Tulane University's
Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy

Please click here for an interactive map of DRLA programmatic partners

DRLA Highlights

2016 DRLA Summer Institute

The DRLA is pleased to announce that the dates have been set for the 2016 DRLA Summer Institute in Washington D.C.

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DRLS 6710
Institutions & Politics of Humanitarian Advocacy
July 1 - July 15, 2016

  • Explores International and Domestic:
  • Humanitarian decision making
  • Career paths in the field
  • Practical tools for policy change
  • Dynamics between diplomacy and humanitarianism, resilience, and human security
Visits to/by:
  • NGOs such as InterAction and the American Red Cross
  • Prominent think tanks such as Brookings Institute and CSIS Congress
  • U.S. Governmental agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA
DRLS 6720
Case Studies in Disaster Operations
July 18 - July 29, 2016

Examine and Discuss:
  • Success/failure in disaster response
  • Recovery and relief practices resulting in more resilient communities
  • Impacts of social media on disaster communications
  • Attributes of an effective disaster operations capability
Guest Speakers/Visits include:
  • The World Bank
  • National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (NVOAD)
  • The United Nations


Dr. Laura J. Haas named DRLA Deputy Director 

"It's an exciting Laura Haastime at the Academy with so much growth and opportunity before us. I am really looking forward to taking on a more active role strategically to help expand DRLA's global reach, both here at home and abroad, and to help establish the Academy as the go-to institution in disaster resilience leadership and applied research. Universities have a unique role to play in resilience strengthening efforts and our global network of university partners will provide important opportunities for our students as they become increasingly exposed to and involved in resilience work."  

Dr. Laura J. Haas has 25 years of expertise and experience working with African ministries of health and education to strengthen institutional and human capacities, including leadership capacity, through education, training and rapid workforce development. In addition to serving as full time Country Director for the Tulane Office in Rwanda, she was fully involved in establishing the nation's only School of Public Health post-genocide. Her work in support of health sciences and social work education includes a broad spectrum of technical assistance encompassing strategic leadership development, curricula reform, educational and training program development, competency framework validation, faculty development, and the integration of information technology and learning. She has been highly involved in establishing key university networks in Africa such as the Leadership Alliance in Public Health in East Africa (LIPHEA), its transformation into the HEALTH Alliance (Higher Education Alliance for Leadership Through Health) and more recently, collaborating with the One Health for Central and Eastern Africa (OHCEA) network. Currently, Dr. Haas supports efforts to strengthen national child protection systems and child resilience with support from UNICEF while enhancing disaster resilience leadership in West Africa with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Dr. Haas possesses extensive experience managing and implementing a range of donor-funded programs across Africa, serving as Tulane's representative in Rwanda, and acting as liaison between African governments, multi- and bi-lateral agencies as well as various international and local, non-governmental agencies. She has published in peer-reviewed journals, presented at international conferences, is fluent in both English and French, and holds a PhD from Tulane University and an MBA from Georgia State University.

DRLA Holds RAN Workshop


Funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the ResilientAfrica  Network (RAN) leverages the knowledge, scholarship, and creativity of African universities to identify and develop innovative ways to strengthen resilience in target communities across Africa. The network is led by Makerere University, which hosts the RAN Secretariat, and includes Tulane University, Stanford University, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, as well as 20 African universities in 16 countries. The architecture of the ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) in Africa consists of four Resilience Innovation Labs (RILabs). The RILabs are focal points of technology innovation and commercialization of university research attracting local and national resources, sustainably funded, with replication potential across sub-Saharan Africa. RAN's RILabs include the Eastern Africa RILab based in Uganda and hosted by Makerere University, West Africa RILab based in Ghana and hosted by the University for Development Studies, Horn of Africa RILab based in Ethiopia and hosted by Jimma University and Southern Africa RILab based in South Africa at University of Pretoria.


Institutional Consultancy to Strengthen Social Welfare Workforce in Rwanda 

In response to UNICEF's request for institutional services to support the capacity development of the professional and para-professional social welfare workforce in Rwanda, Tulane's DRLA is embarking on a two year long program with an innovative approach to human capacity development. This program will emphasize collaborative and experiential learning, learning transfer and measurement, and the establishment of learning communities. Through this program, DRLA will enhance learning outcomes and job performance, building upon evidence-based practices, and will contribute to the strengthening of the national social welfare workforce via close collaboration with Rwanda's National Commission for Children.

Strengthening Collaboration on Humanitarian Emergency Response

The West Africa Ebola crisis, the deadly April 2015 earthquake in Nepal, and ongoing crises in Syria, Central African Republic, and beyond have exposed weaknesses of global humanitarian emergency response efforts. Complex humanitarian emergencies require a constellation of actors from different sectors working collaboratively to save lives and provide critical services. A new report by the Disaster Resilience Group, A Networked Approach to Strengthening Emergency Response Capacity, draws lessons from international and local networks and offers recommendations for building capacity among first- and second-line responders and strengthening networks for emergency response. Panelists will present the report's findings and discuss how they might be implemented to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of emergency response. 

