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IE faculty, alum join disaster resilience panel

Photo of Johnson, Nateghi & Surakitbanharn
(l to r) IE Assistant Professors David Johnson and Roshanak Nateghi with ECE’s Dr. Chittayong Surakitbanharn
Photo of PPRI panel
PPRI panel discusses disaster resilience
Two IE faculty and one IE alumnus joined other disaster resilience experts in a panel discussion held by Discovery Park’s Purdue Policy Research Institute (PPRI).

The panel discussion was part of the institute's "Floods, Tornadoes and Disaster Resilience" symposium. Panel members discussed disaster resilience and what society can do to mitigate risks and recover faster in the wake of unprecedented natural and man-made hazards. The IE alumnus and faculty members were:

  • David Johnson, assistant professor of industrial engineering and political science. Johnson is a current principal investigator of the "Decision Support for Flood Risk Mitigation: Automated Data Collection and Visualization Tools" project, funded by the Mellon Foundation. This project is working to develop automated data collection and visualization tools to collect better data for increasing coastal flood risks and address the need for better risk communication.
  • Roshanak Nateghi, assistant professor of industrial engineering and environmental and ecological engineering. Her research focuses on infrastructure resilience for disasters, and involves leveraging advanced analytical tools to address the sustainability and resiliency challenges of our aging infrastructure.
  • Chittayong Surakitbanharn (PhD 2015, industrial engineering), research scientist in electrical and computer engineering, Purdue. His work focuses on the use of social media for disaster response.

"The purposes of the panel were to highlight some of Purdue's strengths in research related to management of natural hazards and the determinants of community resilience, and to get individuals from a variety of backgrounds to discuss different perspectives on resilience," explained Johnson. "The keynote speaker, Daniel Aldrich (formerly of Purdue's political science department), made a strong case that social infrastructure and the strength of community ties before a disaster are often more important than physical infrastructure in determining the extent of losses and the success of emergency response and recovery efforts.

"I also learned a lot more from [Lafayette police chief] Patrick Flannelly about how the local Lafayette community thinks about social capital and how it relates not only to natural hazards but also public safety and crime reduction," he continued. "As someone whose research relates more to policies for risk management in advance of hazardous events, I enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about emergency response and the practical implementation of 'soft measures' that promote community resilience."

The symposium took place in the Purdue Memorial Union West Faculty Lounge on November 6.