June 10, 2005


  1. Natural Hazards Center Announces the Gilbert F. White Web Site
  2. Meet the 2005 Mary Fran Myers Scholarship Winners
  3. Congratulations to 2005’s Student Paper Competition Winners
  4. Reader Contribution: Article About Earthquake Notifications
  5. Call for Presentations: Partners in Emergency Preparedness
  6. National Academies Research Associateship Programs
  7. Survey Last Call: Natural Hazards Library
  8. Some New Web Resources
  9. Conferences and Training
  10. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

1) Natural Hazards Center Announces the Gilbert F. White Web Site

The Natural Hazards Center is pleased to announce an important new addition to its Web site: a site dedicated to Center founder Gilbert F. White and his continuing contributions to the improvement of the human condition and the preservation of the Earth’s environment.

In the early 1970s, White was one of the principal investigators in a major National Science Foundation-funded assessment of the status of natural hazards research in the United States. The principal product of that study was the Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center, which White founded and subsequently directed from 1976 to 1984 and again from 1992 to 1994. Many friends and colleagues rightly associate Gilbert with the Natural Hazards Center, but his remarkable career-spanning eight decades-encompassed a far broader range of work.

The site provides a brief biography, curriculum vitae, a complete index of publications (along with a list of publications about White), an inventory of the many honors he has received, and more. To document his extraordinary career, to provide a portal through which scholars and other interested persons can access White’s work, and simply to honor the man, the Natural Hazards Center and the Institute of Behavioral Sciences at the University of Colorado have established the Gilbert F. White Web site at http://www.colorado.edu/hazards/gfw/.

2) Meet the 2005 Mary Fran Myers Scholarship Winners

Launched in 2004, the intent of the Mary Fran Myers Scholarship is to recognize outstanding individuals who are committed to disaster research and practice and who have the potential to make a lasting contribution to reducing disaster vulnerability. The scholarship was established to ensure that individuals from all sectors of the hazards community be represented at the Annual Hazards Research and Applications Workshop. This year’s winners, Wei Choong and Ana Pamela Membreno, truly exemplify the spirit of the scholarship. The Natural Hazards Center awarded two scholarships this year because of the sheer excellence of the applications (there was no deciding between the two).

Choong, from Melbourne, Australia, has a background in international development and has worked in Bangladesh, Fiji, Lao PDR, Thailand, and East Timor on development issues such as food security, poverty alleviation, and natural disaster risk management. Over the past two years she has worked at the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) in Bangkok, Thailand, as both a research intern and as part of an Australian Government program - Australian Youth Ambassadors for Development. She has also served as an external evaluator for a disaster prevention and livelihood security project for CARE International in Lao PDR. Through research focused on reducing natural disaster risks at the community level, Choong has developed interests in disasters and development, community based disaster risk management, public awareness and education, and the exploration of indigenous coping strategies. In her pursuit of these interests, she hopes to continue contributing to the existing body of knowledge while working practically at a grass roots level to further reduce risks in developing countries.

Membreno is a civil engineer who recently finished her master of science in rural planning and development at the University of Guelph in Canada. She chose to pursue this degree after working in her native Honduras as a project manager for reconstruction projects in the wake of Hurricane Mitch. Throughout her studies, she pursued an interest in floodplain management (looking specifically at vulnerability reduction measures, institutional capacity building, and promotion of community participation) and is a certified floodplain manager. During the summer of 2004, she did a 12-week internship with the Natural Hazards Project at the Unit of Sustainable Development and Environment of the Organization of the American States in Washington, DC. Through this work, Membreno was encouraged to further pursue vulnerability reduction issues with the possibility of implementing a floodplain manager certificate program for Honduras. Currently she is conducting environmental assessment consistency analyses for Yap Environmental Systems Analysis Limited-Guelph and hoping to return to Honduras to work on development projects in the area of disaster management.

Congratulations again to the winners and many thanks to the scholarship’s namesake. Mary Fran Myers, a former codirector of the Natural Hazards Center was a major guiding force for the Center as well as the broader hazards community. Reducing disaster losses, both nationally and internationally, was her life’s work. By the time of her death in April 2004, her numerous contributions to the field were recognized by thousands of individuals and organizations throughout the world. Based on Myers’ explicit request, scholarship funds are used to bring individuals to the annual workshop who otherwise might not be able to attend. A gift account has been established with the University of Colorado Foundation. Contributions can be sent to Mary Fran Myers Scholarship, Natural Hazards Center, University of Colorado, 482 UCB, Boulder, CO 80309-0482. Checks should be made payable to the “University of Colorado Foundation.” Visit http://www.colorado.edu/hazards/scholarship/ for more information.

3) Congratulations to 2005’s Student Paper Competition Winners

The Natural Hazards Center is pleased to announce the winners of the 2005 Hazards and Disasters Paper Competition for Undergraduate and Graduate Students. This year’s call for papers resulted in one and a half times more submissions than last year’s and reflected a broader diversity of academic interests, which included agricultural communications and journalism; anthropology; disaster and crisis management; community and regional planning; emergency administration and planning; environmental management and planning; geography; land use planning, management, and design; mechanical engineering; politics; rural sociology; sociology; urban and regional science; and veterinary sciences.

Students were encouraged to submit recent literature reviews, theoretical arguments, case studies, and descriptions of research results on topics relevant to the social/behavioral aspects of hazards and disasters. Papers were received from all over the world, including Australia, Canada, Chile, India, Pakistan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Topics included tsunamis, typhoons, climate change, wildfires, floodplains, storm surges, and military response to crises.

The winning papers were written by undergraduate Sheridan Wimmer of Kansas State University and graduate student Hannah Brenkert of the University of Colorado at Boulder. Wimmer’s paper, “Can Biotechnology Help Slow Global Warming?” addressed the use of biotechnology and global warming. Brenkert’s “The Place of Fire” focused on the behaviors and perspectives of residents living in fire-prone areas. Copies of the winning papers are available online at http://www.colorado.edu/hazards/SPC/.

4) Reader Contribution: Article About Earthquake Notifications

Maurice Lamontagne has notified us about the availability of an article he has written:

“Making Earthquake Notifications More Useful to Emergency Managers” appears in Seismological Research Letters, Volume 76, p. 387-402.

When an earthquake occurs, seismological organizations send notifications of its occurrence to emergency organizations. In this paper, we present earthquake impact information for eastern North American earthquakes that makes these notifications more useful and less subject to erroneous interpretation. It is suggested that regular contacts be maintained between seismologists and users of the information. All these suggestions can be implemented with little additional costs and could prove very useful in earthquake emergencies.

Reprints are available from the author: Maurice Lamontagne, Natural Hazards Program, Natural Resources Canada, 588 Booth Street, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0Y7 Canada; e-mail: malamont with @nrcan.gc.ca (e-mail address formatted per author’s instructions).

5) Call for Presentations: Partners in Emergency Preparedness

Researchers, scholars, and practitioners in emergency management are invited to participate in the Partners in Emergency Preparedness Conference to be held April 18-19, 2006.

Partners in Emergency Preparedness has conducted a very successful regional conference each spring for over 10 years. The conference has grown into the largest emergency management conference in Washington State and the Pacific Northwest, bringing together representatives from nonprofit organizations, public agencies, private businesses, the military, healthcare organizations, and schools to explore emergency management issues, principles, and practices.

The 2005 conference drew 550+ attendees and 45 presenters over a two-day period. Conference attendees included local government emergency managers, other state and local officials, business and industry representatives, the military reserve and National Guard, public utilities, and volunteer agencies. The conference has sold out three years in a row, and is moving to a larger venue (capacity of 800-900 participants) for 2006.

If you are interested in making a presentation at the 2006 conference, send an abstract or brief description of your topic no later than August 31, 2005, to John Labadie, Partners in Emergency Preparedness Conference; (206) 684-8311; e-mail: john.labadie@seattle.gov.

6) National Academies Research Associateship Programs

The National Academies administers Postdoctoral and Senior Research Awards through its Associateship Programs, part of the Policy and Global Affairs Division. The Research Associateship Programs are sponsored by federal laboratories and National Aeronautics and Space Administration Research Centers at over one hundred locations in the United States and overseas.

Research Associateship awards are:

  • Given for the purpose of conducting research at a specific laboratory chosen by the applicant,
  • Made to doctoral level scientists and engineers who can apply their special knowledge and research talents to research areas that are of interest to them and to the host laboratories and centers, and
  • Made to postdoctoral associates (within five years of the doctorate) and senior associates (normally five years or more beyond the doctorate).

