Disaster Resilience – Lessons from the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

Disaster Resilience – Lessons from the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

The human toll of natural disasters is increasing worldwide. However, our understanding of resilience in the aftermath of disaster has been hampered by the retrospective recall of pre-disaster conditions. In this symposium, speakers will present the findings from a unique study conducted in the aftermath of the March 11, 2011 Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami. Our study leverages a “natural experiment” which came about as a result of the establishment of the nationwide cohort study of healthy aging — the Japan Gerontological Evaluation Survey — in 2010. Seven months after the cohort baseline was established one of the field sites was directly struck by the earthquake and tsunami, affording the opportunity to examine prospectively the impact of pre-disaster variables (e.g. prior health status and community social cohesion) on mental and physical health outcomes among survivors. This symposium will present the lessons learned from this study for disaster resilience.

Session Chair:
Ichiro Kawachi, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health

Presenters:
Ichiro Kawachi , Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health
Jun Aida, Tohoku University
Hiroyuki Hikichi, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health
Toru Tsuboya, Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health

Discussant:
Sandro Galea
, Boston University School of Public Health