Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 51, Issue 2, pp 132–138 | Cite as

Rebuilding Sustainable Communities for Children and Families After Disaster: Recommendations from Symposium Participants in Response to the April 27th, 2011 Tornadoes

  • S. Craig RushEmail author
  • Rick Houser
  • Ashley Partridge
Brief Communication


Tuscaloosa, Alabama experienced a significant disaster, an EF4 tornado with 190 mile an hour winds on April 27, 2011. Fifty-two people were killed and more than 5,000 homes were severely damaged. Twelve percent of the city was destroyed and 7,000 people were immediately unemployed. This was a disaster of significant proportion and impacted everyone in the community of over 80,000. In an effort to address the needs of the community after this disaster a symposium was organized with a focus on helping children and families. More than 40 professionals and community members attended the symposium which was led by an international expert on disaster. Recommendations were established and distributed to the community and governmental organizations. The process for planning and implementing the symposium also may serve as a model for addressing future disasters.


Community mental health Crisis intervention Natural disasters Rebuilding Tornadoes 



The authors would like to acknowledge the Department of Educational Studies in Psychology, Research Methodology, and Counseling in the College of Education at The University of Alabama for convening the Sustainable Communities Symposium. The authors also would like to acknowledge Dr. Adenrele Awatona for leading the Sustainable Communities Symposium.

Conflict of interest

We have no known conflicts of interests regarding this paper and certify responsibility for this paper.

Ethical standard

The Institutional Review Board (IRB) of the institutions of the authors of this study deemed the work in this paper, including the recommendation outlined above, did not require IRB review.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Educational Studies in Psychology, Research Methodology, and CounselingThe University of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA

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