START Interns were recently recognized by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for their work in helping create a model to measure the impact of social displacement and psychological distress. The Department of Homeland Security Policy, Office of Strategy, Planning, Analysis and Risk (SPAR) nominated START for a Science & Technology Impact Award. The project, which was aided by several START interns in the summer of 2011, developed a modeling approach to be used in the Strategic National Risk Assessment (SNRA). In addition to the work by START interns, START-affiliated Researcher Fran Norris provided expertise related to the psychological impacts of national-level events, such as a terrorist attack or a catastrophic hurricane, through factors such as illnesses, injuries, deaths and social displacement.
The work provided by START was incorporated by SPAR in 2012 into the Strategic National Risk Assessment, and results were delivered to FEMA and were briefed to multiple executives and stakeholders throughout the federal government. START's contribution has increased the ability of the Department of Homeland Security to incorporate aspects of social science into their national level risk assessments.