Guidance for Missing or Distressed Postdoctoral Scholars

1. a. Call and email the postdoc with a request to reply as soon as possible*.

    b. Contact the postdoc's mentor to determine if s/he has knowledge of the postdoc's circumstances.

If no response -

Call the postdoc's emergency contact(s) and request that they contact the postdoc and ask him/her to reply to the program as soon as possible*.

2. If the emergency contact reports that they are unable to reach the postdoc and they have significant concern, they should be instructed to call the UAB police requesting that they contact the appropriate local police to visit the postdoc's residence. They may need to provide information on the postdoc's vehicle as well as address of residence.

UAB Police - 205-934-3535 (911 on campus)

UAB legal recommends that UAB faculty or staff should not personally go to the postdoc's residence, due to concerns for the personal safety of faculty or staff or other potential liability issues.

The police have the responsibility to communicate further with the family depending on the nature of the outcome of the investigation. They may instruct the family to contact the local police department and/or the local fire department for further assistance if there is an urgent health concern. Depending upon the circumstances, the police may or may not communicate their findings with staff in addition to the family.

3. If the emergency contact cannot be reached, UAB Police can be contacted for further assistance.

4. If it is reported that the postdoc is found to be deceased or in distress, the Office of Postdoctoral Education staff and others listed below should be contacted immediately:

a. Lisa Schwiebert, 934-3970, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , Assoc. Dean for Postdoctoral Education (after hours contact 205-965-6504 via cell)

b. Sharon Johnston, 975-7020, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , Program Manager I (after hours contact 205-410-3252 via cell)

c. Alana Keith, 975-7021This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , Administrative Associate (after hours contact 205-354-5646 via cell)

UAB police will also contact the OPE if information is received by the agency that a postdoc is missing or in distress.

OPE will contact (based on the specific situation):

Media Relations

Housing and Residential Life

Counseling and Wellness (after hours)

Disability Support Services, International Postdoc and Scholars, etc

Risk Management, Legal Counsel, etc

Vice President for Postdoc Affairs/Provost

Family member(s) as appropriate

Registrar's Office (in cases where postdoc is deceased)

c. Counseling & Wellness Center, 934-5816; to offer grief counseling information to classmates as soon as practical

d. Bryan Noe, 975-8852, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  ; Dean, Graduate School

In Dr. Noe's absence:

Jeff Engler, 934-4734, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; Assoc Dean, Academic Affairs

Susan Rich, 996-4835, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; Sr. Assoc Dean, Life Sciences

5. The Office of Postdoctoral Education staff should be in contact with the family to offer assistance as needed.

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In the event of concern about postdocs with apparently urgent mental health or suicide issues:

(for situations involving mental health that are not urgent, contact Counseling and Wellness)

1. If the postdoc is on campus, someone (faculty, staff or postdoc, as appropriate to the immediate situation) should take the postdoc to UAB Hospital Emergency Room immediately. If the postdoc is unwilling, or there is any reason to believe they will not be cooperative, contact the UAB police for further assistance.

UAB Hospital Emergency Room, North Pavilion
18 St South & 6th Ave (Walk-in Emergency entrance on 18th St S)

Also see Map

UAB Police - 911 (on campus) or 934-3535

2. The Associate Dean for Postdoctoral Education or the Office of Postdoctoral Education staff should call the ER and speak to the Psych nurse to explain the situation. The ER physician will assess the postdoc and typically request an emergency psychiatric consultation.

UAB Hospital ER 934- 5105

3. If the postdoc is not on campus, ask the postdoc if there is a friend or family member who can come to get them at their residence or to meet them somewhere and transport to the ER. If the postdoc is unwilling, contact UAB police for further assistance.

UAB legal recommends that UAB faculty or staff should not personally go to the postdoc's residence, due to concerns for the personal safety of faculty or staff or other potential liability issues.

4. Follow the steps in #4 above.

Also see How to Deal with Distressed StudentsUAB Counseling & Wellness Center.

* It is important for the Office of Postdoctoral Education to have postdoc's current email, phone and local home address and their emergency contact information on file, preferably including cell phone numbers.

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