DENTON (UNT), Texas — The University of North Texas will gather emergency management practitioners, academics and students from 10 states to host the second annual Preparedness Response Innovation Mitigation Recovery conference March 6-8.
The College of Health and Public Service’s Department of Emergency Management and Disaster Science is the first venue to host the conference in person, as it was virtual in 2021. Conference partners include Texas A&M University and the Texas Division of Emergency Management.
“UNT is home to the first emergency management program in the nation,” said Ronald Schumann, associate professor of emergency management and disaster science, “and this further solidifies our role as a leader in the in the state of Texas. It’s important for students, as well, for networking and taking stock of the diversity of career fields and options available to them in emergency management.”
Julie Elliott, UNT emergency preparedness and business continuity manager, noted that from a practitioner’s point of view, the conference is building partnerships and collaboration that may not have existed before.
The conference largely focuses on the Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana region but will have speakers — many of whom are alumni from the UNT emergency management program — from Texas, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Virginia.
“We want this to be an environment where we cross boundaries and learn from one another here within the region,” Schumann said. “Academia and emergency management practitioners are often working in siloed environments. Academia needs to know what problems are most important to solve and to create practical solutions in the field and practitioners need to know how to better translate the research produced into their practice.”
Some of the sessions include:
- A Keynote Speech by Kay Goss, president of World Disaster Management and the first woman to serve as associate director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency from 1993 to 2001.
- Coping with Chronic Hazards and Crises — A panel session focusing on disasters of the future, moving from quick fuse disasters of the past to chronic challenges likely in the future, such as drought, water availability, sea level rise, heat waves and wildfires.
- Managing Complex and Compounding Disasters — A panel session discussing disasters such as the 2021 winter storm, the COVID-19 pandemic and how large, long-term events cascade and compound featuring W. Nim Kidd, Texas Division of Emergency Management chief; Tony Robinson, FEMA Region 6 regional administrator; Juan Ortiz, City of Austin director of emergency management and homeland security; and Christa Lopez, Texas General Land Office chief of staff–deputy director of community development and revitalization.
- I’m Not Okay, You’re Not Okay — A round table discussion about mental health for emergency responders led by Rhonda Simpson, City of Dallas emergency management public information officer.
- Fostering Academic-Nonprofit Collaboration — A panel session featuring Schumann and Jay Semple from Catholic Charities of Fort Worth, who will discuss the importance of collaborations between nonprofits and academia to further efforts in preparation and long-term needs during disaster recovery.