A new research group, the Consortium for Resilient Gulf Communities, has been formed to assess and address the public health, social and economic impacts of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico region.
The research is funded by an $8 million, three-year grant from BP/The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative.
The consortium consists of researchers from the RAND Corporation, Louisiana State University, Tulane University, the University of South Alabama and the Louisiana Public Health Institute. The consortium's interdisciplinary research and outreach activities will focus on determining how communities can build resilience to future disasters.
For example, one project will develop a more-accurate picture of the medium- and long-term public health, social and economic effects of the spill by surveying residents in Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida. The findings will be used to help communities understand risks and vulnerabilities, and to develop action plans to improve resilience in advance of future disasters.
Research team members include experts in public health, mental health, sociology, economics, political science, risk analysis, disaster resilience, ecology and other disciplines.
The consortium hopes to establish a clearer picture of the ways in which the oil spill affected the surrounding communities and to develop evidence-based strategic planning and risk communication strategies for communities facing similar disasters in the future. The research can be used to provide guidance for policymakers to help them identify specific actions that will mitigate future disaster impacts more effectively.
The website is www.resilientgulf.org.