What does it take to survive in the face of adversity? What about sickness? A major disaster? Why do some people seem ‘stronger’ than others? At TPR’s Think Science: Human Resilience, on May 27, the audience heard stories about people who have been through traumatic events, and a local researcher offered his own perspective on what makes it possible for humans to bounce back.
"Resiliency comes from hope." --Dr. Marian Sokol
Rose Williams was born in Radom, Poland. She and her 3 siblings, a younger sister and brother and an older brother along with her parents, had a lovely life in Radom. Her father owned a leather factory. When Germany invaded Poland in 1939, Rose’s life as a twelve year old was changed forever. The Sherman family was forced to move out of their home and move into a ghetto. There the entire family lived in one room. In 1942, the ghetto was liquidated and Rose was separated from her family and sent to another town in Poland where she worked in an ammunition factory. During this time she learned that her parents perished. From there she was sent to Auschwitz where she received her tattoo. Life in Auschwitz was extremely hard for Rose. Because she had no shoes, her feet became frostbitten and full of sores. However, it was also in Auschwitz where she was reunited with her sister, Binne. Towards the end of the war, she was forced to march to Bergen-Belsen, the worst camp that Rose had witnessed. On April 15, 1945 she was liberated by British troops. After liberation, she worked in Stuttgart, Germany until arriving in the United States.
Marian Sokol, Ph.D., MPH is the Executive Director of the Children’s Bereavement Center of Texas in San Antonio. Marian is the original founder and was the executive director of Any Baby Can for 21 years and president of First Candle/SIDS Alliance, based in Maryland, for eight. She is also currently the Co-Chair of the Action for Stillbirth Awareness & Prevention (ASAP Coalition). She has a passion working on the prevention of stillbirth and the support of families that experience these tragedies. In addition she works for families of infants and children with critical and chronic illness, as well as with families who have lost babies to SIDS.
Alan L. Peterson, PhD, ABPP, is a board certified clinical health psychologist, Professor, and Chief of the Division of Behavioral Medicine in the Department of Psychiatry and School of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. He completed a PhD in clinical psychology at Nova Southeastern University under the tutelage of Dr. Nathan Azrin, one of the founding fathers of behavior therapy. Dr. Peterson retired from the U.S Air Force in 2005 after 21 years of active duty including service as the Chair of the Department of Psychology and the Director of the American Psychological Association-accredited Clinical Health Psychology Postdoctoral Fellowship Program at Wilford Hall Medical Center. While on active duty he deployed in support of Operation Noble Eagle, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Dr. Peterson has clinical and research experience in the areas of behavioral medicine, clinical health psychology, and combat-related stress disorders. He has conducted research in the areas of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), psychological risk and resiliency, Tourette Syndrome, tobacco cessation, pain management, insomnia, weight management, and managing suicidal behaviors.
"Think Science" is made possible by The University of Texas at San Antonio.