About Us

Betty Pfefferbaum, MD, JD
Program Director

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Betty Pfefferbaum is George Lynn Cross Research Professor Emeritus and former chairman (1996-2014) of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center College of Medicine. She is a board-certified general and child psychiatrist, a lawyer, and member of the Oklahoma Bar. 

Dr. Pfefferbaum has two decades of experience in disaster clinical work; public mental health programming; education and training; research; and intervention development and testing. For over 20 years, Dr. Pfefferbaum has provided clinical services to Oklahoma City bombing survivors and their families. As a member of the Board of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services at the time of the Oklahoma City bombing, Pfefferbaum was instrumental in organizing school-based children’s services. She contributed administrative assistance to state mental health authorities after the September 11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina. Her national leadership in disaster mental health is exemplified by service on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Biodefense Science Board (NBSB) from 2011 to 2014, chairing the NBSB Disaster Mental Health Subcommittee from 2009 to 2011, and membership on the U.S. State Department Civilian Psychiatry Response Team since 2001. She has served and serves on editorial boards of journals related to disaster health and public health preparedness.

Dr. Pfefferbaum has received external support to provide education and training to multiple agencies and disciplines in child-focused disaster mental health research (NIMH, NINR, and SAMHSA) and to create the CART Assessment Survey (CDC and Department of Homeland Security through the START Center) and administer the tool (Avedis Foundation). Additional funding for disaster research and service has come from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Commonwealth Fund, Project on Death in America, Oklahoma City Community Foundation, Presbyterian Health Foundation, and National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism for Oklahoma City bombing work; USAID for work related to the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombing in Kenya; and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to assess military children and spouses.   

Dr. Pfefferbaum has authored over 225 journal articles and numerous other publications. Her team conducted early studies of disaster media effects which created a foundation for future scholarship, and she was recognized with the first annual Frank Ochberg Award for Media and Trauma Study of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies in 2004. For the past 20 years, the team has raised and explicated service delivery issues. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry asked Pfefferbaum to lead author its disaster practice parameter. In recent years, Dr. Pfefferbaum’s team has conducted a rigorous review of the child disaster mental health intervention evidence base resulting in 10 publications. In addition to her own research, she has published papers on appropriate research methodology in application to child disaster studies.


Rose L. Pfefferbaum, PhD, MPH
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Rose Pfefferbaum is Faculty Emeritus at the Maricopa County Community College District where she spent 40 years creating, evaluating, standardizing, teaching, and managing instructional programs. As an economist with a specialty in public health and interests in diversity and vulnerability, Dr. Pfefferbaum brings important analytic skills to TDC’s work in community resilience.  

Dr. Pfefferbaum was the lead developer of the Communities Advancing Resilience Toolkit (CART) Assessment Survey. She is responsible for its field-testing and implementation with community organizations and the diverse populations they serve, including, to date, 11 major applications with city- and university-wide samples, in poverty neighborhoods, among volunteer responders, among school principals from 188 coastal counties across the country, and in 22 communities in four countries in Central America. She helped create the CART and CART-Youth Interventions and led initial CART Intervention applications.

Dr. Pfefferbaum has developed curricula for and trained affiliated volunteers in preparedness and resilience, volunteer management, and emergency management for special populations;  built partnerships with service providers, public and private organizations, and educational facilities; and advocated for those with special needs.


Richard L. Van Horn, PhD

Richard Van Horn is President Emeritus, Regent's Professor Emeritus, and Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Oklahoma; former President and Professor, University of Houston; former Provost and Professor, Carnegie-Mellon University; and former RAND research scientist. Dr. Van Horn has years of experience teaching strategic planning and leading strategic planning efforts in non-profit organizations as well as expertise in management science, information technology and systems, project management, organizational behavior, and cognitive psychology.

Dr. Van Horn was instrumental in the creation of the CART and CART-Youth Interventions and materials and provides leadership in the delivery, evaluation, and refinement of these interventions and materials. He provides direction on strategic planning, project management, and quality improvement and also delivers training and presentations and assists in preparing training protocols, curricula, and materials.


 

Pascal Nitiéma, MD, MS, MPH
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Pascal Nitiéma is a research biostatistician with the Terrorism and Disaster Center. Dr. Nitiéma has a medical and public health background and holds a masters of science degree in epidemiology. His expertise and areas of interest include psychometrics and the effects of mass trauma on child mental health.

Dr. Nitiéma has been instrumental in refining the CART Assessment Survey and in the analysis of the results. He has provided crucial support to TDC’s examination of the evidence base of child disaster mental health interventions. 




Natalie Griffin, MPH
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Natalie Griffin has worked with the TDC as a research assistant since 2012. Ms. Griffin holds a masters of public health degree from the University of Oklahoma with an emphasis on public health preparedness and terrorism response. She received her bachelor of arts degree with special distinction in anthropology from the University of Oklahoma.

Ms. Griffin has previously worked with the University of Oklahoma Women’s Outreach Center and Oklahoma's Medical Reserve Corps, and she currently volunteers with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and LifeShare Oklahoma to bring awareness to organ donation, as she received a life-saving double-lung transplant in 2013.