Online Learning > Med Tox Online > Chemical Agents of Opportunity Webinars > Module 6-7: Psychological Consequences of Mass Exposure and Risk Communication

Two-Part Presentation | Modules 6 and 7: Psychological Consequences of Mass Exposure / Risk Communication

Chemical Agents of Opportunity for Terrorism: Toxic Industrial Chemicals (TICs) & Toxic Industrial Materials (TIMs)

In recent years, there has been growing concern that many of the most likely threats of chemical terrorism involve so-called “agents of opportunity.”  Both common and unusual industrial agents may pose a considerable threat as potential terrorist weapons.  While an understanding of the traditional military chemical weapons (e.g. nerve agents) remains essential, an appreciation of the myriad of other potential toxic chemicals readily available in our society is crucial if we are to optimally prepare, identify and defend against chemical threats. Many toxic industrial chemicals are easily obtainable from multiple sources in our communities and pose a serious threat to health if accidentally released or intentionally disseminated. 

Chemical Agents of Opportunity for Terrorism Complete Course Description 

Course Target Audience

The information presented will be of interest to state and local first responders, EMTs, paramedics, emergency physicians, emergency response coordinators, public health officials, industrial hygienists and others involved with chemical terrorism preparedness and response. Our topic selection for each course is intended to prepare the response community for their upcoming OHA Demonstration Project Tabletop exercise. 

Part 1 | Module 6: Pyschological Consequences of Mass Exposure

The normal physiologic response to fear and the difficulty in distinguishing these responses from those of true chemical exposures, are discussed in this module. The importance of planning for patients presenting “just to get checked out” and with misinterpreted physiologic responses is emphasized.

Part 1 | Learning Objectives

By the end of this module, participants will be able to:

  • Describe expected behaviors of large groups of people after a perceived toxic chemical exposure
  • Recognize the signs and symptoms of acute psychological and emotional response to a traumatic event (e.g. disaster or fear of real or perceived toxic chemical exposure)
  • Develop a strategy to aid victims with fear/strong emotions following a real or perceived toxic chemical exposure

Part 2 | Module 7: Risk Communication

This module reviews some of the major tenets of communication in a disaster or stressful situation, emphasizing synthesis of the key components of risk assessment (hazard identification, exposure pathway, modifying factors, toxicity assessment) into effective messaging. There will be an opportunity for participants to assess their own communication styles and to formulate critical message maps.

Part 2 | Module Objectives

By the end of this module, participants will be able to:
  • Describe an example of the impact of poor risk communication
  • Describe 5 of 7 key principles to risk communication
  • Define a message map


KirkM125w.jpgMark Kirk, MD, FACMT
Department of Homeland Security, Office of Health Affairs
Washington, DC

Dr. Kirk is an emergency physician and medical toxicologist. He is the Director of the Department of Homeland Security's Chemical Defense Program and is on faculty at the University of Virginia's Department of Emergency Medicine. He is a nationally recognized expert in chemical incident emergency response and community-based planning.

Stolbach125wAndrew Stolbach, MD, FACMT
Johns Hopkins Hospital
Baltimore, MD
Dr. Stolbach is Board Certified in Emergency Medicine and Medical Toxicology. He serves as a consultant to the Maryland Poison Center, is a member of the Johns Hopkins Hospital P&T Committee, and is a Johns Hopkins IRB co-Chair.

He was a Magna cum laude graduate of Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Life Science along with a minor in history. He furthered his education at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine and received his Doctorate of Medicine Degree in 2002. Dr. Stolbach completed his Emergency Medicine Residency at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City from 2002-2005 where he was Chief Resident. He completed his Fellowship in Medical Toxicology at Bellevue Medical Center and New York University School of Medicine.

Dr. Stolbach has received Honors and Awards including: The University Honors Medal for Scholarship in History (1998); Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society (1998); a 2010 ACMT/McNeil Products Award for Acetaminophen-Related Research and a grant from ATSDR for Airborne Particulate Matter Education. He is recognized as a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Medicine, American College of Medical Toxicology, and American Academy of Clinical Toxicology.

Dr. Stolbach has developed a 10-part online toxicology training program that is currently being used by a number of emergency medicine residency programs. He has also created toxicology webinars and online modules for the American College of Medical Toxicology and United States ATSDR. He is currently writing a opioid prescribing teaching module for emergency and primary care providers.

Module Recording and Materials

Click here for module 6 slides
Click here for module 7 slides