The University of Iowa

Workshop Presenters

Chad Briggs

Dr. Briggs is the Director of Strategy at Global Interconnections, Senior Fellow at the Institute for Environmental Security in The Hague, and Adjunct Research Professor of Geography at Carleton University. From 2010-2012 he has been a US Department of Defense Minerva Fellow, and also served as the Minerva Chair of Energy and Environmental Security for the US Air Force. While at USAF he directed comprehensive regional assessments of emerging energy and environmental risks, and was lead author on the energy and environmental security strategy futures report in the Asia-Pacific region. Prior to that Dr. Briggs was a Senior Advisor for International Security Affairs at the US Department of Energy, where he was the team leader for the Abrupt Climate Change and Security project at IN-40. He has published widely on issues of vulnerability analysis, cascading risks, and environmental politics, including in geography, public health, and other science disciplines.

Briggs has a PhD in Political Science from Carleton University in Canada (2001), and was previously a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison in International Relations. He was a Visiting Scholar in environmental geography at University College London, was a Fulbright professor in Budapest, Hungary and Berlin, Germany, and has studied as well in Ireland, Serbia, France, Hungary and Norway.

Md Zahidul Arefin Choudhury

University of Iowa, Political Science, Ph.D. Candidate (Spring 2013)
Bachelor of Social Science (BSS) degree, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Masters of Public Affairs and Administration (MPA), Arizona State University, USA

Mr. Choudhury is Ph.D. candidate (ABD), and hopes to graduate in the spring semester of 2013. His areas of specialization include comparative politics, American politics, and political methodology.  He is interested in executive reactions to political crisis and regime legitimacy, especially in Continental Asia and the United States.

His dissertation -- "Politics of Natural Disasters: How Governments Maintain Legitimacy in the Wake of Major Disasters, 1990 - 2010" -- employs a multi-method approach to study the effects of natural disasters on measures of government and system legitimacy crisis. It presents a content analysis based original dataset of governmental responses to major natural disasters in South Asian countries.

Mr. Choudhury has two other major research projects: (1) a cross sectional study on how the competition between ethnic and religious identities affects electoral stability, especially in democracies with majority Muslim population. (2) an experiment on the political impact of the "none of the above" ballot option in parliamentary elections.

He joined the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Dhaka as Assistant Professor in 2007. Currently he is on a study leave to complete his PhD; he will go back to Bangladesh and resume his position at the University of Dhaka upon completion of the degree.

Cara Hamann

Cara from eastern Iowa, Quad-Cities area and attended the University of Iowa for her undergraduate studies where she completed her BS in both Journalism and Psychology. She then moved to Texas and earned her Master’s in Public Health, with a concentration in Epidemiology from the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth. After getting her MPH she moved to Connecticut and worked at Yale University in the Emergency Medicine Section as a research coordinator.

She is currently pursuing a PhD in Epidemiology. Her research interests include injury, alcohol and substance abuse, and mental health. She is especially interested in traumatic injuries and possibilities for interventions in the emergency department setting. 

Luke Juran

Ph.D. Candidate in Geography, University of Iowa
M.A. International Studies, University of Iowa
B.A. Social Science Secondary Education, University of Northern Iowa

Mr. Juran’s research examines post-disaster processes. He is interested in disaster reconstruction, in particular, water and sanitation components of reconstruction and their role in both immediate short-term recovery and sustainable long-term development. Juran conducted his dissertation research as a Fulbright-Nehru Scholar in South India, where he deployed qualitative and quantitative survey instruments, tested water quality, utilized GIS and GPS, and developed a Water Poverty Index. He was also awarded a Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad Grant to Bangladesh entitled Natural Hazards and Related Health Issues in Bangladesh: Standards and Issues-Based Geography Curricular Project for Grades K-16 and is currently the Co-PI of a U.S. Department of State grant seeking to popularize disaster preparedness in India through the use of freely available social media platforms.

Mark Keim

Mark Keim, M.D. is the Senior Science Advisor for the Office of the Director in the National Center for Environmental Health at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He also serves as a guest faculty at Emory University, Rollins School of Public Health and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine.

Dr. Keim earned his Bachelor’s degree in physiology at Southern Illinois University and his Medical degree at Southern Illinois University, School of Medicine. He is a residency-trained emergency medicine specialist and a fellowship-trained disaster medicine sub-specialist.

Dr. Keim has provided consultation for the management of dozens of disasters, involving the health of literally millions of people throughout the world. Dr Keim is the author of numerous scientific presentations and publications involving terrorism, environmental health, emergency medicine, toxicology, global health and disaster management.

