HDI Applied Research Lab


The Humanitarian Disaster Institute (HDI) Applied Research Lab

Faculty Advisors: Dr. Jamie Aten and Dr. David Boan

The Humanitarian Disaster Institute (HDI) Applied Research Lab aims to engage students in research related to humanitarian services and disaster preparedness, response and recovery focusing on measurement, quality, capacity and improvement at the individual, organizational and community level—both domestically and internationally.  The lab has an interdisciplinary and international focus that looks at the intersection of psychology with Intercultural Studies, Urban Studies, Sociology, Applied Health, and more. 

One of the special features of this lab is the opportunity for students to engage with actual humanitarian and disaster research projects.  HDI carries on a variety of grant and contract projects that range from measuring and developing community resilience, treating disaster trauma, gender-based violence, measuring the impact of humanitarian services, and more (At this time, since the HDI is new, these projects are in the stage of being reviewed for funding and other projects are being negotiated with humanitarian agencies). 
Students will engage in projects, either individually or as a team, which may be original student projects designed to support student career goals, or participate in Humanitarian Disaster Institute projects (see below) and contracts. 

Examples of projects from the lab include: issues in delivery of mental health services in rural settings, preventing gender violence, community capacity building in developing countries, measuring the impact of organizational culture on the quality of services, and disasters, health and community resilience.

Through participation in a project, students will learn to develop literature reviews, develop and analyze project metrics, design interventions, and more.  Students are expected to produce a written report of their work that may be published or presented at the end of the year.  Examples include presentations or poster sessions at professional conferences and/or publications on literature reviews, case studies, project evaluations, narrative descriptions, or other creative options proposed by students (subject to approval).

HDI is a research, training and technical assistance center within the psychology department with the mission of improving disaster preparedness, response, recovery, and community resilience.  The Research Lab holds meetings once per week for 90’.  In the meetings students work together on their projects, hear presentations from other students, faculty, or guest speakers, and get assistance with the design and execution of their projects.

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