The University of Iowa

Past Events - 2013

Global Health Studies Workshop: Profit from Pain? The Good and Bad of the Disaster Response Industry

November 7-9, 2013
See the workshop poster

In 2011, 308 aid workers were killed, kidnapped or wounded while providing humanitarian assistance.  Should philanthropic donations be used for private security services for aid workers?  Should aid organizations pay bribes, protection money or other corrup fees if these activities are the only means of providing aid to those needing it?

This workshop will bring together experts from within and outside the University to explore the intricacies, ethics and controversies surrounding the humanitarian aid industry. What role do corporations have in providing both donated and profitable aid services? When should humanitarian aid services be turned over to the local economy?   Can provision of humanitarian aid do more harm than good to a community?   Does the UN Security Council use humanitarian intervention as one of the mechanisms to legitimize armed intervention? These are some of the questions that will be examined in this interactive and provocative  workshop.


Enroll under course number 152:125:SCA Topics in Global Health, for 1 semester hour.

For  community members or for students who wish to just sit in for a specific day or two, please email Sarolta Graves ( with the following information:

Date(s) you anticipate coming
Students or Faculty:  College/program/major
Community Member:  Representing selves or a community organization

There is no fee to register as a community member.

Workshop presenters

Kate Stillwell co-founded and helps lead the Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Foundation, a public-private partnership advancing earthquake science, risk assessment, and risk reduction throughout the world.  As a licensed structural engineer, Kate has practiced both independently and with firms, focusing on earthquake-resistant design and improving post-earthquake resilience.  She helped found and serves pro-bono to lead the US Resiliency Council, a start-up non-profit that administers and reviews building ratings for disaster resilience.  Kate earned a Bachelor of Civil Engineering degree from the University of Minnesota, a Master's degree in Structural Engineering from Stanford University, and an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley.

Charles Huyck is the Executive Vice President of ImageCat, Inc. As a founding partner, Mr. Huyck has been instrumental in developing business strategies for integrating spatial technologies and risk assessment. Operationally, he oversees a team of engineers, scientists, and programmers developing CAT modeling and analytic tools for risk assessment. He is an active member of the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI), and currently stands as Chair of the IT committee. He has a B.S. in Geography from the University of Iowa.

Mr. Huyck’s career path started at the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services following the Northridge earthquake, where he worked with a small team to support post-event GIS operations. Shortly afterward in 1996, he joined EQE where he began his work with Ronald Eguchi to focus on the challenge of integrating GIS and remote sensing technologies into disaster simulation, loss estimation, and CAT modeling programs- bringing to the forefront such technologies as earthquake damage detection with remotely sensed images, earthquake transportation and lifeline disruption analyzed with GIS network analysis, and development of building exposure databases from satellite images. This early work formed the foundation for launching ImageCat, which has been uniquely positioned in the risk community as a consulting firm specializing in the intersection of engineering and geospatial technologies for risk management.

See more presenter bios