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APSU Provost Lecture Series kicks off with session about religion in disaster relief

9/17/2012

An Austin Peay State University social work faculty member will explore the role of spirituality in natural disaster relief as the first session of the University’s Provost Lecture Series for 2012-13.

Dr. Tatsushi Hirono, assistant professor of social work, will present “The Role of Religious Leaders in Natural Disaster Relief: A Comparative Analysis Between the Clergy of American Christian Churches and Japanese Buddhist Temples” at 3 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 20 in the Morgan University Center, Room 303.

All sessions of the Provost Lecture Series are free and open to the public.

Hirono said his presentation is based on a quantitative, international and cross cultural study to explore cultural and spiritual factors that might reduce post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms after natural disasters.

“Spirituality might affect people’s ‘hope’ after devastating natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina and the magnitude 9.0 earthquake in Japan,” he said. “The purpose of this study is to examine the role of American Christian and Japanese Buddhist clergy in the natural disaster relief.”

Hirono sent 500 mailing surveys to Christian clergy in the greater New Orleans and New York areas. He also sent 500 surveys to Buddhist clergy in the greater Fukushima and Tokyo areas. The questionnaire asks clergy “why” and “how” they can help people. He found that the victims might decrease PTSD symptoms by counseling with clergy. He also found that water, food and shelter are the most important things for natural disaster relief in a short-term period; however, maintaining “hope” is more important than tangible materials in a long-term period.

Hirono holds a Ph.D. in social welfare from State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook. In his newest book, “The Role of American Christian and Japanese Buddhist Clergy in Suicide Prevention (2012),” he explored the role of clergy as a “suicide gatekeeper.”

Other sessions in the Provost Lecture Series also are planned for the academic year. All sessions are from 3-4:30 p.m. in the MUC, Room 303 and include the following:

Sept. 27: Dr. Gray Kane, faculty development analyst in the Center for Teaching and Learning.

Oct. 4: Dr. Becky Starnes,

Oct. 11: Naomi Rendina, Alexandra Wills, Lisa Kurtz

Oct. 18: Kathy Heuston

Oct. 25: Jordy Rocheleau

Nov. 1: Kevin Tanner

Nov. 8: Lindsay Szramek

Nov. 15: Dr. Antonio Thompson

Nov. 29: Leong Lee

Jan. 10: Taj Hashmi

Jan. 17: Foloshade Agusto

Jan. 24: Mercy Cannon

Jan. 31: C.M. Gienger

Feb. 7: Tatsushi Hirono

Feb. 12: Christopher Burawa

Feb. 14: Alex King

Feb. 21: Andriy Kovalskyy

Feb. 28: Suta Lee

March 7: Sergei Markov

March 21: Kristofer Ray

March 28: Ayman Alzaatreh

April 4: Stephen Truhon

April 11: Jason Verber

April 18: Paul Collins

April 19: Carol Baskauf

The Provost Lecture Series seeks to foster a spirit of intellectual and scholarly inquiry among faculty, staff and students. The program will be used as a platform for APSU faculty members who are recent recipients of provost summer grants, who have been awarded faculty development leaves and who have engaged in recent scholarly inquiry during sabbatical leaves.

For more information about the Provost Lecture Series, call Dr. Brian Johnson, assistant vice president of academic affairs at APSU, at 931-221-7992 or email him at johnsonb@apsu.edu. - Dr. Melony Shemberger