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In the Spotlight
Alice Hausman, Ph.D., M.P.H., is Professor of Public Health in the College of Health Professions and Director of the Temple University Center for Preparedness, Research, Education and Practice (C-PREP). C-PREP is a new multidisciplinary center that seeks answers to burning questions in our post-9/11 world.
The C-PREP team led by Dr. Hausman includes faculty and students from 13 departments and disciplines across Temple. The goal is to address gaps in localities’ disaster preparedness by determining the mental health impact of disasters on victims and emergency personnel, the role of risk communication in preparedness, and how to improve current preparedness policies and practices across a range of industries.
Although research on public responses to emergency events dates back to the early 1960s, the research surrounding such events as the Three Mile Island disaster, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and Hurricane Katrina has failed to answer the key questions needed to develop effective preparedness initiatives and practices. In addition to determining the most effective ways to quickly get vital information to the public, it is necessary to learn how to identify and treat mental distress during and after a disaster. “We will look at how to develop effective partnerships between private businesses, public emergency response systems, and citizens that can reduce or prevent the mental and physical harm caused by disasters,” says Dr. Hausman.
Mounting pressures on federal bioterrorism aid and cuts in public health budgets have states across the country struggling to come up with effective strategies for dealing with disasters, both natural and perpetrated. C-PREP will have a real-world impact by helping cities, regions, and states become better prepared for disasters.