Demographic and Health Disparities in Recovery from Hurricane Katrina

The NIH-funded KATRINA@10 Program consists of an interrelated set of three primary data collection projects that focus on specific sub-populations who were uniquely affected by Hurricane Katrina; two secondary analyses of data that are more broadly representative of the overall affected population; and three cores to support the set of Research Projects. A central strength of the Center's research is that it entails both depth and breadth in its assessment of recovery at the 10-year anniversary of one of the worst disasters in American history.

Leadership Team

Co-Principal Investigators

  • Mark VanLandingham, Ph.D. (Contact PI)
  • David Abramson, Ph.D.
  • Mary Waters, Ph.D.

Advisory Board

  • Roberta Avila, Executive Director. STEPS Coalition
  • Carol Bebelle, M.A., Executive Director. Ashe Cultural Arts Center
  • Michael Cunningham, Ph.D., Professor, Tulane University Psychology Department
  • Cyndi Nguyen, Executive Director, VIET 
  • John-Hoa Nguyen, Business Leader, People's Reality, Inc.
  • Reginald Parquet, Ph.D., Clinical Assistant Professor, Tulane University School of Social Work
  • Steve Picou, Ph.D., Director, Coastal Resource and Resiliency Center
  • Paul Rainwater, Consultant, Cornerstone Government Affairs, former Executive Director, Louisiana Recovery Authority
  • Irwin Redlener, M.D., Director, National Center for Disaster Preparedness at the Earth Institute
  • Allison Truitt, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Tulane University Department of Anthropology 
Katrina@10 Research Projects & Supporting Cores


  • Core A (Administrative) Lead: Mark VanLandingham, Ph.D. 
  • Core B (Data Collection) Lead: David Abramson, Ph.D.  
  • Core C (Data Management and Dissemination) Lead: Philip Anglewicz, Ph.D.

While the individual Research Projects are described in detail in the above links, there are several cross-cutting research activities to answer key research questions. These questions include:

  • How well does our theoretical model predict recovery across the three cohort studies (RP 1-3)?
  • How do trajectories of long-term recovery differ among and within these highly-affected but distinct sub-populations?
  • How do these specific trajectories of recovery compare with those of well-studied mainstream populations?
  • How do the effects of pre-disposing factors (such as poverty) and degree-of-impact (such as flooding depth) vary among our three special sub-populations?
  • How do interpretations of the disaster, resilience, and recovery differ among respondents from our three special sub-populations?
  • What are the determinants of long-term recovery in domains such as mental and physical health, socio-economic status, and community and social roles? How are these domains related to each other across individuals and across sub-populations?

We believe that these overarching analyses advance disaster studies beyond what the individual projects could achieve were they not linked under this Program. To pursue this goal, we employ a unifying theoretical framework across our three cohorts. The Socio-ecological Model of Disaster Recovery was developed by one of our PIs and his colleagues (Abramson et al. 2010). Some several illustrative examples are below.

  1. Refinement, validation, and testing of a common underlying and unifying theoretical model: The analysis of data from our three cohort studies are informed by a common theoretical model developed by Program MPI David Abramson. The validation and testing of this promising model across a wide range of populations would be highly unlikely to take place from a series of stand-alone studies.
  2. Employment of compatible longitudinal measures across the duration of the post-Katrina period to assess resilience and recovery trajectories and processes. All three cohort studies (RP 1-3) benefit from extensive measures of health and well-being during the decade following Katrina; and the Program allows for a synthesis of how the three cohorts have fared over the course of the decade; as well as an analysis of disparities within the cohorts. Data from RP5 will also be incorporated into these analyses (see below). Such a synthesis would be highly unlikely to take place from a series of stand-alone studies.
  3. Employment of identical measures across three cohorts at T10 to assess differentials in the long-term consequences of a disaster: Collecting state-of-the-art measures across three ongoing cohorts of sub-populations uniquely-affected by Katrina would be unfeasible in a series of stand-alone projects.
  4. Joint qualitative analyses: Cross-cutting qualitative data includes a) Key Informant interviews of community leaders from the Vietnamese American and African American communities; b) a sub-set of common guidelines for household heads from our three specialized populations of interest (African American women who are first generation college students, from RISK; disadvantaged families who ended up in FEMA provided housing from GCAFH; and first generation Vietnamese American immigrants, from KATIVA NOLA); and c) a small set of common questions directed at youth (age 18-24) in all three cohorts that will be used to support formative qualitative work to extend our common socio-ecological framework of recovery to youth.