Submission deadline is August 1, 2005 (5:00 p.m. EST). For more information and to apply online, visit http://www4.nas.edu/pga/rap.nsf/.

7) Survey Last Call: Natural Hazards Library

To better serve your needs, the Natural Hazards Center is conducting an assessment of the Natural Hazards Library (http://www.colorado.edu/hazards/library/). As part of this assessment, the Center is surveying both producers and users of research and knowledge on extreme events. The survey is extremely important and will provide answers to questions regarding user needs, library usage, and how the existing resources and services can be augmented and improved. It consists of nine questions and should take approximately two minutes to complete. To ensure confidentiality, this survey is anonymous and your responses cannot be linked to you.

To make this as simple as possible, the Center has posted the survey on the Web at http://www.colorado.edu/hazards/library/survey/. It will remain online through June 30, 2005.

Please note that you do not have to be familiar with the Natural Hazards Library to take the survey. If you have any questions about the survey or the library, please contact the Natural Hazards Library at hazlib@colorado.edu or (303) 492-5787.

8) Some New Web Resources

[Below are some new or updated Internet resources we've discovered. For an extensive list of useful Internet sites dealing with hazards, see http://www.colorado.edu/hazards/resources/.]

“Legal Issues Concerning State and Local Authority to Restrict the Transportation of Hazardous Materials by Rail,” a new report from the ongressional Research Service, provides an overview of federal statutes pertaining to the transportation of hazardous materials by rail and discusses some of the legal issues with respect to both federal preemption and the dormant commerce clause.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has released this new tool, the Emergency Preparedness Resource Inventory, which allows local and regional planners to assemble an inventory of critical resources that would be useful in responding to a bioterrorist attack.

This document from the Federal Emergency Management Agency clarifies the relationship between the Hospital Emergency Incident Command System and the National Incident Management System.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has launched this Web page highlighting their diverse hurricane research. The page is a compilation of data from various satellites and computer models, and it explains why and how NASA investigates hurricanes.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has updated its online photo library, a collection of more than 9,200 images of natural disasters and terrorist events, including response and recovery activities, taken by FEMA’s disaster photographers. The majority of photographs in the collection are in the public domain and may be downloaded, reproduced, and distributed for educational and informational purposes without further permission from FEMA.

EnvoyWorldWide’s second annual survey, Trends in Business Continuity and Risk Management, was designed to leverage a regionally diverse group of business continuity professionals to identify business continuity and disaster recovery practices and trends and to compare trends to those uncovered in the initial survey conducted in May 2004. Read the results here.

9) Conferences and Training

[Below are some recent announcements received by the Natural Hazards Center. A comprehensive list of upcoming hazards-related meetings and training is available from our Web site: http://www.colorado.edu/hazards/conf.html.]

Topics in Public Health Preparedness. Host: University of California - Los Angeles Center for Public Health and Disasters. South Lake Tahoe, California: June 23-24, 2005. Topics will include quarantine and isolation, field epidemiology basics, creating a disaster plan, and writing a memoranda of understanding. Participants can register for one or more of the above workshops. A special session on June 22 will focus on developing grant-writing skills. For more information, visit http://www.cphd.ucla.edu/.

Hemispheric Meeting on Natural Disaster Reduction of University Campuses in the Americas. Caracas, Venezuela: July 12-15, 2005. A track at this meeting, organized by the Office for Sustainable Development and Environment of the Organization of American States, will focus on natural disaster risk reduction to campus facilities (Disaster Reduction of University Campuses in the Americas - DRUCA). The conference will discuss the five DRUCA support areas of action: information dissemination, capacity building, technical training, issue awareness, and a mentoring program. It will also define a plan of action, present DRUCA guidance material, and discuss the challenges the higher education sector is facing in designing and preparing mitigation plans. Spanish will be the official language of the meeting. For more information, contact Stephen O. Bender, Office for Sustainable Development and Environment; (202) 458-3005; e-mail: sbender@oas.org; http://www.oas.org/usde/Events/DRUCAeng.htm.

