Dr. Carolyn V. Coarsey, Ph.D., CCHt
Dr. Carolyn V. Coarsey is the President and Co-Founder of the Foundation. She is the President of Higher Resources, Inc., and serves as Executive Vice President of Corporate Philosophy and Family Assistance Programs for Aviem International, Inc. She has an innovative approach to designing effective family assistance training: she interviews survivors, family members, and responders to discover post-accident practices that are helpful and those that are not. These results form the basis for her curricula and approach to working with individuals and families in crisis.
Carolyn created Higher Resources in 1989 and since that time has produced videos and training programs for organizations that are designed to improve post-disaster response. Her Human Services Response™ training programs highlight the unique role of employee responders of industrial tragedies and are used by aviation and rail companies, cruise lines, energy providers, and multiple agencies and organizations throughout the world.
She is a family survivor herself of a mass transportation tragedy, having lost her fiancé, on Delta Air Lines Flight 191 in August 1985. She is an airline industry veteran, having worked for Eastern Airlines during three fatal crashes and Braniff International Airlines, where she was Director of Human Resources during the shutdown of the airline in May, 1982.
In addition to being a psychotherapist, Carolyn holds a Ph.D. in Training and Learning Technologies from the University of New Mexico, with a program emphasis on managing trauma in the workplace. Her doctoral dissertation, titled Psychological Aftermath of Air Disaster: What Can Be Learned For Training? is one of the first scientific studies of commercial air disaster survivors. Her research has clearly shown the importance of an organization’s employee response on long-term emotional adjustment of survivors. In addition to studying survivors, Carolyn has conducted studies for the Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board on issues surrounding employee stress. She has also conducted research on the post-traumatic effects of fatal accident responses on fire, police and other rescue personnel sponsored by government grants. In 1991, she participated on a task force with the American Hospital Association that developed the guidelines for handling mass transportation disasters. Carolyn has also worked with the US Department of Defense casualty bureau to address issues of dealing with families after military disasters, terrorist attacks and suicides.
In addition to her work at Higher Resources, Carolyn has conducted training around the world in such diverse areas as Japan, China, South Africa, Northern Africa, and Europe. Her book, The Handbook for Human Services Response, details nearly twenty years of her own research as to best practices for helping disaster survivors.
Carolyn describes the philosophy behind the Foundation:
Carolyn describes the Power of Care and Special Assistance Teams: