Personnel involved in the study:

Thomas Chandler, PhD, is an Associate Research Scientist at the National Center for Disaster Preparedness, The Earth Institute, Columbia University and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Teachers College, Columbia University. He has been the principal investigator of a $398,000 two year grant with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control examining the public health systems response to Hurricane Sandy in the NYC Area (2013-2015), and is the principal investigator of this $150,000 two year grant with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, on the usage of social media during disasters (2014-2016). He focuses on the human impact of natural disasters, geographic and social networks, and distance learning. He has authored several book chapters and journal articles related to these themes, with articles recently published in The Journal of Social Studies Research and in Interactive Learning Environments.

Jaishree Beedasy, PhD, has a master’s degree in Information Processing and holds a PhD in Spatial Decision Support Systems and GIS. As the Project Director for this project, Dr. Beedasy ensures that the technical specifications are adhered to and that the geospatial tool and web portal are designed to meet existing and future web 2.0 standards. She communicates directly with Columbia University’s technology partners and supervises the evaluation of the training products. She is also working on other projects studying the effects of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill disaster on the physical and mental health of the Gulf Coast residents with a special focus on children’s health. Prior to joining the NCDP she was a Research Associate Professor at the Institute of Rural Health, Idaho State University. Her prior experience includes the management and evaluation of emergency preparedness training for healthcare workers and first responders under the Bioterrorism Training and Curriculum Development Program.

Jonathan Sury, MPH, CPH, is the senior curriculum developer and analyst for this project, creating online trainings that describe the ways in which social media can be used for disaster response. He has a master’s degree in public health in Environmental Health Sciences with a concentration in Environment and Molecular Epidemiology from the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. He has a keen interest in geospatial social media networks and their use in disaster preparedness and recovery. Presently, he contributes to a variety of disaster-related research at NCDP, including evaluating the unanticipated consequences of pandemic flu, determining racially and ethnically appropriate emergency messaging, analyzing the long-term disaster resiliency and recovery issues in the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina, and the measurement and mapping of social vulnerability and the role of place and space in disaster recovery.

Shwetha Bhaskar, MA is the web developer for this project. She designs, develops, and deploys training and distance learning related to emergency preparedness, planning, and response, catering to thousands of learners in the US and internationally.  She works closely with subject matter experts at NCDP and Columbia University at large.  Her areas of expertise include e-learning courseware, web and multimedia production, learning management systems, and social media.  Ms. Bhaskar holds a Master’s degree in Instructional Technology and Media from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a graduate degree in new media journalism, along with an undergraduate degree in communications.

Erin Sehnert, MSW, is the project coordinator for this initiative, ensuring that deliverables are submitted on time and within the originally specified budget parameters. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan School of Social Work with a concentration in Social Policy and Evaluation, focusing her personal studies on disaster relief and recovery. In addition to this project, Ms Sehnert is presently assessing the environmental impacts of Hurricane Sandy, a NIOSH funded project working with the Center for Disaster Medicine at New York Medical College and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDOHMH). In addition, Ms. Sehnert works on the SHOREline project which promotes youth empowerment in creating recovery projects and programs for their families and communities.

Liz Orozco has contributed content to this website and is a student at Columbia University obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Sustainable Development. Her studies focus on the impact of climate change on vulnerable populations as well as development and gender equality. As an intern at NCDP, Ms. Orozco is presently using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to assess hazard risks and create an interactive preparedness map for the United States.