He serves as co-editor of the Journal of Business Continuity and Emergency Planning and as a section editor for the Hawaii Journal of Public Health and is a peer review consultant for six major scientific journals. His press interviews have appeared on CNN and in numerous national and international network television programs and newspapers including US Today, the Chicago tribune, the LA Times and the Washington Post.

Maureen McCue

Dr. McCue has traveled and worked extensively as a peace maker, researcher, and physician, and has helped organize many forums on cross cultural, global health, and women’s health issues. She is the coordinator for the Iowa Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility, a founding member and former Director of the University of Iowa Global Health Studies Program, and also a founding member and executive committee member of the UI Center for Human Rights. Her areas of expertise include the following:
  • Global/international health
  • Global warming, fossil fuel energy and public health
  • Global warming clean energy solutions
  • Nuclear power, nuclear waste, radiation exposure
  • Social justice
  • Environmental justice 

She regularly interacts with international and domestic representatives of many programs, disciplines, and perspectives regarding global health issues including actively participating in several unique peace, health and human rights events in the former Soviet Union, Nicaragua, Cuba, Ecuador, Haiti, India and Bangladesh. Her most recent work has focused on Climate Change, Coal and their related threats to health. She is one of the collaborating researchers for the recently published Recalibrating the Law of Humans with the Laws of Nature: Climate Change, Human Rights, and Intergenerational Justice published in 2009 by the Vermont Law School, and lead author most recently on the Iowa Coal Health Mapping Study. She currently serves as an Adjunct Professor of Global Health, at the University of Iowa.

Dennis McGilvray

Dennis McGilvray is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Colorado, Boulder. After earning his B.A. from Reed College and Ph.D from the University of Chicago, he taught at the University of Santa Clara, at Cambridge University, and at Cornell University before moving to Boulder. His field research focuses on the Tamil-speaking Hindu and Muslim communities of eastern Sri Lanka and their cultural links with coastal Kerala and Tamilnadu, south India. He has written about matrilocal marriage and dowry in Sri Lanka, Hindu caste structure, Tamil and Muslim ethnic identities, and popular forms of religion and ritual,  . . .  and has published one cookbook recipe. Between 2005-2008 he led an NSF team project to study local-level recovery from the 2004 tsunami in Sri Lanka.

His earlier works include an edited volume about Caste Ideology and Interaction (Cambridge University Press 1982), a photo-essay book entitled Symbolic Heat: Gender, Health, and Worship among the Tamils of South India and Sri Lanka (Mapin 1998), and a co-authored study of Muslim Perspectives on the Sri Lankan Conflict (East-West Center 2007). His recent books are Crucible of Conflict: Tamil and Muslim Society on the East Coast of Sri Lanka (Duke University Press 2008) and Tsunami Recovery in Sri Lanka: Ethnic and Regional Dimensions (Routledge 2010, co-edited with Michele Gamburd). His current fieldwork explores popular Sufism in Sri Lanka, as well as contemporary Hindu and Muslim marriage trends in the eastern region of the island.

Nusrat Nasab

Ms Nusrat Nasab (NN) is currently serving as the Executive Officer of Focus Humanitarian Assistance (FOCUS), Pakistan. She has been working with several organizations in various capacities for the last sixteen years.  Due to her extra ordinary efforts and contribution, in 2009 FOCUS, Pakistan became recipient of the UN SASAKAWA Award- Certificate of Merit for Disaster Risk Reduction.  She has written several reports and book chapters on key issues of development, gender and disaster risk reduction.

She was awarded a joint scholarship from the Department for International Development (DFID) and Aga Khan Foundation’s Human Resource Development (HRD) programme for her degree course in the United Kingdom. Also, she was a recipient of the Netherlands Fellowship Programme (NFP) 2008 aimed at promoting capacity building within organizations.

NN has also served in the Boards of various Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) institutions in honorary capacity including:

  • Director, Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP)- 2006 till to date
  • Director, Aga Khan Planning and Building Service, Pakistan (AKPBSP)- July 2009- July 2012
  • Director , Aga Khan Education Service, Pakistan (AKESP) – 1997-98

Francesco Paganini

Francesco Paganini is World Relief’s Director of Disaster Response.  Francesco has been with World Relief since January 2009, when he returned to the United States from Northern Uganda where he was leading the field office for an Italian NGO.  Francesco first served as World Relief’s South Sudan desk officer then moved into the position of Disaster Management Technical Advisor, where he was instrumental in developing World Relief’s rapid response capacity, mapping World Relief’s disaster response partners, and establishing a Disaster Response Fund at World Relief.

Francesco is originally from Varese, Italy, and he lived in Senegal as a child before moving to New York with his parents.  Francesco is an active member at St. Casimir Church in Canton, MD (quartier of Baltimore).  He and his wife have a son, born in May 2010.

