Traumatology Institute


The Traumatology Institute was founded in 1996 with three main functions: Certification,
Training, and Research. The FSU Traumatology Institute established its Training and
Certification Program in 1998 (Figley, 2003). The Program was originally established as the
Green Cross Registered Traumatologist in response to the Oklahoma City bombing in April of
1995 (Figley, 2004). The Program and Green Cross humanitarian organization was in response
to a needs assessment among Oklahoma professionals. Rather than needing more outside experts
on trauma, these mental health professionals in Oklahoma needed training and certification in
traumatology practice. As an indication of its excellence the Florida State University
Traumatology Institute was named Outstanding Program Award for 2000 by the University
Continuing Education Association at its UCEA ‘s 85th Annual Conference, April 18, 2000 in San
Diego. In 2003 the certification program and the accreditation of training programs was acquired
by the Academy of Traumatology, along with the Green Cross Assistance Program. At the same
time, the Institute retains its research and development functions and continues to support the
Academy. Since 2003 the Institute has engaged in a variety of activities associated with
understanding and helping the traumatized. Since 2004 the research program has included
focusing on resilience and resiliency, starting with a longitudinal study of undergraduate
students. The study tested the resiliency as trait hypothesis. The results were presented nationally
and internationally and has been submitted for publication. Another program of research in
Kuwait (see Al Naser, Ridha, & Figley, 2005) is investigating the phenomenon of “al raha.” It is
Arabic for “personal comfort” or well being. After developing a measure that was indigenous to
the culture of Kuwait (Ridha, Al Naser, & Figley, 2008) the research team completed a national
survey of household randomly selected from census data. The initial findings were presented at
an international conference in Kuwait in May, 2007 and at the American Psychological
Association in August, 2007. The final results are being reported for publication in the near
In 2008 Figley moved the Institute to Tulane University when he joined the faculty as Kurzweg Chair focusing on disaster mental health. Since then, the Traumatology Institute has been involved in four projects through Tulane and its extraordinary global reach. The first focused on combat medic mettle (resilience), funded by the US Army. A three year funded study by the US Army extends the previous research focusing on Pennsylvania National Guard members and their families. The second focused on the coastal areas of southern Louisiana and their adaption to global warming and risking sea levels. The third project focuses on the long-range impact of Hurricane Katrina and the failure of the federal levee system.