Lifespan Perspectives on Natural Disasters: Coping with Katrina, Rita, and Other Storms by Katie Cherry, Ph.D., Editor

2009, Springer, New York

Dr. Katie Cherry has composed a comprehensive work on disaster science that addresses the impact of change and crisis on all ages. Lifespan Perspectives is overflowing with experts from Louisiana universities, and weaves together a variety of information that helps the professional reader understand what happens to people, children to the oldest-old, when disaster strikes.

Dr. Katie Cherry, expert in adult development and aging, is professor of psychology at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, and the Director of the Life Course and Aging Center. She told the Times that, “The idea for this book surfaced for me while I was working on a data-based manuscript about the cognitive and psychosocial consequences of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in older adults.” Adding her expertise to that of others in this edited volume, Lifespan Perspectives deals with impacts across human development. Four parts, Children and Adolescents, Young and Middle-Age Adults, Order Adults and the Oldest-Old, and Special Topics, clearly organize the fourteen chapters that address a comprehensive range of topics. Katie and the contributors, having direct experience with Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and sources of trauma such as 911, outline the science and practice for coping, resilience and transcendence.

Chapters include “An Ecological-Needs-Based Perspective of Adolescent and Youth Emotional Development in the Context of Disaster: Lessons from hurricane Katrina,” by Carl Weems and Stacy Overstreet.

M.E. Betsy Garrison and Diane D. Sasser authored a chapter for young and middle age adults, titled, “Families and Disasters: Making Meaning Out of Adversity.”

In Part III, contributors Karen Roberto, Yoshinori Kamo, and Tammy Henderson deal with older adults and the “oldest-old” in, “Encounters with Katrina: Dynamics of Older Adults’ Social Support Networks.” Katie Cherry, Jennifer Silva and Sandro Galea authored another chapter in this section, “Natural disasters and the Oldest-Old: A Psychological Perspective on Coping and Health in Late Life.”

Special Topics section is loaded with fascinating topics that enhance the readers’ understanding and applications, adding to the overall breath and depth of the text. Anthony Speier, Joy Osofsky, and Howard Osofsky provided the chapter on, “Building a Disaster Mental Health Response to a Catastrophic Event: Louisiana and Hurricane Katrina.” Tracey Rizzuto contributed “Disaster Recovery in Workplace Organizations. ” And Jennifer Johnson and Sandro Galea provided “Disasters and Population Health.”

From the publisher: “Using the Katrina-Rita nexus as its reference point, Lifespan Perspectives on Natural Disasters takes the developmental long view on human strengths and vulnerabilities during large-scale devastation and crisis. An expert panel of behavioral scientists and first responders analyzes the psychological impact of natural disasters on—and coping faculties associated with—children, adolescents, and young, middleaged, older, young-old and late-life oldest-old adults. This timely information is invaluable both to mental health service providers and to those tasked with developing age-appropriate disaster preparedness, intervention, and recovery programs.

Unique in the disaster literature, Lifespan Perspectives on Natural Disasters serves as a research reference and idea book for professionals and graduate-level students in psychology, social work, and disaster preparedness and services.”

“Seeing this project from start to finish was enormously gratifying at all phases and also on many levels,” Katie said. “Lots of joys that have been magnified over time as I am beginning to receive queries about the book from as near as Florida and as far away as Australia.”

When asked about her writing, she said, “My biggest lesson learned it that it takes about 2 years to complete a project of this scope and magnitude, an edited volume with 14 chapters. Endurance is also important, as it took multiple iterations to ensure that each chapter locked in seamlessly with the others– minimizing repetition of content and maximizing complementarily.”

Among her many achievements, Dr. Cherry has received the LSU Office of Research and Economic Development Top 100 Research and Creative Faculty (“Rainmaker”) Award, the Emogene Pliner Distinguished Professor of Aging Studies professorship, the LSU Alumni Faculty Excellence Award, and as coinvestigator, was awarded a five-year program project grant to study the determinants of longevity and healthy aging from the National Institute of Aging.

Louisiana Contributors to Lifespan Perspectives LSU Life Course and Aging Center (LCAC) Katie Cherry, Ph.D.,Director, also LSU Dept. of Psychology Priscilla Allen, MSW, Ph.D., Associate Director, and also LSU School of Social Work Yoshinori Kamo, Ph.D., also Dept. of Sociology LSU School of Human Ecology Jennifer Baumgartner, Ph.D., LCAC Loren Marks, Ph.D. LCAC Diane Sasser, Ph.D., M.E. Betsy Garrison, Ph.D., Associate Dean, College of Agriculture LCAC LSU, Dept. of Education, Theory, Policy and Practice Teresa Buchanan, Ph.D. LCAC Renee Casbergue, Ph.D. LCAC LSU Psychology Dept. Thompson Davis III, Ph.D. LCAC Mary Lou Kelley, Ph.D. Tracey Rizzuto, Ph.D. LCAC Arlene Gordon, M.A. Brittany Hernandez, M.A. Melissa Munson, M.A. Valeria Paasch, M.A. Jennifer Silva, M.A. Erin V. Tarcza, M.A. Julia Vigna, M.A. LSU Health Sciences Center Howard Osofsky, MD, Ph.D. Joy Osofsky, Ph.D. Office of Mental Health Anthony Speier,, Ph.D. Tulane, Psychology Dept. Stacy Overstreet, Ph.D. LCAC UNO, Psychology Dept. Carl Weems, Ph.D. LCAC

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