Episode 38: A Discussion with New Jersey’s Mental Health Experts on Disaster and Terrorism

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One component of counterterrorism that is rarely talked about is the psychological impacts of terrorist attacks and other forms of mass violence. The Disaster and Terrorism Branch (DTB) of the Department of Human Services’ Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services is the recognized mental health authority for disaster and mental health services in New Jersey. In this episode, Director of DTB, Dr. Adrienne Fessler Belli, and the Director of Training for DTB, Steve Crimando, discuss how their mission fills this extremely important void.

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DR. ADRIENNE FESSLER BELLI

Director of Disaster and Terrorism Branch | New Jersey Department of Human Services

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Dr. Adrienne Fessler Belli is a psychologist and licensed clinical social worker with over 40 years of experience providing health and trauma related mental health services. She currently serves as the Director of the Disaster and Terrorism Branch of the NJ Department of Human Services’ Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services and is responsible for overseeing and coordinating the disaster behavioral health preparedness, response and recovery efforts statewide. She has managed several disasters and terrorism events including New Jersey’s FEMA-funded mental health response to the 9/11 World Trade Attack, Tropical Storm Irene, and Superstorm Sandy. She holds a Master's of Social Work degree from Rutgers University and Ph.D. in Psychology from Walden University.


STEVE CRIMANDO

Director of Training, Disaster and Terrorism Branch, New Jersey Department of Human Services

Steven M. Crimando, MA, BCETS, CHS-V is the Director of Training for the Disaster & Terrorism Branch of the New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health & Addiction Services. He is an internationally-recognized expert in the prevention, response and recovery from active shooter incidents and other forms of mass violence. He has developed violence prevention and response programs for government agencies, hospital and healthcare systems, and multinational corporations. Mr. Crimando has published many professional articles on this topic and serves as an expert to the media and the courts in the area of crisis intervention. His major contributions in this area include collaboration on the New York City Police Department-Counter-Terrorism Division: “Active Shooter: Recommendations and Analysis for Risk Mitigation” project, and the National Criminal Justice Training Center: “Comprehensive Active Shooter Incident Management (CASIM)” curriculum funded by U.S. Department of Justice. He has provided high-level active shooter and mass violence response training programs to professional and academic audiences in business, military and first responder organizations.

Mr. Crimando is a Board Certified Expert in Traumatic Stress (BCETS), a Certified Trauma Specialist (CTS), and holds Level 5 Certification in Homeland Security (CHS-V). He is a Diplomate of both the American Academy for Experts in Traumatic Stress, and National Center for Crisis Management. He is certified by the New Jersey Police Training Commission as a Police Instructor, and is a member of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), the National Tactical Officers Association (NTOA), the International Counter-Terrorism Officers Association (ICTOA), and Society for Police and Criminal Psychology.

With more nearly 30 years of experience as a frontline crisis responder, both as an EMT and disaster behavioral health specialist, he has served as the mental health specialist on police hostage response teams, and is a mental health specialist on several regional law enforcement Critical Incident Response Teams, as well as a member of the advisory board for the Morris County (NJ) Active Shooter Rescue Task Force.


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