Research Counts

The Research Counts series serves as a platform for hazards and disaster scholars to provide insights about research findings and the enduring lessons of disaster, as well as to raise new questions that are worthy of exploration. The pieces in the series are brief, drawn from a variety of disciplines, and intended for a broad audience.

By Jennifer Collins and Amy Polen

Concerns about contracting COVID-19 in a shelter environment can lead some to shelter in place, even when it’s not the safest option. Learn more in the latest Research Counts.

By Barbara Carby and Therese Ferguson

Inclusive planning that maximizes the skills and abilities of those with impairments can increase disaster resilience for the whole community.

By Oronde Drakes, Eric Tate, Jayton Rainey, and Sam Brody

Federal programs to help individuals after disaster don’t always provide equitable recovery. This latest Research Counts article looks at how some areas are underserved.

By Joshua G. Behr, Jennifer L. Whytlaw, Nicole S. Hutton, Jennifer Marshall, Kelsey Merlo, and Wie Yusuf

Prepping shelters during a pandemic is not business as usual. Find out how to plan ahead for a safer facility.

By Jeffrey Schlegelmilch, Jackie Ratner, Daniel Kushner, and Susanna Aguilar

Investments in electrical infrastructure can have big payouts for societal resilience, but more data is needed to help planners and policymakers make the case for funding. An exercise in Chicago offers a roadmap for how we can begin to quantify the benefits.

By Tener Goodwin Veenema and Mary Casey-Lockyer

Shelter residents often arrive with complex medical and mental health needs, but with careful planning, providers can assure access to necessary services.

By Amy Helene Schnall

Public health surveillance in disaster shelters is a critical to identifying immediate needs within shelters and health trends in general. See how it works.

By Kelsey Merlo, Katrina Conen, Wie Yusuf, Jennifer Marshall, Joshua G. Behr, and Elizabeth Dunn

Shelter work can be stressful enough without worries about contracting COVID-19. Learn what can be done to support worker mental health in a pandemic.

By Carol S. North and Richard V. King

Mass evacuation centers receive an influx of residents, all dealing with some level of trauma. Lessons previously learned from designing mental health services in such large-scale shelters can assist in meeting the needs of evacuees.

By Shefali Juneja Lakhina

Conducting research during these trying times will take all the foundational techniques at our disposal—and more. Read more to learn how conducting caring research can support both participants and researchers.

If you are interested in contributing to this series, please contact Natural Hazards Center Director Lori Peek directly at


Research Counts is made possible with funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF Award #1635593) and supplemental support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration-National Integrated Drought Information System (NOAA-NIDIS). Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NSF, FEMA, NOAA-NIDIS, or Natural Hazards Center.