Dr. Rebekah Paci-Green, RI
Dr. Paci-Green is Director of the Resilience Institute at Western Washington University. She received her PhD from Cornell University where she combined structural engineering and anthropology to study physical and social vulnerability and risk perceptions in informal districts of Istanbul, Turkey. She used qualitative and quantitative research methods in these settlements to recommended innovative, culturally-appropriate methods for decreasing population vulnerability.
Dr. Paci-Green completed a post-doctoral research fellowship at Columbia University’s Earth Institute where she studied hurricane recovery in low-income neighborhoods of New Orleans. Working with residents, local NGOs and university partners, she has established reliable information on housing damage and reparability in some of the most heavily damaged low-income neighborhoods of the city. This work formed the basis of a community recovery plan which Dr. Paci-Green and others presented to the New Orleans City Council. This and other advocacy has led to the mayor’s choice to move segments of the low-income, African American neighborhood of the Lower Ninth Ward off of the “depopulation” list and onto the high-priority redevelopment list.
She has worked with community-based organizations in Turkey, India, and Central Asia to develop and implement disaster risk reduction education material. Specifically, she coordinated a project with the American Red Cross and the Disaster Preparedness Education Program to develop local non-structural mitigation guidelines for home and office seismic risk reduction in Turkey. This work involved participatory action research with Turkish engineers, entrepreneurs, handymen and residents and resulted in a training program for residents and local trade school students. In Turkey, she also coordinated the development of public education material to teach basic principles of seismic resistant construction. Working with academic and governmental representatives in Central Asia, Dr. Paci-Green also helped coordinate the development of guidelines for seismic resistant adobe construction and the production of a public education pamphlet in this regards.
At Western Washington University, Dr. Paci-Green teaches courses in human ecology and the Disaster Risk Reduction minor. She is currently co-teaching an experimental interdisciplinary course on the science and management of contaminated sites with toxicology professor Ruth Sofield. As Director of the Resilience Institute, she works with faculty to develop proposals and conduct research on agricultural resilience, community disaster vulnerability, disaster recovery and community resilience.