Francesco has a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Political Science from the University of Arizona, a Masters in Public Administration from George Washington University, and an MS in Economics from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

Marizen Ramirez

Dr. Ramirez is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, College of Public Health, at the University of Iowa.  Her current research interests include: disaster epidemiology, emergency preparedness, pediatric injuries, school-based injuries and violence, sports injuries, Injuries to children with special health care needs, posttraumatic stress, and youth violence.


Jim Schwab

Adjunct Lecturer
Urban and Regional Planning and Journalism
University of Iowa
Jim Schwab serves as the manager of the American Planning Association's Hazards Planning Research Center. He is also a senior research associate and co-editor of a monthly publication, Zoning Practice. He has increasingly carved out a niche as an expert on natural hazards and disaster recovery over the last two decades. Jim served as the primary author and principal investigator for Planning for Post-Disaster Recovery and Redevelopment (PAS Report No. 483/484, 1998), which APA produced under a cooperative agreement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He also led a more recent project, also funded by FEMA, in which APA produced Hazard Mitigation: Integrating Best Practices into Planning (No. 560, 2010, and is currently heading APA’s FEMA-supported effort to update the post-disaster classic in a new PAS Report supplemented by extensive web-based resources. He served as the project manager for a FEMA-supported project in which APA has developed training for planners on the planning provisions of the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000, and for the Firewise Communities Post-Workshop Assessment, a contract with the National Fire Protection Association to determine the impact of its Firewise workshops on community behavior. He currently leads an APA project on planning for drought mitigation in cooperation with the University of Nebraska’s National Drought Mitigation Center, and APA’s involvement with NOAA’s Coastal Services Center as a Digital Coast partner organization. Jim is an alumnus of the University of Iowa (1985), with M.A.s in both Journalism and Urban and Regional Planning, and has a B.A. in Political Science from Cleveland State University (1973). Since 2008, he has also been an adjunct instructor for the University of Iowa School of Urban and Regional Planning.

Eric Tate

Eric Tate is an assistant professor at the University of Iowa, Geography department. Originally from Texas, Eric earned his PhD in geography from the University of South Carolina.  He currently serves as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Iowa.  His research lies at the nexus of natural hazards and society, with particular focus on vulnerability and resilience indicators, built environment loss estimation, assessment of uncertainty, and geospatial modeling.  He teaches courses on environmental justice, environmental hazards, water resources, and sustainability indicators.  Outside of academia, Eric enjoys spending time with his wife and two kids, visiting national parks, and playing tennis.

Peter Teahen

Peter R. Teahen is a Funeral Director, author and a mental health professional.  In 2011 he received the designation of Diplomate from the National Center for Crisis Management and the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress. He is president of Teahen Funeral Home, and founder of the International Mass Fatalities Center and AmericaReady. Peter is an Adjunct Faculty member at the University of Iowa.

His recent book, “Mass Fatalities: Managing a Community Response” by  CRC Press examines multiple complex issues while providing practical guidance to communities and responders as they plan for, respond to, and recover from a mass fatalities incident.

He serves in a volunteer role as national media spokesperson and a Government Liaison Officer for the American Red Cross. He has been interviewed on such programs as Larry King Live, Good Morning America, Oprah, Weather Channel, Fox News, the British Broadcasting Company and Aljazeera.

Peter has been involved in leadership roles in more than forty-five major disasters throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, Sri Lanka, and the Darfur Region of Sudan including the September 11th, attack on the World Trade Center, Hurricane Katrina, the Sri Lanka Tsunami 2004 and the Haiti Earthquake in 2010.  He is recognized for his work on aviation disasters and is internationally known for his work and lectures in critical incident stress management, and the psychological and social impact of disasters.

Peter Teahen is the recipient of numerous national awards of distinction that includes the National Public Spirit Award. American Legion Auxiliary.  Previous recipients include Ronald Reagan, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Ann Landers, and Dr. Robert Schuller.

Jennifer Trivedi

Ms. Trivedi is a doctoral candidate at the University of Iowa in socio-cultural anthropology interested in disaster preparation, relief, and recovery efforts, as well as issues related to vulnerability, media coverage, governmental responses, and public perception of disasters. She is currently studying long-term recovery from Hurricane Katrina in Biloxi, Mississippi. She earned her bachelor's degree in history (with a minor in anthropology) from the University of Georgia in May 2004 and her Master's degree in anthropology from the University of Iowa in May 2007. Her master's thesis was entitled “'Hurricanes Did Not Just Start Happening': Expectations of Intervention in the Mississippi Gulf Coast Casino Industry” and was published in 2009 in Arthur Murphy and Eric Jones’ SEA volume The Political Economy of Hazards and Disasters."