Science and Technology Innovation Program


Social Media in Emergency Management: Transforming the Response Enterprise

November 10, 2011 // 8:30am10:00am
2011 Social Media in Emergency Management Camp

Commons Lab of the Science and Technology Innovation Program, Woodrow Wilson Center.

By harnessing the collective power of citizens and engaging communities in their own response and recovery, social media have the power to revolutionize emergency management. Yet, many challenges—including guidelines for use by response agencies, demonstration of value, and characterization of reliability—must be addressed if the potential of social media is to be fully realized in emergency response and relief efforts in the United States.

Please join us on November 10th for this panel and roundtable discussion, which will be chaired by Dr. Clarence Wardell of CNA and will feature findings from the report, 2011 Social Media + Emergency Management Camp: Transforming the Response Enterprise. Panelists from the emergency management community, the private sector, government, and the digital volunteer community will discuss the report and offer policy and research recommendations for moving forward with the adoption, integration, and practice of social media in emergency management.

Please click here to see pictures from this event

Kim Stephens' iDisaster 2.0 blog post: Bloggers Collaborate to Comment and Expand on the SMEM Camp Report

Kim Stephens' iDisaster 2.0 blog post: SMEM Report Recommendation: Education and Knowledge Sharing are Needed

Patrice Cloutier: Release of a Key Report on how Social Media is Changing Disaster Response and Emergency Management

Dr. Clarence Wardell: #SMEM "@-mention" Visualization and Social Media in Emergency Management Event



5th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center
Event Speakers List: 
  • Research Scientist, CNA Safety & Security
  • Emergency Management Program Coordinator, King County Office of Emergency Management and Core Member, CrisisCommons
  • Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences, Northwestern University
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Event Sessions: 


Clarence Wardell III, Ph.D. is a Research Analyst in CNA’s Safety and Security Division within the Institute for Public Research. As a research analyst, Dr. Wardell works to deliver solutions that improve decision-making during crisis operations and develop innovative answers to challenging safety and security problems. At the federal level, he has supported the Federal Emergency Management Agency in preparedness assessment, developing models of response capabilities and drafting reporting products to assess all-hazards preparedness—including products for the 2011 National Level Exercise. Dr. Wardell has also conducted similar work at the local level, developing resource gap-analysis models to support the construction of regional catastrophic preparedness plans. In 2009, Dr. Wardell earned his Ph.D. in Industrial & Systems Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he was a Fellow at the Tennenbaum Institute for Enterprise Transformation. In addition to his dissertation research titled, “Signaling and Search in Humanitarian Giving: Models of Donor and Organization Behavior in the Humanitarian Space,” he also conducted research at Georgia Tech for the Pan-American Health Organization. In 2004, he received a B.S.E. degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. Currently he leads CNA’s research on issues related to the intersection of social media and emergency management.


Karen Smilowitz, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences at Northwestern University and holds a joint appointment with the Northwestern Transportation Center.  Dr. Smilowitz holds the Junior William A. Patterson Chair in Transportation.  She received her Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley and her BSE in Civil Engineering and Operations Research from Princeton University.  Dr. Smilowitz received a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation and a Sloan Industry Studies Fellowship.  Her work has also been recognized by the National Academy of Engineering: in 2004, she was an invited participant in their Frontiers of Engineering Workshop and in 2008, she participated in NAE’s Engineering, Social Justice, and Sustainable Community Development Conference.  Dr. Smilowitz studies modeling and solution approaches for logistics and transportation systems.  She has developed innovative modeling and solution techniques for these complex transportation systems in both commercial and non-profit applications, working with transportation providers, logistics specialists and a range of non-profit organizations.  She is currently leading the Northwestern Initiative on Humanitarian Logistics with fellow IEMS faculty member Irina Dolinskaya.

Kim Stephens is the lead blogger of iDisaster 2.0 and her focus is the benefits as well as the challenges the emergency management community might face when employing new information communications technologies before, during and after a crisis. She has over a decade of experience in the field of emergency management, both as a researcher and a practitioner.  Her experience has spanned federal, local and non-governmental organizations: from the US Environmental Protection Agency, to the Tennessee Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management, and the American Red Cross.  Kim recently developed social media training for the Department of Education’s 2011 Readiness in Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) grantees. She has also provided, for two consecutive years, training and awareness regarding the use of social media for crisis communications to recipients of the “Emergency Management for Higher Education” grant. She was recently hired as an associate at ABT Associates Inc, a consulting firm based in Cambridge, MA and Bethesda, Maryland. Kim has a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Texas A & M University.

Pascal Schuback is a full time Emergency Management Program Manager at the King County Office of Emergency Management in Seattle, WA. In his role, he is responsible for situational awareness, training and exercise, Continuity of Operations planning, National Incident Management System compliance, and technology integration. Pascal is also a CrisisCommons Core Team member and the city lead for Seattle. In addition to his work with CrisisCommons, he also participates in many areas relating to the advancement of technology and data in emergency management, the private sector, and various other communities. 

Wendy Harman directs social strategy and engagement at the American Red Cross, empowering stakeholders to fulfill the Red Cross mission on the social web. In this role since its inception in 2006, she is responsible for the national social media presence as well as listening, engaging, and acting on 3,000+ social mentions each day. She leads the strategic vision and implementation plan for 600+ chapters and 36 blood regions within the enterprise. With strengths in change management and innovation, she is cheering the Red Cross on in a fundamental culture shifts towards relevance, openness, and collaboration in the 21st century.

Before joining the Red Cross in 2006, Wendy managed operations for Future of Music Coalition and Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts, in addition to creating her own artist management firm. Wendy holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and Psychology from Emory University, and a JD from Northeastern School of Law. In 2010 and 2011 she was named to the Nonprofit Times Power and Influence Top 50 list. She frequently speaks and writes about issues at the intersection of nonprofits, technology, and the social web, and was recently featured in Charlene Li’s book Open Leadership and Beth Kanter and Allison Fine’s The Networked Nonprofit

Rachel Racusen has worked in political communications in both the public and private sectors, including in the U.S. House of Representatives and on congressional campaigns. She came to FEMA in May 2010 from the House Education and Labor Committee on Capitol Hill, where she served as the committee’s Communications Director. In her current role at FEMA, she oversees the agency’s national press office and strategy, including all external and internal communications. Among many other disasters, during her time at FEMA, she has developed and executed the press strategy for the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, for the deadly tornadoes that struck the southeast and Midwest last spring, and for Hurricane Irene.

During her tenure with the committee, she developed, executed and oversaw the press and communications strategies for key pieces of legislation, including the first increase in the federal minimum wage in over 10 years, the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, laws that rooted out conflicts of interest in the federal student loan programs, the largest increase in federal student aid to help families pay for college since the GI Bill and the historic health reform law signed by President Obama in early 2010. 

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