to the security of the Nation.”1 As defined in PPD-8, resilience is “the ability to adapt to changing conditions and withstand and rapidly recover from disruption due to emergencies.” Session chair Kathryn Brinsfield, formerly of the White House National Security Staff and now the Acting Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs at the Department of Homeland Security, said that to really be resilient, people, systems, and the infrastructure that supports those systems, have to work together simultaneously to return to normal, whether that is the original state of things, or a new normal. PPD-8 takes a capabilities-based approach to disaster preparedness. The intent is not have new plans, equipment, and responses for every disaster, but to have core disaster response capabilities that can be deployed across a wide range of situations.

To further consider resilience interventions in children from a scientific perspective, a white paper was commissioned for the workshop and presented in this section. David Abramson, deputy director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, presented an overview of the white paper “The Science and Practice of Resilience Interventions for Children Exposed to Disasters.”2 The paper, authored by Abramson, Kallin Brooks, and Lori Peek, provides a review of the current literature on resilience research, and identifies several challenges to developing an evidence base for resilience interventions in disasters. Following first a discussion of research on the science of resilience in children, and then an explanation of the white paper, panelists provide real-world examples of specific strategies to foster resilience.


Ann S. Masten, of the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota, said that the field of disaster research and awareness was motivated in large part by the incredible global devastation from World War II, and the millions of traumatized children impacted by bombings, radiation, displacement, and being orphaned.


1See (accessed September 9, 2013).

2Full text of the white paper is available in Appendix G of this workshop summary and online at (accessed September 9, 2103). The authors are solely responsible for the content of the white paper.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement