Developing Capacity for Community Action Planning & Resilience Building

Placement and Training of Community Health Workers in Targeted Communities

CRGC’s seven Community Health Workers, who have been trained and placed in targeted communities impacted by the DWH oil spill to enhance disaster preparedness, improve overall health capacity, and build resilience.

Oil spills can negatively affect the health, social, and economic wellbeing of any local community, but underserved and disadvantaged populations are especially hard-hit. To improve resilience in such areas, CRGC worked with partners from the University of South Alabama’s Coastal Resource and Resiliency Center (CRRC) and local stakeholders to identify three communities that could benefit from the efforts of Community Health Workers (CHWs). In 2015-2016, we trained and deployed seven lay CHWs to enhance disaster preparedness, improve overall health and healthcare capacity, and support community resilience efforts. The CHWs are working in community-based organizations and community health clinics in Plaquemines and Lafourche Parishes in Louisiana as well as Mobile County, Alabama.

Disaster Resilience Leadership Fellowship Program

Disaster Resilience Leadership Fellows, November 2016

When disaster strikes, communities look to leaders to interpret the experience and provide direction for response and recovery. To strengthen local resilience leadership capacity, CRGC, the Institute for Disaster Resilience and Humanitarian Affairs at George Washington University, and the Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy (DRLA) at Tulane University launched an innovative new fellowship program: Planning for Resilient Communities.In November 2016, a Leadership Advisory Committee (LAC) led by Louisiana Lt. Governor Nungesser selected 15 Fellows, who were trained to provide a diverse breadth and depth of disaster resilience leadership capacity and coordination across multiple sectors and systems. Fellows comprise of emerging, local leaders representing Louisiana’s five coastal parishes.

What and How Are Fellows Learning?

Fellows are learning to how to help their communities develop plans that strengthen and coordinate the resilience to future disasters such as oil spills. The program structure is developed iteratively in partnership with the LAC.

Modes of Learning

  • Interaction with leading experts: Short lectures and discussions build individual and regional networks of practical and theoretical knowledge.
  • Collaborative exercises: This format seeks to encourage greater collaboration and alliance building among fellows from different parishes and across different sectors and to build a strong network of resilience leaders.
  • Virtual Disaster Resilience Leadership Learning Environment: This online tool facilitates fellow communication, interaction, and networking. It is also helping us produce a Disaster Resilience Leadership Learning program workbook and resource guide that can carry on well beyond the life of the project.

Screenshot of Leadership Training Online Course

Related News

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CRGC Student Spotlight: Betsy Lopez

Betsy Lopez is a Master of Science candidate in the Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy at Tulane University. Betsy also works as the program coordinator of Internships and Experiential Learning at the Newcomb College Institute, where she oversees and develops experiential learning opportunities for students, manages grants and endowments, developed and oversees the alumnae-mentoring program, and coordinates the Kenya summer abroad program.

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Local Shipbuilders from Alabama and Louisiana Supply Passenger Vessels for NYC’s New Citywide Ferry Service

The H200, a catamaran passenger vessel built by Horizon Shipbuilding based out of Bayou La Batre, Alabama, began its 1,700-mile voyage to New York City on March 21. The vessel is the first of 13 catamaran passenger vessels Horizon is building for the Big Apple’s new citywide ferry service. By 2018, Horizon, along with Metal Shark – a Louisiana based shipbuilder that recently saw two of its ferries off to NYC – will have built 19 ferries for NYC’s new fleet. Learn more »

GoMRI eNews: March 21, 2017 Edition

Check out the latest edition of GoMRI’s eNews, which keeps researchers, students, community members, and other stakeholders working in the field current on emerging Gulf science and the people investigating the effects of oil spills on the environment and public health. This edition of eNews features, CRGC’s Student Spotlight of Nicholas Thomas, in the Project Activities section! Learn more »


Keith Nicholls, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Political Science and Associate Director of the CRRC

University of South Alabama

Keith Nicholls

Keith Nicholls is an associate professor of political science at the University of South Alabama and the associate director of the University of South Alabama Coastal Resource & Resiliency Center.


Michael Blum, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Director of the ByWater Institute

Tulane University

Michael Blum's current research applies his understanding of hybridization and adaptive evolution to the study of land use, invasive species, and the impact of climate change on aquatic ecosystems. Although he has been involved in research that encompasses a range of freshwater and estuarine biota, he is now pursuing studies of freshwater fishes and coastal marsh plants.