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Disaster Response Committee: History and Current Activities

On behalf of the Disaster Response Committee, we would like to share some information about our work over the past couple of years. Although IPA had a Disaster Response Coordinator in the past, that position had been vacant for several years prior to the formation of this committee in January 2022. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, it highlighted the need for a committee dedicated to supporting IPA members and the Iowa public in times of crisis or disaster. 

Since January 2022, we have worked to establish the scope and goals of the committee and explored how we can best serve IPA. We identified free training resources and encouraged members to obtain training in Psychological First Aid. For psychologists who are able to take a more active disaster response role, we provided information on volunteering with the Red Cross in the area of disaster mental health. The Red Cross continues to have a crucial need for volunteers who are licensed mental health providers. 

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National Gun Violence Awareness Day - History and Local Events

As you may be aware, June is National Gun Violence Awareness Month. More specifically, the ninth annual National Gun Violence Awareness Day will take place on June 2nd, 2023. 

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The Psychology of Mass Shooters

Violence in communities from mass attacks is a growing problem in the United States. Since the beginning of 2023 the number of incidents of gun violence in the United States against groups of individuals has risen significantly, with an average of more than one gun violence act per day. As of this writing, there have been 130 incidents of mass shootings in 29 states (for specific information about incidents this year see:

In January, 2023, the IPA Disaster Response Committee urged IPA members to attend a 3-hour training to learn from psychologist Dr. Peter Langman about The Minds, Lives and Motivations of Mass Attackers. Along with 2000 others, I participated in the training hosted by the Pennsylvania Psychological Association and the Council of Executives and Provincial Psychological Associations (CESPPA) organization. Dr. Langman shared his research on the dynamics of mass violence. While he believes that “no one profile for a perpetrator” exists, he shared some of the knowledge he has gleaned from his research into perpetrators of mass violence. On behalf of the Disaster Response Committee, I am sharing with you some of what he taught us.

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Psychological First Aid as a First-line Disaster Response Strategy

Flowstate Health is a behavioral health services company operating in Iowa and Nebraska. We are a collaborative team of mental health professionals providing medication evaluation and management, psychotherapy, crisis evaluation, and other services for adults and seniors. Full- and part-time positions available for onsite and telehealth work for licensed providers.

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In Remembrance of Victims of Gun Violence on the 10th Anniversary of the Sandy Hook Mass Shooting

Today, December 14th, marks the 10-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. The shooting took place in Newtown, Connecticut, and resulted in the deaths of 6 adults and 20 children between the ages of 6 and 7 years old. It marks the deadliest mass shooting at an elementary school in U.S. history. The deadliest school shooting in history occurred at Virginia Tech University on 4/16/2007 and resulted in 33 dead and 17 injured. Horrifically, mass shootings have continued to increase over the past several years and take place in a variety of locations beyond the school setting. 

More recently was the mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado Springs that has been deemed a hate crime targeting the LGBTQ+ community and resulted in the deaths of five people and dozens injured. A recent Press Release from APA noted, “The mass shooting in Colorado Springs followed the horrific attacks at the University of Virginia, a drumbeat that continues without fail. In November alone, there have been at least 27 reported mass shootings with more than 40 victims dead.”

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National Preparedness Month

Did you know that September is National Preparedness Month? In 2004, September was declared National Preparedness Month to encourage Americans to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses, schools, and communities. September was chosen because September is the peak of the Atlantic hurricane season and is historically linked to the September 11th attacks in 2001. 

About the Disaster Response Committee: The IPA Disaster Response Committee was created in January 2022 to increase involvement by Iowa psychologists in disaster-related mental health issues. Initial committee efforts included establishing the committee, identifying goals and scope, and establishing partnerships with local disaster-response organizations as well as relevant IPA committees. Specifically, providing Iowa psychologists with training and education in disaster mental health is a key initiative of the committee. Over the past nine months, we have provided resources to members following the Winterset tornado, the Ames Cornerstone Church shooting, and the Uvalde shooting. To be more prepared for future events, the DRC compiled and published a comprehensive resource list covering several types of disasters. 

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