When disaster strikes a community, a key factor in whether it can bounce back is its reserve of resilience before it was tested by hardship. Researchers are discovering that this resilience is inextricably linked to a community’s unique history and culture.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently honored Tulane University professor Dr. Mark VanLandingham for his pioneering research on how culture and shared history helped the Vietnamese American community in New Orleans recover more quickly from Hurricane Katrina while other communities faltered.
Dr. VanLandingham, director of the Center for Studies of Displaced Populations and Thomas Keller, professor at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, has been named the 12th Matilda White Riley Honors Distinguished Lecturer by the NIH. Dr. VanLandingham discussed his research at the 12th NIH Matilda White Riley Behavioral and Social Sciences Honors meeting in Bethesda, Maryland.
Dr. Matilda White Riley was a celebrated scientist and member of the National Academy of Sciences and a leader in the field of sociology. The NIH’s Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research honors her yearly by recognizing people who are advancing the type of research she helped pioneer.
Dr. VanLandingham, who has spent much of his career studying demographic change in Southeast Asia and the health and well-being of immigrants from that region, began studying the large community of Vietnamese-Americans living in eastern New Orleans just prior to Hurricane Katrina. The area suffered massive damage from the 2005 storm but rebuilt quicker than other surrounding communities, and VanLandingham found the shared culture and history played a role in their recovery.Tags: Friday Letter Submission, Publish on June 14