210 Pittsboro Street
Campus Box 6210
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-6210

T 919-962-2091
F 919-962-2279

Tip Sheet

For immediate use 

Sept. 2, 2005 -- No. 392

UNC faculty experts can help reporters
with Hurricane-related topics

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill faculty are available to discuss Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and disaster-related topics. The area code for all is 919 unless otherwise indicated.

The Public's Health

Dr. Mark Sobsey, professor of environmental sciences and engineering, can discuss infectious diseases and environmental health, foodborne and airborne disease risks, food safety and water treatment. He often consults with municipalities -- including New York City -- on how to address waste problems in water supplies. His research in part involves identifying and treating waste contamination of water. Recently, he was an advisor to the World Health Organization on scientific and technical matters concerning water, sanitation and health, with a focus on drinking water and SARS. A recipient of a National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Research Career Development Award, Sobsey can be reached at or 966-7303. 

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Dr. David Weber, professor of epidemiology at the UNC School of Public Health, professor of medicine and pediatrics at the UNC School of Medicine and director of UNC Hospitalís departments of hospital epidemiology and occupational health. Weber is associate director of UNC Hospitals' Statewide Program in Infection Control and Epidemiology. His areas of expertise include coronaviruses, HIV and AIDS, infectious diseases, bioterrorism threat to the U.S and sexually transmitted diseases. He can be reached at 347-0639 (pager) 216-1817 or
Note: Stephanie Crayton can assist with Weber interview requests, 966-2860 or

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Dr. William Roper, professor of pediatrics and medicine and dean of the UNC School of Medicine, professor of health policy and public administration in the School of Public Health, CEO of UNC Health Care and vice chancellor for medical affairs. Among his areas of expertise are national public health policy, bioterrorism threats to the U.S., government mobilization in time of crisis, health care access and funding and public health preparedness. Roper is a former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), served on the senior White House staff and was administrator of the Health Care Financing Administration, which is responsible for Medicare and Medicaid. Les Lang can assist with interview requests, 843-9687 or

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Dr. Margaret Bentley, professor of nutrition and associate dean for global health in the School of Public Health, is a medical anthropologist whose research focuses on women and infant's nutrition, infant and child feeding, prevention and management of diarrheal diseases, behavioral research on sexually transmitted diseases, HIV and community-based interventions for nutrition and health. Among other projects overseas, she directs a five-year, longitudinal study to examine risk factors for pediatric obesity in North Carolina. Email:  Her numbers are 843-9962 and 966-9575.

More info on Bentley:

Joanne Caye, assistant clinical professor in the School of Social Work, has taught classes on managing the effects of disasters on families and children. Additionally, she teaches students who plan to go into social work about how to help families and children deal with disasters and conflict. She is the co-author of a book titled "When Their World Falls Apart: Helping Families and Children Manage the Effects of Disasters." She and colleagues conducted workshops in eastern North Carolina after Hurricane Floyd on coping with disasters and tragedy. Contact info: or 962-3598. 

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Dr. Margaret S. Miles, professor at UNCís School of Nursing, has extensive experience studying and dealing with the mental health of natural disaster survivors and grief associated with the loss of family members. 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 among survivors. She can speak about the three phases of disaster -- pre-impact, impact and post-impact -- and how to help survivors cope with their resulting psychological reaction, including disillusionment in having lost an old way of life and reconstruction in moving forward. Contact her at 618-0086 or

City and Regional Planning/Infrastructure

Dr. Thomas J. Campanella, assistant professor of city and regional planning in the College of Arts and Sciences, is co-editor of "The Resilient City: How Modern Cities Recover From Disaster." (Oxford University Press, 2004). Inspired by the events of Sept. 11 and more, "The Resilient City" investigates urban disasters throughout history and around the world, in an effort to determine how and why cities almost inevitably recover and thrive in their wake. The book addresses the questions: "What makes cities able to bounce back from catastrophe so forcefully and symbolically?" "Who decides how they recover?" Campanella can be reached at 962-4776 or For more information on "The Resilient City," visit

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Dr. David H. Moreau, professor of city and regional planning in the College of Arts and Sciences, researches water quality issues and has extensive knowledge of the New Orleansí area levee system. He is knowledgeable about environmental quality assessment and water resources, planning and management of urban water systems and water-based natural disasters. He investigated the effects of Hurricanes Floyd and Fran on flood frequencies and related flood stages in North Carolinaís Neuse and Tar rivers. Moreau serves as chairman of the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission. He can be reached at 962-4756 or

More info on Moreau:

Dr. Raymond J. Burby, professor of city and regional planning in the College of Arts and Sciences, has lived in New Orleans. He can discuss land use and environmental planning and policy, growth management, natural hazards and hazard mitigation plans. He is principal investigator of a National Science Foundation-funded project to improve the quality of applied research on natural disasters and the mitigation of natural and technological hazards. Burby has been a consultant to the Association of State Floodplain Managers and the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana. He can be reached at 962-4774 or

