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 future.
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 five projects through Tulane and its extraordinary global reach.
The first was a study of the mental health consequences of Louisianans living in the coastal areas of southern Louisiana and their adaption to global warming and risking sea level
The second one was a study of the resilience of combat medics (the Combat Medic Mettle Study), funded by the US Army.
The third major study was a three year Army-funded study extends the previous research combat medics by focusing on Pennsylvania National Guard members’ medical and mental health record that started in 2015.
The fourth study focuses on the long-range impact of Hurricane Katrina and the failure of the federal levee system and part of a 5 year NICHD study that includes three other research groups. The study will go to the year 2020.
The fifth major study is ongoing and involves forming and study an expert panel on torture trauma treatments for the purpose of providing useful resources for survivors of trauma, their families, and those who care for them.