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 Sept. 18, 2003 -- No. 477

UNC faculty experts can help reporters with Hurricane Isabel-related issues

Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are available to discuss the possible effects of Hurricane Isabel as it proceeds toward the U.S.ís Eastern seaboard. The following reflects an update of information distributed Sept. 16 and begins with todayís (Sept. 17) most recent additions:

Dr. Margaret S. Miles, a professor at UNCís School of Nursing, has experience in dealing with the mental health of natural disaster survivors. She participated as a volunteer in helping citizens of Grifton, N.C., following Hurricane Floyd in 1999 and earlier was involved during the rescue operation of the Hyatt Hotel Collapse in Kansas City and in the mental health follow-up of the disaster. She can speak about the three phases of disaster Ė pre-impact, impact and post-impact Ė and how to help survivors cope with their resulting psychological reaction, including disillusionment in having lost an old way of life and reconstruction in going forward with life. Miles may be reached at mmiles@email.unc.edu.

Dr. Hans Paerl, William R. Kenan professor within UNCís Institute of Marine Sciences, studies the nutrient production dynamics of aquatic microbes within coastal food webs, focusing on environmental controls of algal production. He leads the UNC Institute of Marine Sciencesí Microbial Ecology-Nutrient Cycling Laboratory. Paerl has led several studies to examine the short- and longer-term effects of hurricanes Dennis, Floyd and Irene on N.C. estuaries and the Pamlico Sound. He plans to remain in the Morehead City area (a possible site of the hurricaneís point of impact) and may be reached at (252) 723-9082 (cell) or hpaerl@email.unc.edu.

David J. Brower, research professor in UNCís department of city and regional planning, researches growth management, coastal zone management, mitigating the impacts of natural hazards, sustainable development and environmental ethics. In addition to research and teaching, Brower has worked extensively with local governments (especially on N.C.ís Outer Banks), state governments and international governments (including Caribbean nations). He is co-author of "Catastrophic Coastal Storms: Hazard Mitigation and Development Management." Brower may be reached at (919) 962-4775 or brower@email.unc.edu.

Dr. Seth Reice, associate professor of biology, is the author of "The Silver Lining: The Benefits of Natural Disasters," which details how storms, volcanoes, earthquakes, floods and other apparently catastrophic events renew life and boost diversity in ecosystems throughout the world, making them better for people and other species. For information on the book, click on a UNC News Services release at http://www.unc.edu/news/archives/dec01/reice121101.htm. His research has focused on the effect of natural disturbances on environments viewed as stable, as well as the subject of streams. He may be reached at (919) 962-1375 or sreice@bio.unc.edu.

Dr. Jane Brice, assistant professor in UNCís department of emergency medicine and chair of the UNC Hospitals Disaster Preparedness Committee, can share expertise on emergency department disaster preparedness, injuries most common in natural disasters, coordination and mobilization efforts with outlying medical facilities to treat patients injured following a hurricane. Brice also is medical director of Orange County Emergency Medical Services and is participating in the regional preparedness committee, commissioned post-9/11 by North Carolina, to find ways of preparing and mobilizing the region during a disaster. To schedule an interview, call (919) 966-2860 (office), (919) 216-3151 (pager) or scrayton@unch.unc.edu.

Dr. James Fraser, urban geographer and senior research associate with UNCís Center for Urban and Regional Studies, is principal investigator for a UNC project, "Relocation and Decision-making of Natural Disaster Victims," which centers on buyout programs Ė where states purchase flood-prone homes from willing sellers. One of the issues addressed in the project is why some home owners choose to participate in such programs and why some donít. Four hundred people living in 100-year floodplains in Kinston and Greenville (N.C.), San Antonio (Texas) and Grand Forks (N.D.) were interviewed by phone in one project component. A UNC News Services release on the project is available at www.unc.edu/news/archives/aug03/hurricane412.html. He may be reached at (919) 962-6835 or pavement@unc.edu.

Dr. David R. Godschalk, Stephen Baxter professor in UNCís department of city and regional planning, co-wrote "Catastrophic Coastal Storms: Hazard Mitigation and Development Management," a 1989 book that addresses building on the coast to minimize damage and danger posed by hurricanes, recovering from disaster, and future planning issues. He also served as editor of "Natural Hazard Mitigation: Recasting Disaster Policy and Planning," a 1999 book that includes case studies of recovery from Hurricane Andrew and analyzes decision-making processes in the aftermath of a disaster. He serves as a co-investigator on the project mentioned in the biographical sketch above. Godschalk may be reached at (919) 962-5012 or dgod@email.unc.edu.

Dr. John Bane, professor in UNCís department of marine sciences, is an expert in ocean-atmosphere interactions and currently has a class tracking Hurricane Isabel as a class project. He is a member of the scientific investigation team in the SYNOP (SYNoptic Ocean Prediction) Program, the largest and most extensive observational program ever conducted in the Gulf Stream system. For more information on him, click on www.marine.unc.edu/JMB.html. Bane may be reached at (919) 962-0172 or bane@unc.edu.

Dr. John T. Wells, professor and director of UNCís Institute of Marine Sciences, is involved in major research activities including investigations of beach erosion and hurricane impact on Bogue Banks and North Topsail Island, N.C. He may be reached at (252) 726-6841, ext. 124 Ė at his office in Morehead City, N.C., the area some computer models place as point of the hurricaneís impact.

Dr. James F. Smith, adjunct finance professor and director of the Kenan Institute of Private Enterpriseís Center for Business Forecasting at UNCís Kenan-Flagler Business School, can share his opinions about the economic impact on national and state economies. Smith writes Business Forecast, a quarterly newsletter available by subscription, which provides an analysis of the world, national and N.C. economies. For more about Smithís expertise and interests, click here. Smith may be reached at (919) 968-9995, (919) 593-0308 (cell) or smith.jf@mindspring.com.

Joanne Caye, clinical assistant professor at UNCís School of Social Work, has extensive expertise on addressing the reactions of people who have experienced trauma and then experience subsequent trauma. She, along with colleagues, conducted several workshops in eastern North Carolina after Hurricane Floyd on how families cope with disasters and tragedy. She may be reached at (919) 962-3598 or jscaye@email.unc.edu.

Dr. Ed Baker, director of the N.C. Institute for Public Health at UNC School of Public Health, can share insights on preparedness strategies for communities and the state as well as current efforts involving school students and staff. These include staffing of the stateís Public Health Command Center and assisting with a rapid needs assessment for damages once the hurricane comes ashore. Baker is former director of the Public Health Practice Office at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To schedule an interview, call (919) 401-6336 (home), (919) 966-7467 (office), (919) 218-4359 (cell) or lisa_katz@unc.edu.

Dr. Bill Roper, dean of the School of Public Health and a former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, can discuss local, state and federal mobilizations in times of natural disaster as well as potential health effects from a storm such as Isabel. To schedule an interview, call (919) 401-6336 (home), (919) 966-7467 (office), (919) 218-4359 (cell) or lisa_katz@unc.edu.

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Contact: News Services staff