Click here to view the report...

Gates Foundation gives $3.5 million to Tulane disaster resilience program

The Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy (DRLA), housed in the Tulane School of Social Work, has been awarded a $3.5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to implement the second phase of its Disaster Resilience Leadership (DRL) program over the next three years.

Read the full story about the grant here...

Journey to India

Each September, for fourteen consecutive years, Ron Marks, dean of the School of Social Work conducts the "Journey to India" class.  Last fall, 5 of the 14 student participants were working towards their MS in Disaster Resilience. The journey is an immersive one and offers the opportunity to intimately engage with the Tibetan refugee exile community. After arriving in Delhi, the group travels north to the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains to Dharamsala, home of the largest number of Tibetans in exile, the home of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile. One of the central goals of this experience is to enable an understanding of the needs of the Tibetan exile community and to interact with social and health programs working towards meeting these needs. Equally important is the opportunity to learn the ancient wisdom traditions brought to India from Tibet by this exile community. Overall, the experience provides an opportunity to enhance ones professional growth, develop personally, and to see the vitally important interconnection between these two areas.

India Trip 

Pictured right are the 14 MSW and MS Disaster Resilience students with Dean Ron Marks and Dr. Carolyn Weaver, co-teacher, with Ama Ahde, pictured in the center.  Ama Ahde is a Tibetan elder who spent 27 years in a Chinese prison, accused of aiding the Tibetan resistance movement in the 1960's.  She is the author of "The Voice that Remembers."

Upcoming Events & Announcements



RES/CON Conference, March 1-3, 2016


RES/CON is the rebranding of the International Disaster Conference and Expo (IDCE) that is held in New Orleans at the Morial Convention Center. RES/CON will offer programming in Economic Resilience, Emergency Management, Coastal Restoration and Water Management, Technology, Homeland Security, First Response, Business Continuity, and all aspects of Disaster Resilience, Response, Recovery, and Mitigation.


Information at: resconnola.com

Click here to view past events and news...

DRLA Spotlights:

Faculty Updates

In early January, DRLA faculty member Holly Scheib held a workshop in community engagement for the northern Europe operational center of Médecins Sans Frontièresin Amsterdam. Dr. Scheib presented on community engagement principles, best practices, and strategies for programs and measurement in an active workshop with health team leads and community health specialists representing diverse MSF service areas and several European offices. During the 2-day session, the organization studied prior programs and current policies to facilitate discussion on realities of engagement within humanitarian settings.  Dr. Scheib has served as a measurement consultant to a variety of international and domestic non-profit organizations working in humanitarian aid. With DRLA, she assists on measurement and evaluation on several projects and is currently teaching an evaluation course.

Student Research

Tim Hefflinger has been collaborating with Dr. Catherine Burnette of the Tulane School of Social Work in recent months on her work on resilience among Native American women who have experienced Intimate Partner Violence (IPV). Their research has coalesced into two articles that have been submitted for publication. "Honoring Narratives of Resilience: Protective Factors Identified by Indigenous Women Who Have Experienced Violence," has been submitted to The Journal of Primary Prevention and focuses on individual-level protective factors that indigenous American women have found to be important to their well-being after experiencing violence. "Identifying Community Risk Factors for Violence against Indigenous Women: A Framework of Historical Oppression and Resilience" has been submitted to the journal Traumatology and takes a community-level approach to understanding the risk factors that are unique to Native American communities. In both of these articles, Tim and Dr. Burnette use a lens of resiliency to examine the unique attributes of IPV among Native women. Their research will hopefully fill a critical gap in the literature and inform social work practice for this vulnerable population.

Alumni Spotlight

Ms. Hardin served as Executive Director for Evacuteer.org, a New Orleans based non-profit tasked with assisting with City Assisted Evacuation during climatic events. During her time at the organization, she oversaw the largest growth in preparedness programming for vulnerable populations throughout the city, record numbers of trained evacuation volunteers, data driven transit research and mapping, and completion of Evacuspots, a emergency preparedness public art project.  After returning to Washington D.C., Ms. Hardin now works as Global Security Manager for International Relief and Development, responsible for supporting 17 tactical security teams within 9 countries in the Middle East, Africa, and South America. Her duties include: conducting field site security risk assessments, developing and delivering training curricula to 1,800+ field and HQ staff on enterprise risk and security management, and analyzing the likelihood and impact of organizational threats in order to advise senior leadership on mitigative actions. Due to operating in conflict and active combat zones, much of Ms. Hardin's focus is on safety and security planning for  personnel and guard force staffing, travel and transport, hardline perimeter and facility enhancement, compound access point systems, as well as contingency planning for crisis-level incidents. Ms. Hardin is a NAEMT Tactical Casualty Combat Care medic, IAEM Associate Emergency Manager and Hostile Environment Anti-Terrorism (HEAT) certified security professional.