Massachusetts Medical Society: Psychological First Aid: Healthy Recovery Now and in the Aftermath of the COVID-19 Public Health Crisis

Psychological First Aid: Healthy Recovery Now and in the Aftermath of the COVID-19 Public Health Crisis

Psychological First Aid

Course Overview
The coronavirus pandemic has impacted physicians, and other first responders physically and emotionally. The daily occurrence of very sick and contagious patients, sheltering behind critically required PPE, the necessity to quarantine from family and friends after working long shifts, and the lack of time to mourn exact a toll. The continuing trauma of this pandemic on mental health can be eased by Psychological First Aid in response to experiencing and living in this demanding time on the front lines.

Sponsored by the Massachusetts Medical Society and its Committee on Mental Health and Substance Use and Committee on Preparedness, and the Massachusetts Psychiatric Society.  


James Baker, MD, MPH, Chair, MMS Committee on Mental Health and Substance Use
Dr. James Baker is dedicated to preventing addiction and overdose through teaching, writing, and advocacy. He currently practices in the management of severe pain and other complex symptoms for hospice in-patients suffering from terminal illness and teaches about pain management and substance use disorder in both academic and community settings. Dr. Baker is affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.  Dr. Baker received his Master of Public Health degree in epidemiology as a Mellon Foundation Scholar at Johns Hopkins and completed a Fellowship through Harvard Medical School at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Mass General Hospital in Pain and Palliative Care. Dr. Baker also served in the U.S. Army with service in Vietnam during 1972 and 1973.  Dr. Baker is a physician consultant to the Massachusetts Consultation Service for the Treatment of Addiction and Pain (MCSTAP), a state funded service that provides guidance, free of charge, to all physicians and nurses in Massachusetts who care for patients with addiction or complex pain. He also serves as the Chair of the Committee on Mental Health and Substance Use with the Massachusetts Medical Society.

John C. Bradley, MD, Colonel (Retired), US Army
Dr. John Bradley serves as the Chief of Psychiatry and Deputy Director for Mental Health for the VA Boston Healthcare System. He is appointed as Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Bradley joined the VA in 2011, after retiring from active duty in the United States Army where he served as Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry and Vice Chair at Uniformed Services University. Dr. Bradley serves as the Massachusetts representative to the American Psychiatric Association Area 1 Council and the APA Assembly.  Dr. Bradley earned his M.D. from the Uniformed Services University and completed his residency in Psychiatry at Letterman Army Medical Center in San Francisco where he served as Chief Resident. He is board certified in Psychiatry.  Dr. Bradley has provided expert testimony to the US Congress and served on numerous scientific advisory committees. Currently, Dr. Bradley is co-chair of the VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline for the Management of Suicidal Behavior. Dr. Bradley has a particular passion for teaching healthcare administration, public health advocacy, and leadership to colleagues and trainees. He has published extensively on the treatment of combat trauma and PTSD, the management of suicide, and on the American Revolution.  Dr. Bradley’s awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, the Iraq Campaign Medal, the Order of Military Medical Merit and numerous teaching awards to include the Lieutenant General Claire Chennault Award for outstanding teaching faculty, and the National Capital Consortium Psychiatry Residency Teacher of the Year Award which was renamed the “John Bradley Award” in 2011 in his honor. He was also the recipient of the Stuart T. Hauser Award from Harvard Medical School in 2019.

Gregory Lewis Fricchione, MD 
Dr. Gregory Fricchione is the Director of the Chester M. Pierce, MD Division of Global Psychiatry, and Director of the Division of Psychiatry and Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), and Director of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine. He is also a Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and an Associate Chief of the Department of Psychiatry at MGH.  Dr. Fricchione received his medical degree from the New York University (NYU), and completed his postgraduate training in psychiatry at NYU-Bellevue and in psychosomatic medicine at MGH.  Dr. Fricchione is an active researcher, is the co-author of four books on topics including general hospital psychiatry, catatonia, the connection between depression and heart disease, and stress physiology, and has published more than 130 journal articles. He also authored the book Compassion and Healing in Medicine and Society on brain evolution and the relationship between separation and attachment, and its importance for medicine and the human experience.

