On June 1, 2015, Voices of September 11th (VOICES) launched a new research project in partnership with the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress (CSTS) at the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, Maryland and the Canadian Resource Center for Victims of Crime (CRCVC) in Ottawa, Ontario. The study, entitled "Investigating the Long-Term Impact of Bereavement Due to Terrorism: Factors That Contribute to Trauma, Grief, Growth and Resilience," has been funded in part by Public Safety Canada's Kanishka Project Contribution Program.
The study will identify the long-term needs of individuals impacted by terrorism. The research project involves family members of the 2,977 individuals lost at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in Shanksville, PA on September 11, 2001, as well as the family members of the 329 individuals lost in the 1985 bombing of Air India Flight 182 off the West Coast of Ireland, the majority of whom were Canadian. Both attacks remain the worst acts of terrorism in the history of their respective countries, the United States and Canada.
"The death of a family member, especially in a terrorist attack, is a life-changing event for the entire family," said VOICES Founding Director Mary Fetchet, LCSW, whose eldest son Brad perished in the attacks on the World Trade Center. "The research project is a unique opportunity for families to provide important insight into factors that contribute to trauma, grief, personal growth and resilience."
To date, there is limited research that has examined or identified the long-term needs of victims' families. The knowledge gained from this study of those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001 or in the 1985 bombing of Air India Flight 182 will advance scientific research in the field. The findings will guide communities in providing services to victims' families, and help individuals heal after traumatic events.
"VOICES is pleased to be collaborating with the CRCVC and the CSTS to conduct this ground-breaking research," added Ms. Fetchet.
The Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress (CSTS) of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) will conduct this research in collaboration with VOICES, with Stephen J. Cozza, M.D. serving as the principal investigator.
"This study will help us better understand the longer-term effects of terrorism-related bereavement and, by doing so, further define community resources and support services that can foster the integration of grief under such difficult circumstances," explained Dr. Cozza, Associate Director of the CSTS.
Dr. Cozza specializes in clinical and community response to trauma and the impact of deployment and combat injury on military service members and their families. He was instrumental in implementing the first mental health response to the 9/11/2001 attacks on the Pentagon and currently works as a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at USUHS. Dr. Cozza has conducted extensive research and published in the scientific literature on these topics and has presented at multiple national and international scientific meetings.
"We are honored to be part of this innovative research project with family members who lost loved ones in 1985 and 2001," added Heidi Illingworth, Executive Director of the CRCVC. "By participating in the research, the Air India Flight 182 and September 11th families will identify what is needed to help facilitate healing and recovery over the long-term for persons affected by terrorism."
The research project is accessible through VOICES website. Participants must be directly or indirectly related to a victim of one of these attacks, be 18 years or older, and understand English. They will be asked to complete an online questionnaire that takes approximately 40-50 minutes. "In order to understand a variety of unique personal experiences we would like as many family members as possible to participate in the study," said Ms. Fetchet.
For more information about the research project and how to participate, visit VOICES website at www.voicesofseptember11.org, or contact Mary Fetchet at (203) 966-3911, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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About the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime
Founded in 1992, the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime (CRCVC) has provided advocacy, information, resources and support to persons impacted by serious crime. Since 2005, the CRCVC has supported Canadians impacted by terrorism, contributed to the Air India inquiry, coordinated research projects and developed a website to help Canadian communities better prepare to respond to the needs of victims in the aftermath of terrorism.
The Centre also advocates for victims' rights by presenting the interests and perspectives of victims of crime to Government, at all levels, and provides resource materials to crime victims and service providers in Canada. For more information, visit www.crcvc.ca.
About the Kanishka Project
On June 23, 2011, the Government of Canada announced the Kanishka Project - a five-year, $10 million initiative which will invest in research on pressing questions for Canada on terrorism and counter-terrorism, such as preventing and countering violent extremism.
The Project is about better understanding what terrorism means in the Canadian context, how that is changing over time, and what we can do to support effective policies and programs to counter terrorism and violent extremism in Canada. For more information, visit
About the Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress at the Uniformed Services University
The Center for the Study of Traumatic Stress (CSTS) is one of the nation's oldest and most highly regarded academic-based organizations dedicated to advancing trauma-informed knowledge, leadership and methodologies. The Center's work addresses a wide scope of trauma exposure from the consequences of combat, operations other than war, terrorism, natural and human made disasters, and public health threats. CSTS is a part of our nation's federal medical school, Uniformed Services University (USU), and its Department of Psychiatry. These affiliations represent the Center's history, mission and future directions as a major contributor to our country's understanding of the impact of trauma and the advancement of trauma-informed care. For more information, visit www.cstsonline.org.
About Voices of September 11th
Founded in 2001, Voices of September 11th (VOICES) is internationally recognized for its innovative approach to providing a wide range of support services that promote resiliency for thousands of 9/11 families, first responders and survivors. VOICES 9/11 Living Memorial, an extensive collection of over 70,000 photographs and personal keepsakes that commemorates the lives of the nearly 3,000 lost on 9/11, is available on VOICES website and is a core component of the In Memoriam exhibition at the 9/11 Museum in New York City. A strong advocate for national preparedness, VOICES promotes reforms to make the country safer and shares best practices to heal families and communities after tragedy.
Recent acts of mass violence and natural disasters have underscored the need for communities to be better prepared. In the fall of 2014, VOICES launched a comprehensive Resource Kit to assist communities in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from incidents of mass violence. Recommendations are based on extensive research and interviews conducted with hundreds of service providers who responded to the September 11th attacks, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the shootings at Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois University and Tucson, Arizona.
In 2014, VOICES Center for Excellence for Community Resilience was launched, as part of the organization's commitment to helping families and communities heal after other tragedies. VOICES Center acts as a clearinghouse of information, sharing over a decade of expertise and research findings that address the long-term needs of victims' families and survivors. The initiative has expanded through partnerships with subject matter experts, government agencies, organizations, and universities. For more information, visit www.voicesofseptember11.org.