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 (T&C) 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 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in 1995 led Dr. Figley to establish the Green Cross, a global humanitarian organization focusing on mental health restoration. The Green Cross was established in response to a needs assessment among Oklahoma professionals. The needs were associated with mental health and crisis intervention services associated with the bombing in Oklahoma City. This terrorist act resulted in killing 168 people, including children. Rather than needing more outside experts on trauma, these mental health professionals in Oklahoma needed training and certification in traumatology. Within a year more than 1000 Oklahomans were trained by volunteer Green Cross instructors from across the US and Ireland. Approximately 168 were the first to be certified (originally they were registered).  

The Florida State University Traumatology Institute was named as the Outstanding Program Award by the University Continuing Education Association. The Award was presented at the UCEA Annual Conference, April 2000 in San Diego. Among the reasons the Award was given to the Traumatology Institute included working with community-based organizations specializing in trauma and disaster training and services.

In 2003 the Institute certification program and the accreditation of training programs was acquired by the Green Cross Academy of Traumatology, along with the Green Cross Assistance Program (Figley, 2003; 2004). At the same time, the Institute retained 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 (Karaırmak & Figley, 2017). The study tested and confirmed the trait resilience hypothesis.

Another program of research in Kuwait (see Al Naser, Ridha, & Figley, 2005) was 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. Several publications reported the findings regarding a deeply religious society and perceptions of trauma, including their own (c.f., Chapman, Figley, Askanani., & Al Naser, 2009).

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. This was in collaboration with several local and international environmental/disaster groups.

The Institute was funded to study resilience of combat medics (the Combat Medic Mettle Study). The study included several quantitative surveys of combat medics stationed both in the US and in Europe in 2010-2012 (see Chapman, et al, 2012; . Figley, et al, 2015; Pitts, et al, 2013;Elnitsky, et al, 2013;

The third major study is ongoing. The focus is on the medical records and interviews and surveys of 1600 former military, especially the Pennsylvania National Guard. Several papers were published this year (2017). was a three-year, DoD-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 is ongoing and focuses on the long-range impact of Hurricane Katrina. Among the observations, the consequences of people the failure of the federal levee system. Harvard, Dartmouth, New York University, Michigan collaborating with the Tulane Center for the Study of Displaced People at Tulane University. The study is designed to coordinate the efforts of the five different university teams; the effort is to gather up all the information that is vital in understanding the immediate and long-term consequences of a disaster such as Katrina. In gathering the data, the consortium of five universities will be able to look at the data as they are coming in, share impressions, findings, and hypotheses in a systematic and useful media. This is a 5-year NICHD study will go to the year 2020 and a meeting to preview the findings and collaborate on the best use of the data for solving the problems we found in our collective studies.

The fifth major study is also ongoing and involves forming and study an expert panel on torture trauma treatments. The purpose of the panel study is to provide useful information and related resources (patient education) for survivors of trauma, their families, and those who care for them.