Jessica Isom, MD, MPH
Dr. Jessica Isom is a board-certified community psychiatrist and Clinical Instructor in the Yale Department of Psychiatry. She received her MD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she also received her MPH with a focus on public health leadership. She primarily works in Boston, MA as an attending psychiatrist at Codman Square Health Center as well as the Boston Medical Center Department of Psychiatry in the Psychiatry Emergency Services. She has continued to work with the Yale Department of Psychiatry residency program as a faculty track consultant leader for the Social Justice and Health Equity Curriculum. Her teaching highlights the history of racism, interpersonal challenges in interracial interactions, frameworks for health equity and provides a language for naming and responding to racism at multiple levels. She has been involved in teaching, coordinating and leading advocacy efforts in health care at the institutional, state-wide and national level. Dr. Isom currently serves as a member of the American Psychiatric Association Assembly representing Early Career Psychiatrists, where her contributions center on illuminating the need for health equity in organized psychiatry. She has also been elected to the Councilor Position for the Massachusetts Psychiatric Society where her focus on social justice and health equity provides an opportunity to improve the care provided to marginalized populations in the state. She is currently chairing an advisory group on Structural Racism for the Psychiatric Services Journal working directly with the Editor in Chief. She has also been recently appointed to the Editorial Board of the Community Mental Health Journal as a key stakeholder in their anti-racism efforts. She has served as a Chief Resident of Diversity & Inclusion as well as Medical Education. Her honors include the national APA Area 1 Resident-Fellow Member Mentorship Award. She currently is working as a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion expert and facilitator at not for profit and for profit organizations. Her professional interests include working towards eradicating racial and ethnic mental health disparities, mitigating the impact of implicit racial bias on clinical care, and the use of a community focused population health approach in psychiatric practice. 

Kevin Ryan, MD, FACEP, FAEMS, Chair, MMS Committee on Preparedness
Dr. Kevin Ryan is Associate Medical Director for Boston EMS, an Attending Emergency Physician at Boston Medical Center, and Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine.  Originally from the South Shore, Dr. Ryan began his career in emergency medicine as an EMT and field training preceptor with a private ambulance service. He graduated from Tufts University School of Medicine in 2010. He completed his residency in Emergency Medicine at Boston Medical Center, followed by a Disaster Medicine Fellowship with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center & Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. Dr. Ryan is board certified in Emergency Medicine as well as Emergency Medical Services. He serves as the Chair of the Committee on Preparedness with the Massachusetts Medical Society.

Intended Audience
Physicians and other health care professionals

Course Objectives

  • Describe the impact of traumatic incidences on mental health and resulting sequelae on first responders
  • Introduce the treatment principles for Psychological First Aid
  • Highlight the linkage between racial trauma and injustice, moral injury, and mental health aspects of the coronavirus pandemic
  • Identify ways in which Psychological First Aid can be adapted to various trauma and disaster settings

Course Fees
Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS) Physician Member: Free
MMS Resident/Student Member: Free
Non-Member Physician: Free
Non-Members Resident/Student: Free
Allied Health Professional/Other: Free

Format & Estimated Time to Complete: Video/1.25 hours

Accreditation Statement
Accreditation and Credit Information
The Massachusetts Medical Society is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians. 

AMA Credit Designation Statement
The Massachusetts Medical Society designates this internet enduring material for a maximum of 1.25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

This activity meets the criteria for the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Medicine for risk management study.

National Commission on Certification of Physicians Assistant (NCCPA)
Physician Assistants may claim a maximum of 1.25 Category 1 credits for completing this activity. NCCPA accepts AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ from organizations accredited by ACCME or a recognized state medical society.

MOC Approval Statement
Through the American Board of Medical Specialties (“ABMS”) ongoing commitment to increase access to practice relevant Continuing Certification Activities through the ABMS Continuing Certification Directory, this activity has met the requirements as a MOC Part II CME Activity(apply toward general CME requirement) for the following ABMS Member Boards: 

Allergy and Immunology
Family Medicine
Medical Genetics and Genomics
Nuclear Medicine
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Preventive Medicine
Psychiatry and Neurology
Thoracic Surgery

Exam/Assessment:  A score of 70% or higher is required to receive AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™

Activity Term
Original Release Date: November 3, 2020
Review Date (s): N/A
Termination Date: November 3, 2023

Course Developers, Reviewers & Web Producer:
Jane E. Gagne, Manager, Accreditation & Education Compliance, NEJM Group Education
Danna G. Muir, Director, Accreditation & Recognition, NEJM Group Education
Candace Savage, Manager, Public Health Outreach, Health Policy & Public Health
Thelma Tatten, Web Content Production Specialist, NEJM Group Education 

System Requirements

Windows 10
Mac OSX 10.6 higher

Most modern browsers including:  
IE 11+
Firefox 18.0+
Chrome latest version
Safari 12+

iOS devices beginning with OS version 10 or higher (includes, iPhone, ipad and iTouch devices) 

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