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Our research team’s goal is to study how disasters affect people around the world, and determine how they cope with the emotional and social consequences of disaster-related stress and trauma. Because children are particularly affected by disasters, we want to provide evidence-based coping tools for parents and educators so that children can be supported in school-based settings.
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Dr. Brian Gerrard
Dr. Gerrard has a PhD in Sociology, from the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia and a PhD in Counseling Psychology, from the University of Toronto. Dr. Gerrard is an Emeritus faculty member of the University of San Francisco where he developed the masters MFT program and for 14 years served as MFT Coordinator. His orientation emphasizes an integration of family systems and problem-solving approaches. He is an experienced administrator and has been Chair of the USF Counseling Psychology Department three times. Currently, he is a member of the Board, Center for Child and Family Development, Western Institute for Social Research. The Center, co-founded by Dr. Gerrard, has for years managed the largest longest-running School-Based Family Counseling program of its type in the USA. Its Mission Possible Program has served more than 20,000 children and families in over 70 Bay area schools. Dr. Gerrard is also Chair of the Institute for School-Based Family Counseling and Symposium Director for the Oxford Symposium in School-Based Family Counseling.

Currently, Dr. Gerrard is the Chief Administrative Officer and a Core Faculty Member in the Western Institute for Social Research in Berkeley, California. He is senior editor of the book School-Based Family Counseling: An Interdisciplinary Practitioner’s Guide (Routledge, 2019). Brian lives in Florida with his wife Olive, and more cats than he is willing to admit to.
Dr. Ilene Naomi Rusk

Dr. Rusk trained as a neuropsychologist and neuroscientist in England and Canada and then moved to the US and founded the Brain and Behavior Clinic and is now the Director of the Healthy Brain Program in Boulder, CO. She completed 3 post-doctoral fellowships in the areas of neuropsychology and neuropsychopharmacology in England and Canada, and has authored numerous publications on brain and behaviour relationships. Her first fellowship was working with children with multiple disabilities. More recently, while training in a functional medicine approach to reverse cognitive decline with neurologist Dr. Dale Bredesen, she developed a team-based program to integrate functional and personalized brain health coaching with trauma healing to optimize cognitive and psychological health, and prevent cognitive decline. Dr Rusk consults with people all over the world, and her integrative clinic in Colorado offers neuropsychological testing, trauma therapy, cognitive training and personalized brain health coaching.

Dr Rusk has incorporated many embodied trauma healing therapies into her practice as she sees trauma as a root cause to many physical and mental disorders. Her unique model has woven science, spirituality and mindfulness into her clinical practice for over 35 years.  She is the Director of Community Medical Education for Grillo Health Information Resource Center, is a clinical consultant and on the research team of DisasterShock, an international organization dedicated to healing distress in children and families after natural and human- made disasters. Dr Rusk is on the Scientific Board of Sharp Again, preventing and treating dementia. 


Dr. Rusk's work blends personalized integrative healthcare and psychological wellness into a model for brain health and mental wellbeing across the lifespan. Her priorities are to be a humanitarian and a good mother.

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Dr. Olufunke
Olufunsho Adegoke
Olufunke Olufunsho Adegoke is a Lecturer in the Sociology Department, Faculty of the Social Sciences, University of Ibadan. She has degrees in Sociology (B.Sc; M.Sc and Ph.D) and Health Social Work (M.S.W) from the University of Ibadan. A Medical Sociologist whose areas of interest are Maternal and Child Health; Reproductive Health; Mental Health; Gerontology and Research Ethics. She holds administrative positions aside from Teaching at the university. Also, privileged to have worked in different research capacities such as Programme Assistant, Co-Principal Investigator, and Principal Investigator on various funded projects by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UK AID, Nigerian Academy of Science (NAS), Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) and German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) on infectious diseases.

An awardee of Teaching and Research Assistantship at the Postgraduate College, University of Ibadan; Visiting Scholar at KU Leuven, Belgium, and National Institute of Health (NIH) Trainee on NeuroAIDs Supplements Program. A certified trainee in the Promotion of Vaccine Demand organized by GAVI, WHO, UNICEF, and US CDC. She is a member of the International Sociological Association (ISA), Nigerian Anthropology and Sociology Association (NASA), Nigerian Association of Social Workers (NASOW), Disastershock Global Response Team, and a Fellow of the Institute for French Research in Africa (IFRA). She has published works both locally and internationally. 
Dr. Emilia Suviala
Emilia Suviala is a psychologist and writer based in Palo Alto, California. She was born and raised in Finland and prior to moving to the States she worked over a decade as a clinical psychologist at the Helsinki University Hospital, the largest university hospital in Finland, where she evaluated and guided children and their parents with a variety of psychiatric needs. She has specialized in developmental and child psychology and she has worked as a grant researcher in research projects studying parent-child attachment and the development of emotion understanding. In addition, she has explored the development of mentalization in early interaction. At the moment Emilia is interested in the interfaces between psychology and art such as play as a potential space and the possibilities to understand the creative process by combining the concepts and phenomena from psychology and meditation.

In addition to being a disaster shock team member and a mother of two Emilia reads piles of fiction and non-fiction books covering a variety of subjects (most recently on quantum physics and eastern religions), cultivates compassion through meditation and writes fiction. She is currently putting finishingtouches on her debut novel while working on her next story taking place in Silicon Valley.
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