  • Boscarino, J. A., Adams, R. E., and Figley, C. R. (2005). A Prospective Cohort Study of the Effectiveness of Employer-Sponsored Crisis Interventions after a Major Disaster. International Journal of Emergency Mental Health, Volume 7, 9-22.
  • Boscarino, J. A., Figley, C. R. and Adams, R. E. (2003). Fear of Terrorism One Year after the Terrorist Attacks in New York City: Implications for Public Mental Health.     International Journal of Emergency Mental Health, 5:4, 199-209.
  • Boscarino, J. A., Figley, C. R. and Adams, R. E. (2004). Evidence of Compassion Fatigue following the September 11 Terrorist Attacks: A Study of Secondary Trauma among Social Workers in New York. International Journal of Emergency Mental Health, 6:2, 98-108.
  • Boscarino, J., Figley, C. R., Adams, R. E., and Galea, S. (2004). Mental health services use 1-year after the World Trade Center Disaster: Implications for mental health care. General Hospital Psychiatry, 26, 346-358.
  • Boscarino, J., Figley, CR., Adams, RE., Galea, S., Resnick, H., Fleischman, AR., Bucuvalas, M., and Gold, J. (2004).  Adverse Reactions Associated With Studying Persons Recently Exposed to Mass Urban Disaster. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 192:8, 515-524.
  • Chapman, P. L., Baker, M. Cabrera, D., Varela-Mayer, C., Elnitsky, C., Figley, C., Thurman, R. M. Mayer, P. (2012). Mental Health and Stigma and Barriers to Care: Key Findings from U.S. Army Combat Medics Deployed with Line Units. Military Medicine, 177:3, 270-277.
  • Chapman, P. L., Cabrera, D., Varela-Mayer, C. Baker, M., Elnitsky, C., Pitts, B. L., Figley, C. R., Thurman, R. M., Chli-Dean, L., Mayer, P. (2012). Training, deployment preparation, and combat experiences of deployed health care personnel: key findings from deployed U.S. Army combat medics assigned to line units. Military Medicine, 177(3), 270-277.
  • Chapman, P. L., Elnitsky, C., Pitts, B. L, Figley, C. R., Thurman, R. M., & Unwin, B. (2014). Mental health, help seeking, and stigma and barriers to care among 3-and 12-8 month post-deployed and never deployed US Army combat medics. Military Medicine, 179:8S, 55-62.
  • Chapman, P., Figley, C. R., Askanani, H R., Al Naser, F. (2009). Measuring Mental Health Following Traumatization: Psychometric Analysis of the Kuwait Raha Scale Using a Random National Household Data Set, the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 79(2), Apr 2009, 221-227.
  • Figley, C. R. (2003). Fishing Lessons for Treating the Traumatized: History of the Traumatology Certification Program. Traumatology, 9:4, 187-192.
  • Figley, C. (2004). From Necessity to Reality: The History, Philosophy, and Programs of the Green Cross Foundation. Traumatology, 10:1, 55-56.
  • Figley, C. R. (2004a). El programa de certificion en psicotraumatologia como respuesta al abordaje del tratamiento del estres provocado por el terrorismo a nivel nacional e internacional. Revista de Psicotrauma, 3:2, 36-39.
  • Figley, C. R., Pitts, B. L., Chapman, P. & Elnitsky, C. (2015). Female Combat Medics, 134-146. In E.C. Ritchie and A. Naclerio (Eds). Women at War: Medical and Psychological Issues. NY: Oxford University Press.
  • Figley, C. R., Chapman, P., Ashkanani, H., Al Naser, F., & Donnelly, E. (2010). Well-being in a Deeply Religious Society: The First Household Survey of Kuwaitis. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 80:4, 593-600.
  • Figley, C. R. & Figley, K. R. (2001). September 11th Terrorist Attack: Application of Disaster Management Principles in Providing Emergency Mental-Health Services.Traumatology, 7:4, 143-151.
  • Figley, C. R., Figley, K. R. & Norman, J. (2002). Tuesday Morning September 11, 2001: Figley, C. R. and Figley, K. R. (2002). The Green Cross Project: A model for providing emergency mental health aid after September 11. Phi Kappa Phi Forum, 82:2, 42-48.
  • Giannantonio, M., van der Kolk, B., & Figley, C. R. (2003). Psicotraumatologia epsicologia dell'emergenza. Ecomind, 2: 2, 193-199.
  • Green Cross Projects Role as a Case Study in Community-Based Traumatology Services. Journal of Trauma Practice, 1:4, 13-36.
  • Karaırmak, O. & Figley, C. R. (2017) Resiliency in the Face of Adversity: A Short Longitudinal Test of the Trait Hypothesis, The Journal of General Psychology, 144:2, 89-109.  DOI: 10.1080/00221309.2016.1276043. See
  • Al Naser, F., Ridha, H., and Figley, C. R. (2005). Adopting a Strength-based, Indigenous-focused Approach to Studying Kuwaiti Post-traumatic Stress. Digest of Middle East Studies (DOMES), 14:2, 1-10.
  • Ospina-Kammerer, V. and Figley, C. R. (2003). An Evaluation of the Respiratory One Method (ROM) in Reducing Emotional Exhaustion Among Family Physician Residents. International Journal of Emergency Mental Health, 5: 1, 29-32.
  • Pitts, B. L.; Chapman, P. L.; Safer, M.A; Unwin, B.; Figley, C. R.; Russell, D. W. (2013). Killing versus witnessing trauma: Implications for the development of PTSD in combat medics. Military Psychology, 25:6, 537-544.
  • Elnitsky, C., Chapman, P. L., Thurman, R. M., Pitts, B. L., Figley, C. R., & Unwin, B. K. (2013). Gender differences in combat medic mental health services barriers and stigma. Military Medicine, 179: 7, 775-784.
  • Ridha, H., Al Naser, F., & Figley, C. R. (2008). Developing a Measure of Contentment in an Arab Muslim Country: Implications for Cross Cultural Research in Social Work. European Journal of Social Work, 11:1, 1-11.

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