Research Overview

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The mission of our research is to understand how to be ready and prepared for the chaos of disasters and public health emergencies, how best to respond when confronted with such chaos, and how to recover from it.

63324_webDisasters throw us off balance. The chaos of devastating storms, terror events, or major accidents upsets the equilibria of communities, organizations, and people. Our research focuses on the tipping point of those systems, at levels ranging from the individual, to the household, the community, up to political governance systems, and what is needed to maintain a system’s balance, to right it, or to support the populations and organizations dependent upon it if it has been lost.

Balance in a system is contingent upon the readiness of our formal response and recovery systems, upon competent and capable workforces, and upon our attention to the needs of those most vulnerable among us. In our research we have examined US attitudes and behaviors regarding disaster preparedness; tracked the health status and recovery trajectories of people exposed to 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, with a particular focus on children’s health; and tested new strategies for communicating with high-risk and vulnerable populations.

Our research seeks to provide evidence to policy-makers, as well as theory and methods to the scientists, engineers, advocates, and designers focused on building a resilient society.

Our work is multi-disciplinary: the Center’s faculty and affiliated scientists are experts in public health systems research, environmental health, sociology, epidemiology, pediatric care, and GIS techniques, among others.


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