CU Haiti Researcher to be Featured in National Science Foundation Webcast on April 27

Published: April 23, 2010

University of Colorado at Boulder social scientist Liesel Ritchie is one of three disaster researchers who will discuss their work in Haiti in a nationwide April 27 webcast hosted by the National Science Foundation.

Ritchie, assistant director for research at the CU-Boulder Natural Hazards Center, will discuss her research on providing both emergency and long-term housing for survivors of the devastating Jan. 12 Haiti earthquake. Appearing with Ritchie will be geophysicist Eric Calais of Purdue University and structural engineer Reginald DesRoches of Georgia Tech.

Each of the researchers was in Haiti within days after the quake and also will discuss other rapid-response research around the world. They will be joined by NSF social scientist Dennis Wenger, who will discuss how U.S. and global agencies use disaster research to save lives.

The one-hour webcast titled "Learning From Haiti" begins at noon MDT at and is open to public viewing with no username or password required. The public also is invited to e-mail questions to the researchers at To learn more about the speakers and to see images and video from their work visit

Ritchie has served as principal investigator or senior researcher on dozens of projects with a special focus on the social impacts of disasters. She has studied the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, tsunami awareness and preparedness, the social impacts of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and disaster preparedness among community-based organizations in San Francisco. She works with CU graduate students and her current research involves the role of community in disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.

The Natural Hazards Center is part of CU-Boulder Institute of Behavioral Science. For more information visit