Meet the current and past members of the Disaster Research Lab at D'Youville.
Lauren Clay, PHD
Lauren Clay, PhD, MPH is a disaster scientist focused on public health impacts of disasters. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Administration and Public Health at D'Youville College, Principal Investigator of the Disaster Research Lab, and Affiliated Assistant Professor in the Population Impact, Recovery, and Resilience (PiR2) Center at New York University School of Global Public Health.
As an Early Career Research Fellow with the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine Gulf Research Program she has been studying the impact of Hurricane Florence on the local food environment in Eastern North Carolina since 2018. With the arrival of COVID-19 in the US, she is currently studying COVID-19 impacts on the food environment and food security and leads an NSF CONVERGE Working Group on COVID-19 and food Insecurity and the survey subcommittee of the NOPREN COVID-19 Food Security Working Group.
Rachel Slotter is a PhD candidate in the Disaster Science and Management program and Graduate Research Fellow at the University of Delaware Joseph R. Biden, Jr. School of Public Policy & Administration. As a member of the Disaster Research Lab, Rachel has contributed to several ongoing research projects focused on the impacts of food insecurity in communities and households impacted by Hurricane Florence and COVID-19.
During her time with the DRL, Rachel has had the opportunity to conduct qualitative field research, develop survey and interview instruments, and analyze and publish findings related to these studies. Her work with the DRL also helped to develop her dissertation research topic, which focuses on inter-organizational coordination of faith-based organizations during the response periods of large-scale disaster events.
Following graduation, Rachel plans to apply her extensive research knowledge of and passion for mitigation, inter-organizational coordination, and disaster preparedness to a career in emergency management helping organizations, communities, and households plan and mitigate for future disasters.
Britta Heath is a graduate student in the Coordinated Program of Nutrition and Dietetics at D'Youville College, and a Graduate Research Assistant in the Disaster Research Lab. As a member of the DRL, Britta has been involved in a variety of research projects focusing on community food environment disruptions from Hurricane Florence, Hurricane Dorian, and COVID-19.
Throughout the past year working in the DRL, Britta has conducted field work in North Carolina, conducted quantitative analysis, and assisted in publishing findings. She has also had the opportunity to co-write a grant which has allowed her to create her thesis topic, analyzing the impact of COVID-19 on food access, availability, sources, and security for NY State residents.
Bruno Camodeca-Schmitz is a double major in Psychology and Public Health at D'Youville College. Bruno works on developing infographics and briefs to communicate research findings to community stakeholders by taking research data and compiling them into easily digestible items. He also contributes to disseminating findings to public health stakeholders and policy makers.
As an intern at the DRL, Bruno is continuing his educational career and is learning how research is conducted in a disaster setting. His post-graduation interests are in environmental epidemiology and infectious disease research.
Melissa Fos is an M.Sc. candidate in the Applied Social Research program at the University of Dublin, Trinity College School of Social Work and Social Policy. She started working with the Disaster Research Lab for her ASR Work Placement postgraduate credit at the end of March 2020. In the classroom, lectures, workshops, and practical assignments have trained her to design and conduct primary research using both quantitative and qualitative research methods.
Her work with the DRL has allowed her to expand her research skills through a public health lens, analyze real quantitative data using SPSS, and present research findings to a range of audiences. In the DRL, she is mainly contributing to an ongoing project surrounding pollution impacts on social well-being following a petrochemical fire and spills into Galveston Bay in 2019.
She is also using DRL data to develop her dissertation, which focuses on health outcome disparities for both unemployed and essential employees in New York City during the COVID-19 pandemic. Following graduation, Melissa intends to gain meaningful work experience prior to pursuing a PhD in Public Health.
Nadia is a PhD candidate in Epidemiology and Environmental Health at the University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions. Her dissertation focusses on food and water insecurity and child growth in rural Zimbabwe. As a member of the Disaster Research Lab, Nadia is currently working on the impact of COVID-19 on food insecurity using a multi-wave study taking place across 3 US states.
Since she started working with the DRL, Nadia has had the opportunity to develop her data management skills and is currently analyzing data and working on publishing findings. After graduation, she plans to get involved in nutrition and social program development, as well as in policy changes that would contribute to healthier populations, irrespective of country or setting.
Past Disaster research Lab Members
- Danielle King (Nutrition and Dietetics)
- Analeeza Leggett (Public Health)
- Sarah Wise (Health Analytics)
- Curtis Hinterberger (Nutrition and Dietetics)
For questions and opportunities, connect with the Disaster Research Lab.