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Jessica Smith (MPIA, SIS ‘17) works in the Disaster Cycle Services Department at the American Red Cross of Southwestern Pennsylvania, which focuses on disaster preparedness, response, and recovery programming for all of Allegheny County. The department provides significant resources for communities on disaster preparedness and response, including preparedness presentations for children, seniors, and more general audiences. The Red Cross also responds to house fires and other disasters every day in Allegheny County, ensuring those affected receive help to repair their home, find a new home, or replace other essential items. 

In a matter of weeks, three major hurricanes levied profound impacts on communities across the Caribbean and parts of the U.S. Gulf Coast. Thousands of people are engaged in ongoing response and recovery operations, including GSPIA alumni: 

Miriam Belblidia (MPA '09) came to GSPIA knowing she wanted to study disaster management. Ten years later, she is at the helm of an innovative water management company, Water Works, in New Orleans, working across the disciplines of science, art, and history to build community resilience. 

Dr. Louise Comfort accepted the 2017 B. Wayne Blanchard Award for Academic Excellence in Emergency Management in Higher Education from North Dakota State University. The award is given annually to scholars who have made contributions to the field of emergency management, a field to which Dr. Comfort has dedicated her career. 

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Center for Disaster Management
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