The Disaster Coping Resources Team 

Dr. Brian Gerrard, Institute for School-Based Family Counseling, Stuart, Florida, USA

​Brian has a PhD in Sociology, from the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia and a PhD in Counseling Psychology, from the University of Toronto. Brian is an Emeritus Associate Professor with the University of San Francisco. He helped develop the University of San Francisco’s masters MFT program and for 14 years served as MFT Coordinator. He is an experienced administrator and has been Chair of the USF Counseling Psychology Department three times. Currently, he is a member of the Board, University of San Francisco Center for Child and Family Development. The Center, co-founded by Brian, has for years managed the largest longest-running School-Based Family Counseling program of its type in the USA. Its Mission Possible Program has served more than 16,000 children and families in over 100 Bay area schools. Brian is also Chair of the Institute for School-Based Family Counseling and Symposium Director for the Oxford Symposium in School-Based Family Counseling. His publications include the books: Learning by Doing: Developing Teaching Skills; Interpersonal Skills for Health Professionals and School-Based Family Counseling: An Interdisciplinary Practitioner's Guide. Currently, Brian is a Core Faculty member in the Western Institute for Social Research in Berkeley, California where he is Co-Director of the Doctoral Program. He has an active research project developing Computer Content Analysis programs for use in School-Based Family Counseling. He lives in Stuart, Florida with his wife Olive Powell and more cats than he is willing to admit to.  

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Dr. Daniela Dominguez, Counseling Psychology Department, University of San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA

Dr. Daniela Domínguez is a licensed psychologist, licensed clinical counselor, and author of several articles in academic and scientific journals. She has a special interest in disaster response, social justice concerns, bilingual/bicultural training, multiculturalism, human sexuality, and immigration issues. As a mental health first responder, Dr. Domínguez has provided counseling services to families impacted by hurricane Harvey, the 2017 wildfires in Sonoma County, and the 2017 earthquakes in Mexico. In addition, she has a history of providing counseling and therapy services in a variety of settings, including a community clinic, a child guidance center, a detention facility, a rape crisis center, a homeless shelter, two university counseling centers, as well as her own private practice.

Dr. Belinda Hernandez-Arriaga, Counseling Psychology Department, University of San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA

Belinda Hernandez Arriaga is a Faculty Coordinator for the Masters In Counseling MFT program at the San Jose Campus. Belinda has a doctorate in Education, and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with eighteen years experience working in community mental health, with a specialization in child trauma and Latino Mental Health. Belinda has extensive experience in county mental health where she worked in Santa Clara County Juvenile Hall mental health and San Mateo County Pre to Three High Risk Infant Mental health team. She also spent a significant time working at University of California Berkeley, Tang Social Services team where her focus was working with student families. She spent eight years as adjunct faculty at Santa Clara University. She co founded and is part of the Latino Advisory Council in Half Moon Bay. Belinda has done extensive work on the coast working with farmworker families and their children, in her community practice her focus is on immigration trauma, u-visas, asylum and has worked with refugee children of San Mateo County. She is Founder and Chief Executive Director of Ayudando Latinos A Soñar (, a Latino cultural arts, education and social justice program dedicated to working with rural youth and families living on coastside. Her current research is focused on understanding the emotional, psychological and traumatic experiences that impact undocumented and mixed status Latino youth. Belinda’s work also focuses on understanding the cultural arts as a healing space for this community of children. Belinda is committed to social justice advocacy and multicultural practices in counseling that gives voice to underground communities and expand indigenous cultural practices in the field of counseling. She and her husband have three young daughters and live in the coastal community of Half Moon Bay.

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Dr. Emily Hernandez, Division of Special Education and Counseling, California State University, Los Angeles, California, USA

Dr. Emily Hernandez is a full time professor at the Charter College of Education at California State University, Los Angeles. She is the Program Coordinator in the School-Based Family Counseling program, a graduate training program that integrates the marriage and family therapy degree with the school counseling credentials. She has extensive experience as a K-12 administrator and counselor in the field of School Counseling and Child Welfare and Attendance. Her areas of expertise are dropout prevention and intervention, school attendance, school climate and safety, bullying, student engagement, community partnerships, and school-based family counseling.  She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with experience working in private practice, agency, and government settings with family systems, victims of violent crime, trauma, and children with school-related problems. She has served as a crisis team responder for various schools in Los Angeles and provided consultation after major crises incidents, including the San Bernardino, California, school shootings for Fox Channel 11 News.  She also serves as a mental health consultant for Los Angeles County Office of Education and as a School-Based Family Counseling consultant for school districts in Los Angeles. She is a Board Member for the National Dropout Prevention Center, Institute for School-Based Family Counseling, and the Friends of Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE). 

Dr. Nyna Amin, Department of Education Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa

Nyna Amin is associate professor and distinguished teacher at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. A former Fulbright scholar, she teaches Discourses and Research Methodologies in Education to Masters students and coordinates support for doctoral candidates. She has published papers in the fields of higher education, medical education, teacher education, and gender, and has co-edited a special issue in the journal ‘Alternation’ on higher education each year since 2012. She is co-founder and co-editor of the journal, ‘African Perspectives of Research in Teaching and Learning’. She also co-edited the book " Disrupting higher education curriculum: Undoing cognitive damage".

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Dr. Yasemin Özkan, Department of Social Work, Work, Hacettepe University, Ankara, Türkiye

Dr. Yasemin Özkan is a Professor in the Department of Social Work. Her research interests include: School Social Work, Bullying and Violence, Children and Family Welfare, Family Counselling, Integrative Psychotherapy, Evidence based Practice, Women's Studies.

Dr. Huda Ayyash-Abdo, Department of Psychology and Education, Lebanese American University, Chouran-Beirut, Lebanon

Dr. Huda Ayyash-Abdo is an associate professor of psychology in the Department of Social Sciences at LAU Beirut.

Over the course of her career, she has taught a variety of courses in both psychology and counseling education. She has created seven courses both graduate and undergraduate. At the undergraduate level, she has taught Introduction to Psychology, Child Psychology, Exceptional Child, Abnormal Psychology, Theories of Personality, School Counseling, Counseling Psychology, Positive Psychology, Psychology of Trauma and Senior Study. At the graduate level, she has taught courses in Theories and Techniques of Counseling, and Counseling Children and Adolescents, and supervised internships in relevant settings to monitor the practical application of such skills. Dr. Ayyash-Abdo supervised a number of M.A. theses, and served as guest committee member on PhD dissertations. Ayyash-Abdo’s research interests have been informed by the psycho-social environment of Lebanon and its influence on the young population. As such, her current research include: anxiety among young population, the manifestations of mental disorders cross-culturally, and the restoration of well-being.

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The DCRT is composed of a collaboration of educators, practitioners, university faculty, and services professionals committed to providing information, tools, and resources to be used as coping resources in the aftermath of a disaster. The Disaster Coping Resources Team is an international team with members from the USA, Canada, Turkey, and South Africa.

Established in 2017

The DCRT was formally established as a Research and Intervention team by the Oxford Symposium in School-Based Family Counseling as a direct response to the increasing number of major disasters affecting communities locally, nationally, and internationally. 

Our Goal

The main goals of the DCRT are as follows:
1. Disseminate disaster coping resources to communities in need 
2. Collection of data on existing disaster coping resources 
3. Formation of Rapid Response Teams (RRT) to disseminate coping resources

Rapid Response Teams

Rapid Response Teams are university led multi-collaborative teams trained to go out after a major disaster and providing support and relief to a community. This component of the DCRT is currently being developed after a model RRT with the University of San Francisco.