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.
MEET THE DISASTERSHOCK RESEARCH TEAM
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.