Tulane trauma experts available to discuss mass school killing in Uvalde,Texas

May 31, 2022

3 min

Charles FigleyTonya HanselRegardt FerreiraDr. Sharven Taghavi

Charles Figley is the Dr. Paul Kurzwek Distinguished Chair and Professor of Disaster Mental Health at the Tulane University School of Social Work and is among several Tulane experts who are available to comment on trauma in the wake of the mass shooting that left 19 children and two teachers dead at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

Figley, director of the Tulane Trauma Institute and one of the world's leading authorities on trauma associated with mass killings and natural disasters, said the Uvalde community faces what could be years of recovery. This not only includes the families who lost loved ones but first responders, those who survived the attack, the school community and even the town itself. 

The children who survived the shooting are especially vulnerable and will likely need intense counseling, he said. "We worry for this group of children and will join efforts to provide them and those helping them with all the technical and emotional support we can," he said.

He said even children who live outside of Uvalde are likely to experience trauma, especially if they've been tuned into to the news. "They will imagine it happening to them. They will have second thoughts about the safety of their own schools and they will require adult reassurance and real attention to mood and spirit."

Figley said he wasn't surprised to hear about yet another school killing spree but is deeply saddened by it.

"This community joins so many others in the U.S. impacted by violence in their schools," he said. "The once sacred protective ring of love around schools seems to be evaporating like some of our lakes and reservoirs."

Other Tulane experts available for media interviews are as follows:

Leia Saltzman is a professor in the Tulane School of Social Work whose expertise lies in the areas of trauma, community violence and mass disaster. She is interested in community-based research that influences mental health policies and clinical practices with trauma-affected populations in order to promote well-being and build stronger families and more cohesive communities that can withstand the mpact of mass disaster, trauma and violence.

Reggie Ferreira is director of the Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy at the Tulane School of Social Work. His areas of expertise include disaster resilience and international violence prevention. He serves as the editor of the American Psychological Association Traumatology journal, which focuses on resilience practices among traumatized individuals, families and communities.

Tonya Hansel is an associate professor and director of the PhD program at the Tulane School of Social Work. She is an expert in disaster mental health and trauma services. Her experiences in the field have enabled her to measure traumatic experiences and implement systematic recovery initiatives as well as emphasize the importance of individual and community strengths that contribute to recovery.

Dr. Sharven Taghavi is trauma surgeon and public health researcher focused on injury prevention and health disparities. Dr. Taghavi’s research has focused on improving knowledge of why firearm injuries occur and identifying risk factors that can be intervened upon to reduce the risk of involvement in gun violence.

Joseph Constans is a clinical psychologist whose expertise is in the areas of post-traumatic stress syndrome, gun violence and suicide. In his research, he aims to understand how exposure to trauma may cognitively and behaviorally predispose an individual to violence perpetration.

To connect with any of these Tulane experts, contact Barri Bronston at bbronst@tulane.edu or Mike Strecker at mstreck@tulane.edu.

Connect with:
Charles Figley

Charles Figley

Dr. Paul Henry Kurzweg Distinguished Chair and Professor of Disaster Mental Health and Professor of Social Work

Charles Figley is an internationally-known trauma expert, social work professor and head of the Tulane Trauma Institute.

Crisis CounselingCompassion fatigueDisasters and Mental HealthTraumaDisasters
Tonya Hansel

Tonya Hansel

Director of the PhD Program

Hansel is an expert in disaster mental health and trauma services.

Research and StatisticsDisaster Mental HealthTrauma
Regardt Ferreira

Regardt Ferreira

Director of the Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy and Assistant Professor, Editor Traumatology Journal

His main research focus is on disasters, focusing on disaster resilience and complex systems

Dr. Sharven Taghavi

Dr. Sharven Taghavi

Assistant Professor of Surgery

Dr. Taghavi specializes in trauma surgery including gun violence, and is an expert in surgical critical care.

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