Tribute to Susan E. Hamilton, PhD

Susan E.Hamilton, PhDThe American Psychological Association (APA) Disaster Response Network (DRN) mourns the loss of our colleague and friend Susan E. Hamilton, PhD, who died on Friday, April 2, 2010. Dr. Hamilton was highly regarded in the disaster mental health community for her leadership at the national headquarters of the American Red Cross and her close collaboration with the APA DRN program.  

Dr. Hamilton directed the American Red Cross disaster mental health activity from 2000 to 2007. She reached out to DRN members to conduct training and to respond in the aftermath of numerous disasters, including the 9/11 terrorist attacks and Hurricane Katrina. She was instrumental in bringing about the creation of a new disaster mental health training and tapped DRN members to write course material. 

Dr. Hamilton chose to pilot the new American Red Cross Foundations of Disaster Mental Health training at the 2005 APA Convention in Washington, DC. For several years during the State Leadership Conference she presented the latest thinking and research in disaster mental health services to DRN Coordinators. Dr. Hamilton also secured the inclusion of the DRN program in national drill exercises with Red Cross, federal agencies, and state governments.

Dr. Hamilton joined APA in 1984 and was a member of Division 56 - Trauma Psychology. She is described by her colleagues as a smart, capable and gentle person. Many considered her a mentor. Dr. Hamilton will be greatly missed.