the DEEP CENTER are available online at:
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  • Academy for Better Communities hosted session through DEEP Center

School of Social Work opens disaster training to university community

By: Julianna M. Pietak
The School of Social Work’s Academy for Better Communities provides resources and workshops on a variety of subjects – from working with adolescents to grant-writing advice – to the many recipients of its neighborhood technical assistance program.

Tuesday, May 8, however, they opened up one such workshop to members of the university community. Over 25 faculty and staff attended an all-day workshop to learn techniques for disaster and extreme event preparation.

The workshop, although hosted by Barry, was led by the University of Miami’s Disaster and Extreme Event Preparedness (DEEP) Center. Dr. James Shultz, M.S. and Brian Flynn, Ed.D. directed the session. Both have extensive credentials – Flynn is a retired U.S. Surgeon General and associate director of the Center for Traumatic Stress – and have been directly involved in national leadership positions for disaster response.

“This training can be applied to all sorts of disasters that come our way and that are relevant to us,” Shultz said.

Although the course name implies disaster preparation training, the session gave insight into all aspects of disaster situations. Faculty and staff were trained on disaster behavioral health, populations in harm’s way, early intervention strategies and responder issues. Throughout, the session had a broad focus on resiliency issues during and after a disaster.

“We are focusing ourselves today primarily on resilience,” Shultz said. “This is mastery against adversity, to positively adapt yourself in the face of adversity.”

In addition to the members of the university community in attendance, many residents and stakeholders invited by the technical assistance program also gained valuable training from the session. With centers in six Miami-Dade communities, these are skills that will be brought back to neighborhoods throughout Miami-Dade.

“The School of Social Work, under its Academy for Better Communities, is helping communities throughout South Florida become better prepared to sustain and recover from disasters,” said Maritza Cabrera, Academy for Better Communities program director.

The technical assistance program organizes partnerships and centers in Homestead, Little Havana, Little Haiti, Gladeview, Sweetwater and North Miami, providing resources to collaborating residents and leaders of community businesses and organizations. The program regularly plans events such as this training session to educate and organize these stakeholders.

Link to original article:

  • A Profile of the Center for Disaster & Extreme Event Preparedness: Summary of an Interview with DEEP Center Director, James M. Shultz

Dialogue, Summer 2007, Disaster Technical Assistance Center, SAMHSA, Department of Health & Human Services. PDF

  • Research on Disaster and Public Health: Interview with James Shultz MS, PhD

 "All the DRT": The Newsletter of the Child & Family Disaster Research Training & Education Initiative (Volume 4, Issue 1, Winter 2008).  Terrorism and Disaster Center, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. PDF (pages 1-6 of 19)

View the full newsletter at:


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