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Psychiatric News
Volume 40 Number 20 page 36-36

One way psychiatrists can maximize their contribution when working with disaster survivors is to receive training in "first response" emergency medicine, according to Saundra MaassRobinson, M.D.

"We in psychiatry need to look at disaster response differently," said Maass-Robinson, who went to Indonesia earlier this year to treat survivors of the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami (see story beginning on page 10).

Training in emergency medicine would enable psychiatrists to get immediate access to patients and treat injuries related to specific disasters, she said, while simultaneously addressing patients' mental health problems. "For psychiatrists to be the most useful, we've got to integrate ourselves into each level of care," she said.

Though Maass-Robinson has not yet received emergency medical training, she plans to do so in the near future. "On the ship, I could have been doing more to help patients than just working as a psychiatrist," she said.

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