Friction, Fracture and Earthquake Physics Conference. Santa Barbara, California: August 15-19, 2005. The processes of sliding, cracking, and deformation involve complex physical processes over a range of length scales from atoms to tectonic plates. This conference will involve researchers who consider these processes both in the context of engineered systems and in the context of earthquakes. The goal of the conference is to communicate advances by researchers in physics, mechanics, materials science, seismology, and geophysics across disciplines. By bringing together a diverse interdisciplinary group to explore the physical processes that control deformation, rupture, and slip at all scales, it aims to identify some problems that can serve as the nexus of interdisciplinary research in this area. For more information, contact Jocelyn Quick, Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, University of California - Santa Barbara, CA 93106-4030; (805) 893-5422; e-mail: jocelyn@kitp.ucsb.edu; http://www.kitp.ucsb.edu/activities/earthq_c05/?id=323.

Summer Institute for Public Health Practice. Sponsor: American Public Health Association (APHA). Seattle, Washington: August 22-26, 2005. The institute provides public health professionals with training that is immediately relevant and applicable, with track objectives mapped to emergency preparedness competencies. This year’s institute is organized around the theme “Public Health Preparedness: Tools for the Frontline.” Case-based studies in public health law, financial accountability, leadership in emergencies, epidemic investigation, study design, and geospatial analysis will be generally applicable to public health practice. Participants will take part in one of five concurrent tracks: Introduction to Epidemiologic Methods, Intermediate Epidemiologic Methods, Public Health Management: A Case-Based Approach, Leadership Challenges During Public Health Emergencies, or Geographic Information Systems (GIS). For more information, contact Nedra Pautler, APHA, 800 I Street NW, Washington, DC 20001; (206) 616-9245; e-mail: pautler@u.washington.edu; http://healthlinks.washington.edu/nwcphp/niphp/.

2005 NEMA Annual Conference. Organizer: National Emergency Management Association (NEMA). Anchorage, Alaska: August 28-31, 2005. This conference provides an opportunity for emergency managers to come together to discuss the many challenges that face the community today, share solutions, grow professionally, and network with peers. Attendees will hear from those involved in shaping the future of homeland security and emergency management, strengthen relationships with partner organizations, and discuss NEMA’s views on all hazards emergency preparedness. For more information, contact NEMA, PO Box 11910, Lexington, KY 40578; (859) 244-8000; e-mail: nemaadmin@csg.org; http://www.nemaweb.org/?1331.

National Floodproofing Conference III. Sponsors: Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Nonstructural Flood Proofing Committee, Federal Emergency Management Agency, FloodMaster Barriers, Inc. Charleston, West Virginia: September 12-16, 2005. This triennial conference will build upon its predecessors with a focus on floodproofing techniques, materials, floodproofing and elevation contractors, current issues and programs, new federal tax implications, and the various means of funding floodproofing projects. For more information, contact the ASFPM, 2809 Fish Hatchery Road, Madison, WI 53713; (608) 274-0123; e-mail: asfpm@floods.org; http://www.floods.org/Conferences,%20Calendar/nfpc3.asp.

Integrated Planning Against Risk: Exploring Interfaces Between Disasters and Development. Organizer: Centre for Development Studies, University of Wales - Swansea, Bangkok, Thailand: September 17-18, 2005. This seminar about “The Management of Risk and Vulnerability after the Trauma of Relocation” will focus on South and Southeast Asia. It will examine comparative experience in the design of management and relief measures for the rehabilitation of communities and population after their displacement by natural disasters such as tsunamis, supercyclones, and earthquakes and the rehabilitation of households and communities after their displacement by major infrastructure projects such as reservoir development and urban transport improvements. For more information, visit http://www.swansea.ac.uk/cds/research/ESRCseminarprog6.htm.

2005 General Conference of the International Risk Governance Council (IRGC): Implementing a Global Approach to Risk Governance. Beijing, China: September 20-21, 2005. The intent of this conference is to provide specific ideas for implementing improved governance strategies for major transboundary risks. Risk areas of discussion will include critical infrastructures, emerging technologies, natural disasters, and changes in the environment. For more information, contact the IRGC, 7-9 Chemin de Balexert, Châtelaine, CH-1219 Geneva, Switzerland; +41 (0)22 795 1730; http://www.irgc.org/.

Dam Safety 2005. Organizer: Association of State Dam Safety Officials (ASDSO). New Orleans, Louisiana: September 25-29, 2005. This annual conference offers attendees professional development, a trade show, issue forums, networking, and technology transfer opportunities. Session topics at this year’s event will include seismic issues, dam failures and incidents, emergency preparedness, and more. For more information, contact the ASDSO, 450 Old Vine Street, Floor 2, Lexington, KY 40507; (859) 257-5140; e-mail: info@damsafety.org; http://www.damsafety.org/.

