About the Author
Anita Chandra (Dr.P.H., Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; M.P.H., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) is a Director of the Justice, Infrastructure and Environment division at the RAND Corporation, as well as a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. Her background is in public health, child and adolescent development, and community-based participatory research and program evaluation. She currently leads or co-leads studies on community resilience and long-term disaster recovery; deployment and military families; and child health and well-being. She serves as the RAND Principal Investigator of the multi-year Los Angeles County Community Disaster Resilience project, an effort to implement and evaluate community resilience-building strategies with particular focus on strengthening linkages between government and nongovernmental organizations and leveraging community assets for disaster resilience. The Los Angeles work has now extended to the District of Columbia, where she is leading a similar effort entitled Resilient DC. Dr. Chandra's work also included initiatives in the Gulf South, including a study of disaster case management and development of a community resilience training module for community organizations, which features the benefits of sustainable development as part of overall community resilience. She has also led or co-led several studies in public health systems research with attention to addressing the needs of historically vulnerable populations. Joie Acosta (Ph.D.,University of Hawai'i) is a Behavioral Scientist at RAND and a community and cultural psychologist. Dr. Acosta specializes in community-based participatory research and evaluation of issues related to the behavioral health consequences of disaster, community resilience, and long-term recovery. She has worked with the Red Cross and local service providers to develop recommendations for involving NGOs in disaster response and recovery and has co-authored reports on the role of NGOs in long-term human recovery, lessons learned regarding disaster case management, and community resilience. She has experience developing and conducting community-based participatory research across multiple sites and providing technical assistance to build evaluation and program capacity for a variety of clients, including national and local organizations; community partnerships and coalitions; state and federal agencies; and academic institutions. Addressing disaster and its resulting complex social problems has required Dr. Acosta to develop expertise in the conceptualization and design of high quality and objective research projects that use multiple methods, including focus groups, individual interviews, case studies, and on-line and paper surveys; with a variety of adolescent populations including low-income, low literacy, culturally diverse, and non-English speakers. For example, Dr. Acosta led an assessment of the Disaster Case Management Program in Louisiana. Utilizing case management data, Dr. Acosta developed an index of vulnerability that was correlated significantly with increased difficulties meeting case management goals (e.g., getting families to permanent housing).