Jessica Southwell has joined the UNC-Chapel Hill Center for Natural Hazards Resilience as Project Manager for the Hurricane Matthew Disaster Recovery and Resilience Initiative (Initiative). In this position, she will coordinate the work of the Initiative in six communities in eastern North Carolina that were impacted by Hurricane Matthew, including documenting the Initiative’s progress, reporting to various stakeholders and engaging with targeted communities.

Jessica Southwell
Jessica Southwell

Southwell was formerly a research associate at the North Carolina Institute for Public Health at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Her experience includes positions at the UNC Center for Public Health Preparedness, Minnesota Department of Health and Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State.

The Initiative, which began earlier this year, addresses recovery and rebuilding issues in six communities: Princeville, Fair Bluff, Seven Springs, Windsor, Kinston and Lumberton.

Three primary efforts of the Initiative include: 1) Studying the impacts of Hurricane Matthew on eastern North Carolina communities; 2) Advising North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper and officials at the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management (NCEM) officials on state and federal recovery policies and programs; and 3) Assisting communities develop disaster recovery plans.

“We’re thrilled to have Jessica join the Initiative,” said Dr. Gavin Smith, who leads the Initiative. “Among other things, she will help our team as we work with eastern North Carolina communities to identify unmet needs, find the resources to address these needs, and to work with eastern North Carolina communities to develop and implement plans to become more resilient to future hazards.”

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