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Brenda PhillipsBrenda D. Phillips, Ph.D. is a Senior Researcher with the Center for the Study of Disasters and Extreme Events and is a Full Professor in the Fire and Emergency Management Program, Department of Political Science, at Oklahoma State University  where she teaches courses in emergency management, social vulnerability and community relations.  Her work on vulnerable populations has been funded multiple times by the National Science Foundation, U.S. Geological Survey and others. Dr. Phillips has given invited presentations to the U.S. National Weather Service, the U.S. National Academies of Science, the New Zealand Ministries of Civil Defence and of Health, and the Australian Emergency Management Institute among others. Her work has been published in numerous scholarly journals, refereed proceedings and books and has been posted on the FEMA Higher Education web site.

Richard Krajeski (holding a book titled "Mass Emergencies and Disasters")Rev. Richard Krajeski has served the Presbyterian Church and the ecumenical community as an ordained pastor for over 40 years and the disaster response community for 30 years. He has an extensive experience in clinical psychology, organizational and community organizing and development, spiritual development, and Volunteer Management. For two years following the great flood of 1985 in West Virginia and Maryland Rev. Krajeski served as the Pastoral Care Consultant for the interfaith recovery effort.  Dick has been a Disaster Resource Specialist for Church World Service with special skills in the areas of long-term spiritual and emotional health, and preparedness and mitigation. He is a member of the Presbyterian Disaster Response Team, and served as a member of the national Presbyterian Disaster Response Advisory Committee. With his wife Kristina J. Peterson he has written much of the disaster response materials that are used by the religious community. Rev. Krajeski was awarded the Disaster Response Meritorious Service Award by CWS in 1999 for “his outstanding work and advocacy with marginalized people and for being the conscience of CWS disaster response.” Dick retired after serving churches in Kentucky and the coal fields of West Virginia for 40 years. Dick spends his time as a researcher and tutor in social theory. Disk is a woodworker and gives used and discarded wood another life.

Burt Wallrich

Burt Wallrich has worked and contributed extensively in the I&R (Information and Referral) field. He has worked for INFO LINE of Los Angeles for a total of 15 years, with disaster planning and training as his main focus during the first 13 years, and the remaining two years in the implementation of the 2-1-1 project, an essential service providing information about and referrals to human services for every day needs and in times of crisis. He led the first state wide disaster preparedness training for local NGOs in California in partnership with American Red Cross and Governor’s Office of Emergency Service. Burt is the author of numerous publications on I&R in disaster response and recovery. Returning to his passion in disaster preparedness, he is now President of the Emergency Network Builders, a consulting firm specializing in providing services to local emergency management agencies. 

Ben WisnerBen Wisner Omnivorous student of disaster risk reduction, I have been at it for 42 years.  My training is in geography – hence interests in both natural and human sides of risk – and philosophy of science – which makes me rather critical and sometimes grumpy.  Area interests and expertise are Africa (especially Horn, Eastern, and Southern), Latin America (especially Mexico and Central America), then Asia (esp. South and Southeast, but also with interests in China – and who wouldn’t?). My main thematic concerns are “mainstreaming” disaster risk reduction (DRR) into development – coming as I do from the development studies side, and with nested scale relations from global to local and back again.  Coupled environment-human systems are part of this, of course, especially in an era of rapid global environmental change. Lead author of At Risk: Natural Hazards, People’s Vulnerability and Disaster, 2nd ed., London: Routledge, 2004 and co-creator of RADIX: Home for Radical Interpretations of Disaster and Radical Solutions www.radixonline.org, daughter web site that developed from the inspiration of GDN.

Suzanne Frew

Kim Shoaf

Barbara Sorensen

Maria Vorel

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Gender in Disaster Contexts

Why are women more vulnerable?


- Women have less access to resources that are essential in disaster preparedness, mitigation and rehabilitation.

- Women are victims of the gendered division of labour.

- Because women are primarily responsible for domestic duties such as

childcare and care for the elderly or disabled, they do not have the liberty of migrating to look for work following a disaster. (PAHO Fact Sheet, Program on Women, Health and Development)

Read more in our Resources page.