uc irvine school of nursing professor alison holman, uci social ecology professor roxane cohen silver have been honored for their collective trauma research

Roxane Cohen Silver, left, and Alison Holman. Photos by Steve Zylius

By Mimi Ko Cruz

Director of Communications, Social Ecology

For their extensive research on collective trauma, Roxane Cohen Silver, vice provost for academic planning and institutional research and distinguished professor of psychological science, medicine and public health, and Alison Holman, professor of nursing and psychological science, are this year’s recipients of the Innovation Award from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.

The award is given to those who have used innovative methods to advance the field of traumatic stress in the areas of prevention, research, treatment, teaching, policy and advocacy.

The professors accepted the award on Thursday, Nov. 10, in Atlanta at the ISTSS 38th Annual Meeting.

Examining American mental health

Earlier this year, Silver and Holman were awarded a National Science Foundation Rapid Response Research grant to gauge the effect that the reporting of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in traditional and social media outlets has on the mental health of U.S. citizens.

Their study extends a survey of more than 6,500 Americans that started more than two years ago to assess psychological reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Decades of collaboration

Silver and Holman have worked together on several NSF-funded research grants dealing with traumatic stress for 30 years.

“I am honored to receive the ISTSS Innovation award for the work Roxy and I have done addressing media exposure and early responses to collective trauma that may presage later mental and physical health challenges,” Holman says.

“I am grateful to have wonderful collaborators, students, and postdoctoral scholars who have contributed greatly to this work, and hope that this recognition of our work will encourage funding agencies to support future research on the significant health threats associated with both direct and media-based exposure to collective trauma.”

Silver adds, “Alison and I — and our legion of students, postdocs, and collaborators — have been conducting quick response research after disasters across the United States for almost three decades.”

“We sincerely appreciate this honor from ISTSS in recognition of our unique approach to the study of traumatic stress. We assess early responses to mass violence events, natural disasters, and infectious disease outbreaks among representative samples and follow people as they cope with adversity over time. It is our hope that our rigorous research methods can help inform intervention, policy, and education efforts for many years to come.”

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