Published on January 06, 2011

One Year After Earthquake, Reginald S. Lourie Center Leader Prepares for Third Trip to Haiti to help Victims, Teachers and Ministers Deal with Trauma

Director Eagerly Awaits Return Next Month to Assess How Children are Coping

Attention Editors/Reporters: Watch Dr. Venza's Story

Rockville, MD – The Reginald S. Lourie Center for Infants and Young Children (the Lourie Center) is eagerly awaiting its return to the city of Port-au-Prince in Haiti to assist the Haitian children and families who were traumatized as a result of the devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake nearly one year ago on January 12, 2010.

As a pioneer in the field of child development, the Lourie Center was asked to lend its clinical expertise to the Haiti Hope and Healing Project team, a collaboration of the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Hope for Humanity Program, to develop a training program to help the teachers and children’s ministers who serve the children and families in Port-au-Prince.

Dr. James Venza, associate executive director of the Lourie Center and a member of the Haiti Hope and Healing Project team, visited Port-au-Prince in May of 2010 to assess the emotional needs of the children,
parents, teachers and ministers in Haiti. The team later returned in August 2010 to implement a training program that was specifically designed to help the children and families overcome the trauma they experienced as a result of the earthquake.

“Some Haitian children lost half their classmates as they fled their school while others lost family members and friends,” said Dr. Venza. “The adult training participants watched as victims of the earthquake were moved into mass graves in the city Port-au-Prince to protect against the spread of disease.”

Dr. Venza’s trip has been postponed until February due to political unrest in Haiti associated with the upcoming election process. He and the Haiti Hope and Healing Project team members look forward to returning to Haiti to observe the progress of the program and to provide additional training assistance to the Haitian teachers and ministers. Dr. Venza is concerned that the victims of the earthquake might experience what is known as the anniversary effect, where individuals will relive the thoughts and emotions they experienced during last year’s earthquake.

About the Reginald S. Lourie Center for Infants and Young Children

The Reginald S. Lourie Center for Infants and Young Children was founded in 1983 by the late Dr. Reginald S. Lourie and his colleagues. The organization evolved from a six-year clinical research project funded by the National Institute of Mental Health. This project demonstrated the value of early identification and intervention to enable children to reach their full potential, developmentally and emotionally. In 2006, the Lourie Center affiliated with Adventist HealthCare. Based in Rockville, Maryland, the Reginald S. Lourie Center specializes in the assessment, treatment and prevention of emotional, behavioral and developmental problems in infants and young children.