Graduate Research Assistants:   Katie Elmhurst

Charles Figley

Dr. Paul Henry Kurzweg Distinguished Chair and Professor of Disaster Mental Health  and Professor of Social Work. Dr. Figley is a world renowned award-winning trauma psychologist, traumatologist, psychoneuroimmunologist, educator, and scholar.  

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David Cabrera (USA) Specialization in combat stress injuries, military family stress and coping, combat medic mettle. He died in combat in 2011. Dr. Cabrera, prior to his death, was the principle investigator of a study of combat medic resilience. Through an innovative methodology co-developed with Figley, 17 medics nominated by fellow medics, in turn identified between 5-20 truisms each that resulted in the first measure of "Medic Mettle" (resilience) nominated by battle-ready and experienced combat medics. Dr. Cabrera was preparing various institutions training combat medics regarding best practices in the supervision of medics based on the study findings.

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DR Russell

Mark Russell (USA) Specializes in military mental health history and policy, combat stress injury. Dr. Russell is a recently retired U.S. Navy Commander and military clinical psychologist with over 26 years of military service. He is an Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom veteran with numerous awards, including the Navy’s Meritorious Service Medal, Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal (with 3 Oak Leaf clusters), Navy Achievement Medal (with 2 Oak Leaf clusters), and the 2006 “Distinguished Psychologist Award” from the Washington State Psychological Association for his persistent efforts to improve military mental healthcare. 


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DR solomon

Zahava Solomon (Israel) Specializes in trauma theory, research, and treatment with special applications to Holocaust and POW survivors and traumatized families. Dr. Solomon is the preeminent social science scholar in Israel as well as former Israeli Army military researcher and former Dean of the leading school of social work in the world, and trauma pioneer. She has won Israel's highest award for social work research and has won most if not all awards for research excellence and relevance. She was instrumental in the Israel Trauma Resilience Panel that led to many publications and reports on the axioms of trauma resilience. She was the keynote presenter at the Second Annual Combat Stress Injury Conference that was sponsored by the Institute.

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DR jane shakespheare-finch

Jane Shakespheare-Finch (Australia)
Specializes in the role of culture on post-trauma outcomes (e.g., African and Australian); the trauma and mental health among detained youth; Post-traumatic Growth in cancer patients; Coping Mechanisms and Daily Experiences of Police Officers.Her lengthy CV describing her far-flung research initiatives and often-cited publications represents one aspect of this trauma scholar. Her sense of humor and adventure is obvious to anyone who knows her. She has been able to study and report on the communities rarely studied from the inside: Disaster workers, law enforcement, asylum seekers, and others directly impacted by trauma. 



Professor Fujioka was the first Institute Scholar, visiting the Institute in 1996 and helped inspire its creation. Like Charles Figley, he was interested in various useful approach to managing traumatic stress and compassion fatigue. In response to Triple Disaster that hit Japan in 2011 he devoted his sabbatical to addressing and helping his fellow Japanese trauma experts and practitioners monitor and managing compassion fatigue from service in the disaster zones. 


Dr. Ashkanani is a full professor in the department of Sociology and Social Work at the University of Kuwait. He rose to that rank because of his groundbreaking research on" al raha."In collaboration with the Institute's investigations of the immediate and long-term impact of trauma on New York and New Yorkers, he was the primary investigator studying Kuwaitis traumatic stress from the invasion of Iraq. Through many discussions with Kuwaitis the approach to studying the impact of trauma was to study the incidence and prevalence of personal contentment or well being. Consistent with the Institute's findings related to New Yorkers, trauma was highly correlated with low sense of mental health.

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DR thyer

Bruce Thyer (USA) Specializes in evidence-based practice, mental health, research methods, and substance abuse. Professor Thyer is one of the most published social work scholars in the world with an emphasis on challenging long-standing truisms. Driven by evidence and facts, he has disagreed with practitioner who swear by their observations but fail demonstrate or suggest the mechanism that explains it that can be tested. This is critically important in work with the traumatized who have been damaged enough. His gift for analysis of phenomenon accounts for his being among the most celebrated peer review journal editors.