Jacobs, professor of psychology and director of USD’s Disaster Mental Health Institute, will call upon his research and work in the field of disaster mental health to promote a balanced approach to the pursuit of profit in liberal arts higher education. A faculty member at the university since 1988, Jacobs began work in disaster psychology in 1989 after leading the psychological support for survivors and families of passengers aboard Flight 232 after it crashed in Sioux City. He was instrumental in forming the Disaster Mental Health Institute in 1993 with fellow colleagues in the Department of Psychology.

Jacobs received his doctorate in clinical/community psychology from the University of South Florida in 1982 and has worked with national and international organizations over the past three decades. His disaster responses have ranged from minor events to catastrophic events such as the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center, the 2001 earthquake in Gujarat, India, and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. He also set up the disaster mental health program in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

In 2007, the American Psychological Association Board of Directors awarded Jacobs the prestigious International Humanitarian Award, which recognizes extraordinary humanitarian service and activism by a psychologist or a team of psychologists. Other awards include the 2006 Distinguished International Psychologist Award from the APA’s Division of International Psychology, two APA Presidential Citations, and honors from the Union for Psychological Science and the American Red Cross.

Jacobs’ current research examines the effectiveness of community-based psychological first aid for EMTs and paramedics, community advisors, and medical personnel. He is also studying foundational aspects of traumatic stress in the Japanese cultural context. A photo of Jacobs is available for download at www.usd.edu/press/news/images/releases/Gerard_Jacobs.jpg.

Named in 1966 in honor of Elbert Harrington, professor of speech and dean of the College of Arts & Sciences (1945-1970), the lecture is an annual event featuring a distinguished professor with long-standing service to the College of Arts & Sciences. Each year a faculty committee in Arts & Sciences recommends to the dean the name of a faculty member to deliver the Harrington Lecture. The faculty member must be a teacher and scholar, and the lecture must be non-technical, blending insight into liberal education with the faculty member’s work as a scholar. A reception will be held immediately following the lecture.

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