From left to right: Lizzy Warner, Ari Young and Yithak Henry
From left to right: Lizzy Warner, Ari Young and Yitzhak Henry

A team of Global Resilience Institute researchers was awarded by the Los Angeles Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC) for their presentation on promoting and advancing resilience in vulnerable communities.

The October 16 presentation won second place at the HSAC’s Crisis Management Case Challenge program — a competitive event for graduate students addressing crisis management issues — after the team was selected as one of six finalists nationwide.

After being given a “case” in Los Angeles, the GRI research team drafted a policy brief addressing the city’s Mayor, with recommended action items to take to enhance community resilience. The recommendations outlined by the researchers — Yitzhak Henry, Nate Toll, Lizzy Warner, and Ari Young — focused on work specifically being conducted at GRI, coupled with initiatives proposed by the City of Los Angeles as well as those being supported by the federal government. The motivation behind the proposal was to encourage development of already strong ideas—as opposed to starting anew, as many teams chose to do—and developing ways to finance those ideas that had not yet been implemented. The strength the team provided was twofold: first, and foremost, providing an interdisciplinary perspective and secondly leveraging the knowledge of current financing venues available but untapped.

In presenting their proposal, “Improving the resilience of vulnerable communities in Los Angeles through existing innovative frameworks”, the Northeastern University graduate students were judged by a panel consisting of representatives from the city, county, and state all of whom work jointly with national partners.



An interdisciplinary approach was key to the development of the proposal, as the graduate student team brought backgrounds in cyber security, political science, security and resilience studies, and civil and environmental engineering. The team was the only one in which all members came from a unique area of research and simultaneously was unique in that the students from STEM fields were able to complement the political theories being proposed, and vice versa. The team was also able to leverage the abundance of current research being conducted at GRI on Opportunity Zones, liquid asset poverty, and more to supplement their work.

“We were thrilled with the response and feedback that we received, particularly as this was GRI’s first time being represented at the HSAC Case Study Competition,” said Warner. She added, “We were congratulated on applying theories and practices in a way that became unique to the community in which we were targeting.”

The group hopes to continue to evolve their work, collaborate with the judges and participants, and use this as a starting point for deepened partnerships in regions beyond Greater Boston.