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Winter 2014 Vol. 14 Number 2

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New Initiative Seeks to Use Evidence to Build Community Resilience

Typically the National Research Council conducts its expert studies and leaves it to government agencies and other organizations to implement the recommendations. But a new initiative is taking the Research Council's recommendations and Community volunteers prepare sandbags in anticipation of breaching of local levees in Winfield, Missouri, photo by Jocelyn Augustino/FEMAscientific expertise and putting them to work, partnering with American communities to build resilience to disaster.

The National Research Council's Resilient America Roundtable brings together experts from many sectors to advance discussion about resilience, conduct outreach to communities, and incubate ideas and projects. A major thrust of the roundtable's work involves working closely with different U.S. communities as on-the-ground pilot projects. In September, the roundtable announced the first two pilot project communities -- Charleston, South Carolina, and Linn County/Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Over an initial two-year period, roundtable teams will work with decision makers, local organizations, businesses, and citizens in Charleston and Cedar Rapids to better understand the risks the communities face and help them design resilience strategies for those risks.

Lessons learned in each of the pilot communities will be shared broadly with other communities across the nation. "These pilot projects offer us an exciting opportunity to bring science into communities to help them build their own community disaster resilience strategies," said Lauren Alexander Augustine, director of the roundtable. The initiative's work is grounded in the Research Council's 2012 report Disaster Resilience: A National Imperative, which identified steps communities and the nation should take to bolster their resilience to natural and human-caused disasters.

-- Sara Frueh

More information on the pilot projects and the Resilient America Roundtable can be found online at

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