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SBU News > Academics > School of Communication and Journalism > Annual Colvin Distinguished Lecture Fosters Conversation About Mental Health, April 20

Annual Colvin Distinguished Lecture Fosters Conversation About Mental Health, April 20

Marie Colvin in Tahrir Square
Marie Colvin in Tahrir Square
Journalist Marie Colvin photographed in Tahrir square, the scene of heavy clashes between pro- and anti-government protesters. Colvin was killed by a shell that landed on a temporary media centre she was staying at in Homs, Syria, on February 22, 2012.

When tragedies strike, wars break out or conflicts erupt, reporters are often among the first to arrive at the scene. They tell stories about immense suffering and pain, and are often reluctant to acknowledge their own struggles in the face of overwhelming tragedy. 

This year’s annual Marie Colvin Distinguished Lecture, “Journalists on the Frontline: War, Conflict and Post-Traumatic Stress,” will bring together experts and reporters to talk about how to equip journalists with the tools they need to thrive in a confrontational world.

Thursday, April 20, 6 pm
Wang Center Theater
Register here

“Marie was the bravest journalist of her generation, but it was years before she acknowledged the toll the job took on her own mental health,” said Sarah Baxter, journalism instructor and Marie Colvin Center director. “It is vital to break the silence on this important issue and build resilience among a new generation of journalists.” 

The conversation will be chaired by Ellen Barry, New York Times mental health correspondent.

Speakers will be:

  • Rawya Rageh, senior crisis advisor for Amnesty International and former reporter for AP and Al Jazeera
  • Anne Barnard, New York Times climate reporter and former Baghdad bureau chief
  • Dr. Anissa Abi-Dargham, chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University 

The event will feature a recorded message from Richard Engel, NBC News chief foreign correspondent, who is in Ukraine covering the war.

“Exposure to trauma and human suffering can alter the brain and have long-lasting behavioral manifestations,” said Abi-Dargham. “Recognizing these symptoms and raising awareness are the first necessary steps in identifying the problem and finding remedies.”

The lecture is sponsored by the School of Communication and Journalism’s Marie Colvin Center for International Reporting, the Renaissance School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, and the College of Arts and Sciences Department of Psychology.

“It’s so critical that we recognize the mental health risks that journalists face, particularly with regard to trauma,” said Joanne Davila, chair of the Department of Psychology. “The public may simply think of them as objective reporters of events, but they are just as vulnerable as anyone else in the face of tragedy.”

The lecture is free and open to the public. 


About the Panelists

Ellen Barry, NYTEllen Barry

Ellen Barry covers mental health for The Times.

She was previously the bureau chief in Moscow and Delhi and was part of a team which won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting for a series on impunity in Russia’s justice system.





Dr. Anissa Abi-Dargham

Anissa Abi-DarghamAnissa Abi-Dargham, MD, is SUNY distinguished professor of psychiatry and radiology, Lourie endowed chair in psychiatry, chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, and associate dean for Clinical and Translational Science at Stony Brook University School of Medicine. 

She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and a special lecturer at Columbia University in New York, where she spent the last 22 years of her career prior to her move to Stony Brook University in 2016. She directs the Multi Modal Translational Imaging Lab and oversees a multidisciplinary team with expertise in multiple neuroimaging modalities used in tandem to address important questions about the brain mechanisms of schizophrenia. She is an internationally recognized leader in the use of molecular imaging of the human brain to study schizophrenia and its comorbidity with addiction. 

Her research focuses on molecular markers and their functional significance as measured with multi-modal imaging approaches in psychiatric disorders. She has received funding from NIMH, NIDA, NIAAA, NARSAD, Lilly, BMS, GSK, Forest and Pierre-Fabre. She is associate editor for Neuropsychopharmacology, deputy editor for Biological Psychiatry, past president of the Brain Imaging Council for SNM and past president of ACNP.

Dr. Abi-Dargham has had many collaborations with preclinical scientists to design translational studies that attempt to inform human studies with basic research findings and vice versa. 


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