University Mental Health Clinicians Treat Oklahoma City Bombing Victims, Become Experts on Treating Terror Victims

From 1995 to 2005, faculty members from the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC) provided intensive mental health treatment to people traumatized by the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

The RWJF-funded clinical services were one component of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences' response to the disaster. With more than $3.5 million in federal grants and other support, faculty members also conducted research on the mental health effects of the Oklahoma City bombing and other terrorist events and considered how communities should organize a mental health response.

Key Results

  • As of September 30, 2005, faculty clinicians had provided services to 88 individuals for a total of 1,250 visits. Those served included victims and survivors, family members of those directly involved, responders and rescue workers. In a coordinated effort, faculty clinicians focused on long-term psychiatric treatment, medication management and specialized services that other community providers could not offer.

  • The faculty members' direct experience treating trauma victims informed their extensive research and consultation efforts. The faculty members published more than 50 articles and 10 book chapters about mental health issues related to disasters and terrorist events. Their clinical experiences with Oklahoma bombing victims helped prepare them to provide consultation after other disasters, including the September 11th terrorist attacks, Hurricane Katrina and the U.S. Embassy bombing in East Africa.