RISE 2019 Conference

Transforming University Engagement In Pre- and Post-Disaster Environments: Lessons from Puerto Rico

Alexis Santos

Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies

Pennsylvania State University


havidan rodriguez photo

Alexis Santos’ primary research interest lies in the study of social disparities in stress, health, and mortality. As a population health scientist, he works with health disparities and the measurement of physiological dysregulation and stress. Using biomarker data, he explores the implications of alternative measurements of physiological dysregulation in our understanding of health disparities.

His health and mortality projects are focused on post-climate disasters disparities and vulnerabilities due to different socioeconomic status. Following Hurricane María, he initiated a series of projects to study its effect in the population of Puerto Rico. First, he conducted the Puerto Rican Diaspora Study, an online survey for the Puerto Ricans living in the United States where they provide information about the strategies employed by their families to deal with post-Hurricane disaster conditions.

His second project, deals with the appropriate count of the number of deaths attributable to Hurricane Maria based on historical patterns of deaths for the post-2010 period. His aim is to use these results to inform policy makers and Emergency Managers and aid in the formulation of new protocols to prevent deaths in the future.