Grant will develop indicators of effectiveness for post-disaster recovery efforts

December 14, 2012
A natural disaster devastates a community. In its wake, people return, aid comes in and rebuilding begins. But as lives, buildings and services are reconstructed, what benchmarks let everyone know that the recovery underway is effective?
Dr. Jen Horney

Dr. Jen Horney

That is the focus of a new study by Jennifer Horney PhD, research assistant professor of epidemiology and director of the UNC Center for Public Health Preparedness at the Gillings School of Global Public Health, and Philip Berke PhD, professor of city and regional planning and deputy director of the Institute for the Environment, both at The University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.

The grant, “Measuring Community Recovery: Developing Indicators for Health Community Recovery,” is funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate. The study will develop and validate key indicators of community recovery after a natural disaster. Such measurable indicators of community recovery have not been developed for officials at the federal, state or local level.

“This project is particularly important because it focuses on giving practitioners at the federal, state, and local levels the tools they need to measure how well a community is recovering from a disaster,” Horney said.

The grant will be administered by the Coastal Hazards Center of Excellence (CHC) at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Phase 1 of the project funds two graduate research assistants as part of its $100,000 initial budget. The grant can expand to more than $420,000, pending funding in years two and three.

“As communities begin to recover from the effects of Hurricane Sandy, this project is not only timely, but will provide important actionable tools for practitioners on the ground,” said Gavin Smith, PhD, executive director of the CHC and co-principal investigator for the project.



UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: David Pesci, director of communications, (919) 962-2600 or