URMC Faculty Member Receives Red Cross' Highest Volunteer Honor

June 01, 2001

Jack Herrmann, M.S.Ed., N.C.C., associate at the University of Rochester Medical Center Department of Psychiatry and director of Community and Consumer Affairs and Employee Assistance Programs for Strong Behavioral Health, will receive this year's National American Red Cross Disaster Services Volunteer Award-the highest award given to a volunteer in Disaster Services through the American Red Cross. To receive this award, the recipient must demonstrate exceptional leadership in the Disaster Services area through measurable impact and actions of merit that strengthen and/or enhance service delivery. Herrmann will receive this award during a two-day volunteer recognition and awards event to be held June 6 and 7 in Washington, D.C. and hosted by Dr. Bernadette Healy, president of the American Red Cross.

"The fact that this particular award is being presented this year to Jack Herrmann, an outstanding mental health professional, is very significant. It sends an important message to Red Cross chapters and communities across the country: mental health support to individuals and communities in times of disaster is as significant in a family's or a community's recovery as food, shelter, clothing and other medical care," said Sheryl Karch, director, Office of Volunteer Personnel, in a letter announcing Herrmann's award.

A disaster mental health volunteer with the Red Cross since 1993, Herrmann is credited with bringing mental health support in times of disaster to the attention of the American Red Cross in New York State and many Red Cross chapters across the country as well as to his colleagues at the Red Cross national headquarters.

Herrmann was dispatched on his first national assignment in 1994 when the Los Angeles earthquake hit. Since then, he has participated in other national disasters such as the TWA aviation disaster in 1996 and Hurricane Georges in Puerto Rico in 1998, at which time he administered disaster mental health relief for a 16-city area in the northern region of the island. At the local level, he is the New York State Disaster Mental Health Lead and is responsible for coordinating the preparedness for and response to disasters within the state.

"I enjoy the work I do with the Red Cross and greatly appreciate the flexibility and support my department and the University give me in helping me do this work. Working in Disaster Services is, personally and clinically, the most fulfilling and enriching work I do," says Herrmann.

Herrmann has a master's degree in counseling, family, and worklife studies and is a nationally certified counselor. His clinical background includes counseling individuals suffering from traumatic events, and he has co-facilitated grief support groups for individuals who have lost loved ones to HIV/AIDS, suicide, and homicide. He earned his bachelor's degree from St. John Fisher and his master's degree from the University of Rochester.

For Media Inquiries:
Susan Fandel
(585) 273-4494
Email Susan Fandel