The U.S. Naval Hospital Ship Comfort docked in Puerto Rico after Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck the island. ©Joe Piette, 2017.

Managing disaster preparedness and response in U.S. territories involves navigating a complicated array of cascading disasters, limited access to resources, a history of colonialism, and a global pandemic. To better understand the social and public health impacts of disasters throughout these regions, the Natural Hazards Center—in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Science Foundation—issued 15 awards to study the primary public health issues faced by American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The initial findings from these studies are now available in the first of a series of Public Health Reports from our Research Award Program. The reports are focused around themes of mass care and sheltering; public health services; public health, education, and schools; and compound hazards and cascading disasters. Find the entire series here or browse individual reports below.


Co-Designing a Participatory Community Mapping Method for Informal Sheltering in Puerto Rico
Jonathan Sury, Yiyuan Jasmine Qin, Robert Soden, Gabriela Quijano, and Yesenia Delgado Castillo


Cascading Disasters, Gender, and Vulnerability in Southwestern Puerto Rico Waleska Sanabria León, Jane Henrici, M. Gabriela Torres, Alitza Cardona, Anna Fairbairn, and Elizabeth Eaton


Calculating the Social Vulnerability Index for Guam
Yvette C. Paulino, Grazyna Badowski, Jade S. N. Chennaux, Monica Guerrero, Casierra Cruz, Romina King, and Sela Panapasa


Sharing During Disasters
Karl Kim, Jiwnath Ghimire, and Eric Yamashita


Exploring the Long-Term Impact of Cascading Disasters in the U.S. Virgin Islands on High School Student and Teacher Mental Health and Resilience
Leonard Huggins and Ted Serrant


Nonprofit Response to Concurrent and Consecutive Disaster Events in Puerto Rico
Ivis Garcia, Divya Chandrasekhar, N. Emel Ganapati, Kevin Fagundo Ojeda, Jose E Velazquez-Diaz, Kaila Witkowski, and Pablo Jose Rivera Miranda


Frontline Government Workers
Kula Francis, Nisha Clavier, and Kenny Hendrickson


Excess Mortality and Associated Risk Factors Related to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico
Kristen Cowan and Diego Zavala


Compound Hazards, Evacuations, and Shelter Choices
Jennifer Collins, Amy Polen, Elizabeth Dunn, Leslie Maas Cortes, Erik Ackerson, Janis Valmond, Ernesto Morales, and Delián Colón-Burgos


Relationships Between Distribution of Disaster Aid, Poverty, and Health in Puerto Rico
Alison Chopel, Antonio Fernós Sagebien, and Laura Gorbea Díaz


Real-Time Migration Tracking to Puerto Rico after Natural Hazard Events
Alejandro Arrieta, Shu-Ching Chen, Juan Pablo Sarmiento, and Richard Olson


When Nobody Came to Help Me: Protective Factors for College Students During Disasters in Puerto Rico
Maria L. Lara Hernandez, Félix A. López-Román, Elena Martínez-Torres, and Sol C. Molina-Parrilla


The Effect of School Services Disruptions on Educational Outcomes After Consecutive Disasters in Puerto Rico
Eileen V. Segarra-Alméstica, Yolanda Cordero-Nieves, Héctor Cordero-Guzmán, José Caballero-Cueto, Indira Luciano-Montalvo, Sylvia Martínez-Mejias, and Hilda Rivera-Rivera


Photovoice and Cultural Competence in Disaster Recovery in St. Croix
Monique Constance-Huggins and Alexis Sharpe