“ What a Relief! ” Podcast 109: Using Technology to Support Refugee Children

In this episode of Islamic Relief USA’s “What a Relief!” podcast, Jeff Schlegelmilch and Jackie Ratner from Columbia University’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness (NCDP) chat with host B.C. Dodge. They comment on using technology to help vulnerable populations who have experienced trauma and disasters, particularly refugee children.In this episode of Islamic Relief USA’s “What a Relief!” podcast, Jeff Schlegelmilch and Jackie Ratner from Columbia University’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness (NCDP) chat with host B.C. Dodge. They comment on using technology to help vulnerable populations who have experienced trauma and disasters, particularly refugee children.

Impact-Oriented Work: Disaster Preparedness for the Vulnerable

Jeff is Deputy Director and NCDP and Jackie is the Senior Project Manager. At NCDP, they focus on impact-oriented work. Jeff shares that they not only conduct primary research, but take the latest research and turn it into actual practical solutions. In short, they help policy and practice be informed by the best available science.

The center at Columbia University received a grant from Islamic Relief USA, making the National Center for Disaster Preparedness, based at the Earth Institute, an important IRUSA partner. Their projects place emphasis on the most vulnerable populations in disasters, such as children and the elderly.

Disaster preparedness remains an important priority to Islamic Relief USA, whose own Disaster Response Team (DRT) supports continued recovery efforts at disaster locations nationwide, including for homes damaged by Hurricane Harvey in Houston.

Developing an App to Help Refugee Children

In the podcast, Jeff shares about how the NCDP’s propensity for helping those who are most vulnerable goes back to the roots of the center’s founder, Dr. Irwin Redlener, who was a pediatrician and humanitarian.

The particular NCDP project that Islamic Relief USA is proud to partner and give a grant to is the development of a mobile app that assists in identifying and preventing early mental health issues among refugee children, such as Syrian refugees.

They’re currently in the needs assessment phase of the project, which includes fact-finding.

Long-Term Effects of Disasters on Children

In the podcast, Jeff and Jackie comment on research that affirms that the whole trajectory of children’s lives are re-oriented by trauma experienced due to war or refugee status.

The long-term effects of surviving a disaster as a child are serious: Jackie shares examples of children who fell severely behind their peer groups after Hurricane Katrina.

The National Center for Disaster Preparedness is taking the powerful responsibility for asking what can be done to mitigate the impact.

Want to more about Jeff and Jackie’s research, how the project works, or why this topic is so important? Listen in. You’ll be glad you did. Our partners are always truly inspiring.

**And now you can reach out to us at our new email address: warp@irusa.org!**

“What a Relief!” is the official podcast of Islamic Relief USA. Hosted by digital media specialist B.C. Dodge, IRUSA’s “What a Relief!” puts a human face on what’s going on in the world and how you can enact positive change in it. New episodes every week!
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