It is happening again – mass shootings in the United States. There have been three such tragic incidents in the past couple of weeks, and a quick search online shows a long list of such incidents. Many people are trying to understand why these occur and how they can help their children understand what they may see or hear on the evening news.

Nova Southeastern University (NSU) is home to multiple experts who can provide insight and guidance related to mass shootings – below are brief bios on NSU’s experts, all of whom have experience working with print and broadcast media (including Zoom interviews):

MASS/SCHOOL SHOOTINGS 

  • Scott Poland, Ed.D., a professor at Nova Southeastern University’s College of Psychology, is a nationally recognized expert on school crisis, youth violence, suicide intervention, self-injury, school safety, threat assessment, parenting and the delivery of psychological services in schools. He is a founding member of the National Emergency Assistance Team for the National Association of School Psychologists and serves as the Prevention Director for the American Association of Suicidology. He has led multiple national crisis teams following numerous school shootings and suicides and has assisted schools and communities after terrorism acts in New York, Washington, D.C. and Oklahoma. Poland served as the team leader of the crisis response team sent to Jefferson County Public Schools during the aftermath of the Columbine High School shootings. Dr. Poland has presented more than 1,000 workshops in all 50 states and has testified before Congress as a Subject Matter Expert.

  

CHILD AND ADULT PSYCHOLOGY/HOW TO COPE WITH TRAGEDIES

Child Psychology:

  • Ralph E. (Gene) Cash, Ph.D., ABPP, is a licensed and board certified (ABPP and NCSP) psychologist, professor in NSU’s College of Psychology. He is also the director of NSU’s School-related Psychological Assessment and Clinical Interventions clinic, former president of the Florida Association of School Psychologists (FASP), and former president of the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). Dr. Cash is a past president of the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP); a former Florida representative to the NASP Delegate Assembly; and a former Southeast Regional Delegate Representative to the NASP Executive Council. His current research areas include suicide prevention, training of psychology students using simulated patients, fostering critical thinking in elementary school students, determining competencies necessary for doctoral level school psychologists, and assessing effects of public policy advocacy training on advocacy behaviors. 
  • Jan Faust, Ph.D., is a professor at NSU's College of Psychology. Her research interests include child-clinical and pediatric psychology: child abuse (sexual and physical) and neglect; child treatment outcome research; PTSD in children and adolescents; child adjustment to acute and chronic medical conditions; lifespan psychosis. She is the director of NSUs’ Child and Adolescent Traumatic Stress Program.  As such, she can address how to talk to your children about such tragedies.

The NSU Child and Adolescent Traumatic Stress Program (CATSP) provides children and adolescents (birth–18) who are experiencing post-trauma symptoms with specialized psychological services to help them gain greater satisfaction in their lives. In addition to the availability of services for children and adolescents, the families of these traumatized children may also obtain services. Family forensic services are available for children and their families who are divorcing or dissolving their parenting partnership.

 

Adult Psychology:

  • Steven Gold, Ph.D. is a professor in NSU’s Department of Clinical and School Psychology. His research interests and area of expertise are in the general area of psychological trauma, with a particular emphasis on posttraumatic stress disorder, dissociation, complex trauma, the psychological difficulties of adult survivors of prolonged child abuse (PCA), and hypnotherapy aimed at increasing trauma survivors’ coping, adaptive functioning, and resilience. He is Director and Founder (1990) of NSU’s Trauma Resolution & Integration Program (TRIP), which provides psychological services to adult survivors of all types of traumatic events, trains doctoral students in clinical practice with trauma survivors, and conducts ongoing research on trauma, dissociation, and related topics. The major form of treatment at TRIP for survivors of prolonged child abuse is Contextual Therapy, an approach developed by Dr. Gold that is based on the premise that most PCA survivors suffer not only from abuse traumatization, but also from growing up in circumstances that did not adequately transmit to them the intricate skills needed to effectively navigate the complexities of adult living.