Geological Society of America Annual Meeting. Salt Lake City, Utah: October 16-19, 2005. At this annual meeting, geoscientists, educators, and policy makers from around the world will come together to share the latest advances and discoveries and work to improve the understanding and application of science in society. This year’s program features more than 20 sessions focused on education-related topics and a plethora of sessions addressing geologic hazards, resource utilization, and environmental policy. Abstracts are due July 12, 2005. For more information, contact Adolph Yonkee; e-mail: ayonkee@weber.edu; http://www.geosociety.org/meetings/2005/.

IAI Training Institute on Vulnerability Associated with Climate Variability and Climate Change in the Americas. Organizers: Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI), National University of Asuncion (Faculty of Exact and Natural Sciences). Asuncion, Paraguay: October 17-28, 2005. Climate change and variability is a global threat that is likely to adversely affect natural and human systems and undermine long-term economic development prospects. The cooperation among climate experts, natural resource and risk managers, and decision makers is needed to improve an integrated understanding of the environmental processes taking place and their socioeconomic impacts to provide end users and decision makers with useful information and better tools to deal with these changes and the potential negative impacts. The central objective of this training institute is to help develop and strengthen local and regional capacity (human resources) to deal with vulnerability associated with climate variability and climate change in the Americas. Application deadline is August 15, 2005. For more information, contact the IAI; +55 12 3945 6866; e-mail: i2005-v@dir.iai.int; http://www.institutes.iai.int/.

Extreme Natural Hazards. Organizer: Royal Society. London, United Kingdom: October 26-27, 2005. This meeting will focus on extreme geophysical and astrophysical hazards, including earthquakes, supervolcanic eruptions, tsunamis, near Earth objects, and giant landslides. Speakers will discuss the frontiers and challenges in the science of extreme natural hazards as well as related topics, such as prediction, forecasting, monitoring, and technological innovations. The meeting will assess the role of the international scientific community and how these efforts can be better coordinated, integrated, and funded to improve the ability to anticipate and mitigate the effects of extreme events. Issues of the accessibility of relevant science to poor nations with limited scientific infrastructure and expertise will also be discussed. For more information, contact Hannah Jemmett; +44 (0) 207 451 2575; e-mail: discussion.meetings@royalsoc.ac.uk; http://www.royalsoc.ac.uk/event.asp?id=3177&month=10,2005.

IAI Training Institute on Climate and Health in the Americas. Organizers: Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI), University of the West Indies. Kingston, Jamaica: November 7-18, 2005. There is a great need to strengthen the capacity to understand and assess the impacts of climate change and variability on public health with the aim of providing better tools for decision-makers to develop adaptation strategies to reduce or prevent such impacts. The approach is fundamentally cross-sectoral and cross-disciplinary in that the health sector must engage professionals in climate, weather, ecosystems, water resources, agriculture, and various social sciences. The central objective of this training institute is to help develop and strengthen local and regional capacity (human resources) to deal with the impacts of climate variability and climate change on human health in the populations of the Americas, particularly Latin America and the Caribbean. Application deadline is August 15, 2005. For more information, contact the IAI; +55 12 3945 6889; e-mail: i2005-ch@dir.iai.int; http://www.institutes.iai.int/.

10) Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Fellowship in Bioterrorism Law and Policy and Public Health Law

Georgetown University Law Center and the Center for Law and the Public’s Health at Georgetown and Johns Hopkins Universities are seeking qualified candidates for a fellowship in bioterrorism law and policy and public health law. Full-time fellows will be based at Georgetown University Law Center and work with faculty and students at Georgetown and Johns Hopkins on a two-year project. The project involves analyzing the federal framework for response to a high consequence public health event. Candidates must have their JD degree and exceptional academic credentials, including publication and strong research interests and knowledge or experience in public health law and ethics. Candidates with an MPH degree or public health experience may be preferred.

Applications are due by July 15, 2005, should be made by letter with resume, writing sample, official law school transcript, and public health school transcript (if applicable). For further information or to apply, contact Lawrence Gostin, Center for Law and the Public’s Health, Georgetown University Law Center, 600 New Jersey Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001; (202) 662-9373; e-mail: gostin@law.georgetown.edu.

Questions for the readership and contributions to this e-newsletter are encouraged. Questions and messages should be indicated as such and sent to hazctr@colorado.edu.

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