More info on Burby:

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. Besides research and teaching, Brower has worked extensively with local governments (especially on N.C.ís Outer Banks), and state and international governments, including Caribbean nations. He is co-author of "Catastrophic Coastal Storms: Hazard Mitigation and Development Management." He can be reached at 962-4775 or

More info on Brower:

Hurricanes/Emergency Response

Dr. Peter Robinson, professor of geography in UNCís College of Arts and Sciences, also studies weather. Two years ago, after analyzing a centuryís worth of weather data across North Carolina, he concluded that the most intense hurricanes to strike the state were not associated with the worst flooding. Instead, they resulted from lingering tropical storms, back-to-back storms and even melting snow. UNC Press will publish his latest book, North Carolina Weather and Climate, this fall. In the 1970s, Robinson was North Carolinaís state climatologist. He can be reached at 962-3875 (office) or 280-9710 (home).

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Dr. Charles E. Konrad, associate professor of geography, studies climate, including hurricanes. He is especially interested in the relationship between atmospheric patterns such as circulation and moisture and weather events such as heavy rainfall, snowstorms, tornadoes and high winds. His work, which focuses on scales ranging from planetary events to local conditions, can be applied to weather forecasting. He can be reached at 962-3873 (office) or 380-1695 (home).

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Dr. Hans Paerl, William R. Kenan professor at UNCís Institute of Marine Sciences, studies the water quality and ecological ramifications of climatic disturbances, including hurricanes, on estuaries and coastal waters. He leads the UNC Institute of Marine Sciencesí Microbial Ecology-Nutrient Cycling Laboratory. Paerl has directed several studies to examine the short- and longer-term effects of hurricanes Dennis, Floyd and Irene on N.C. estuaries and the Pamlico Sound -- the nationís second largest estuary -- using ferries to conduct water quality monitoring ( He also heads a National Science Foundation Microbial Observatory study on long-term climatic effects on the microbial ecology and overall condition of lakes on San Salvador Island, Bahamas, which is located on the Atlantic "hurricane track" and was devastated last September by Hurricane Frances. He can be reached at (252) 723-9082 (cell) or

More info on Paerl:

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, often making them better for people and other species. His research has focused on streams and the effect of natural disturbances on environments viewed as stable. Contact him at 962-1375 or

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Jennifer Horney, assistant director of the N.C. Center for Public Health Preparedness, was involved in the response to hurricanes Isabel (2003) and Charley (2004), taking part in the rapid needs assessment following landfall and managing the center's Team Epi-Aid. This student volunteer group has also participated in the response to these hurricanes, as well as to a number of other public health emergencies statewide. The N.C. Center for Public Health Preparedness, housed in the UNC School of Public Healthís N.C. Institute of Public Health and department of epidemiology, is one of 20-plus such centers located at schools of public health nationwide. The CDC funds the centers. Horney can be reached at 843-5566 (office), 260-6204 (cell) and 932-9458 (home).

Dr. John Thomas Cooper Jr. is an associate at MDC Inc., an independent nonprofit research organization based in Chapel Hill, and manager of the Emergency Preparedness Demonstration Program (EPD), a new $1.5 million initiative of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to increase disaster awareness and preparedness in disadvantaged areas. The EPD is being conducted through a partnership among FEMA, MDC and the Center for Urban and Regional Studies at UNC. Cooper, who received his doctorate in city and regional planning from UNC in 2004, has researched how the disadvantaged are accounted for in emergency management and has taught a course on disastersí social impacts.  He worked with the N.C. Division of Emergency Management on the Princeville, N.C., Redevelopment Plan, commissioned by President Bill Clintonís Council on the Future of Princeville following Hurricane Floyd in 1999. He can be reached at 968-4531 or

More on Cooper: . A news release on the program can be found at:

Dr. James Fraser, urban geographer and senior research associate with UNCís Center for Urban and Regional Studies, is principal investigator for a project, "Relocation and Decision-making of Natural Disaster Victims," which centers on buyout programs through which states purchase flood-prone homes from willing sellers. One of the issues addressed in the project is why some homeowners choose to participate in such programs and some donít. Four hundred people living in 100-year floodplains in Kinston and Greenville, N.C., San Antonio, Tex., and Grand Forks, N.D., were interviewed by phone in one project component. Fraser also is principal investigator on a national project examining "repetitive loss properties" that experienced multiple floods and co-PI on another examining disadvantaged communities and disaster preparedness. He can be reached at 962-6835. 

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Dr. Laurence B. Rosenfeld, professor of communication studies, is an expert on interpersonal and family communication. He is a nationally certified trainer of "helpers" -- people who go in after disasters to help victims like those who responded following Hurricane Floyd. He also has written a book on helping people manage disastersí effects. Call him at 962-4947. 

More info on Rosenfeld:

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News Services contacts: David Williamson, 962-8596 (w), 732-2991 (h); Lisa Katz, 962-2093 (w), 638-0474 (cell); Deborah Saine, 962-8415 (w).