Keywords: PTSD, Trauma, Humanitarian, Emergencies, mHealth, Neuroscience, Cognition
This symposium presents the results of a rigorous seven-year clinical trial aimed at promoting technological solutions to advance the global response to traumatic stress in humanitarian emergencies. While there is a growing recognition of the importance of trauma-informed care in emergencies, there is a lack of evidence-based tools to rapidly and effectively diagnose and treat trauma cross-culturally at scale. Moreover, aid agencies and charities providing psychological support to survivors often possess limited mental health training and resources. This clinical trial addressed these challenges by (i) identifying diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers of trauma that have the potential for integration in portable technology to equip agencies in emergency zones; (ii) developing and examining the feasibility of the eResilience App - a seven-day, cross-cultural mHealth intervention for emergencies; and (iii) conducting a pilot implementation of the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) via a local charity in Africa to examine technology acceptance and scalability potential. Presenters will highlight the development of the eResilience App, including the clinical rationale, the two MVP designs for research and field implementation, and its potential for the integration of biometric measures, Neurofeedback (NFB), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Photoplethysmography (PPG), and machine learning. Moreover, presenters will discuss the cognitive and electrophysiological biomarkers identified at baseline and post intervention, and the clinical results observed over a 12-month period. Insights from the field implementation at a rural Ebola-impacted community in Liberia will feature selected clinical and scalability response in the village, alongside technological challenges, proficiency, and adaptations.