Michael Wessells, PhD, is Professor at Columbia University in the Program on Forced Migration and Health. A long time psychosocial and child protection practitioner, he is former Co-Chair of the IASC Task Force on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings. This group developed the first global, consensus guidelines on mental health and psychosocial support for people in emergency settings. Among other things, these guidelines call for a holistic approach that does not regard all war-affected children as traumatized.
He has conducted extensive research on the holistic impacts of war and political violence on children, and he is author of Child soldiers: From violence to protection (Harvard University Press, 2006). Currently, he is lead researcher on inter-agency, multi-country research on community driven interventions for strengthening linkages of community-based child protection mechanisms with government led aspects of national child protection systems. This work has included learning from girls and boys directly about their lived experiences of violence and their coping and resilience amidst adversity. He regularly advises UN agencies, governments, and donors on issues of child protection and psychosocial support, including in communities and schools. Throughout Africa and Asia he helps to develop community-based, culturally grounded programs that assist people affected by armed conflict and natural disasters.
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David Van Nuys, PhD
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