Why Culture Matters Disaster Studies Project

The Why Culture Matters Disaster Studies Project is an intiative established in 2004 that engages students and faculty to inform public health professionals and faith and community-based organizations about the needs of vulnerable population before, during, and after natural and intentional disasters.  Our primary mission is to create disaster resilient commuities in resource poor communities.  Community Resilience is a process whereby communities prepare for and respond to disasters and complex community emergencies (daily crisis) using disaster resistant models.  These models explain how communities can minimize the physical, psychological and structural damages resulting from a disaster through a merging of community assests and resources.

Randolph Rowel, PhD

Dr. Randolph Rowel is the founding director of the Why Culture Matters Disasters Studies Research Project. Dr. Rowel also serves as a Principle Investigator for the  Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funded National Center for Preparedness and Catastrophic Event Response (PACER).  He is deeply committed to developing a culturally diverse body of researchers and practitioners to address complex questions to prepare vulnerable populations for natural and man-made disasters.  Dr. Rowel has involved a number of MPH and DrPH students in his research efforts.

Recent Accomplishments

  • Conducted a full scale evacuation exercise in Tuskegee, Alabama with senior residents in a public housing community. (2008)
  • Partnered with  the Washington Bible College to develop culturally appropriate curriculum for the Project's Role of Pastors in Disasters (RoPID) initiative. (2008)
  • Designed and implemented a tornatdo awareness campaign that targeted a low-income community in Tuskegee, Alabama. (2008)
  • Developed a daily crisis survey instrument used to collect baseline data in the Tuskegee community engagement research project. (2008)
  • Collected and analyzed data from 300 Spanish speaking low-income Hispanics in Baltimore, MD to assess their perceptions and behavior related to emergency preparedness. (2007)
  • Hosted the 1st Why Culture Matters Symposium which was attended by 225 public health practitioners in Maryland and from around the northeastern region. (2007)
  • Collected and analyzed survey and focus group data from African Americans and Hispanics residing in both rural and urban communities to assess their perceptions,

Contact Us

School of Community Health and Policy
c/o Dr. Randolph Rowel
1700 E. Cold Spring Lane
207 Portage Campus
Baltimore, MD 21251
Office: (443)885-3138
Fax: (443)885-8309