Faculty & Staff


Reggie Ferreira

Reggie Ferreira

Dr. Reggie Ferreira, Director, Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy | Assistant Professor, Tulane School of Social Work | Ph.D., University of Louisville, Kent School of Social Work | Research Fellow Department of Social Work, University of the Free State, South Africa.

Dr. Ferreira became the Director of the DRLA in Spring 2017. Originally, Dr. Ferreira joined the faculty from the Center of Hazards Research, University of Louisville. He earned a BSW degree and his master's degree in disaster management (cum laude) from the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa and a Ph.D. in social work from the University of Louisville. His dissertation research focused on multilevel disaster resilience and social vulnerability, pre and post Hurricane Katrina. Currently his work is focused on post Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill resilience and recovery. Reggie has worked on several local and international research projects related to disaster risk reduction in Africa, Europe and the United States. His main focus is on disaster research, primarily on systematic disaster resilience, social vulnerability and well-being within a disaster context. His work has been presented and published through several prestigious local and international peer review outlets. Other research interests include intimate partner violence, evidence-based practice research and pet loss. Dr. Ferreira is a second generation Ph.D. originally from South Africa.

Charles Figley

Charles Figley Dr. Charles R. Figley, Associate Dean for Research, Professor; Director, Tulane Traumatology Institute; Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Figley was named the Paul Henry Kurzweg Chair in Disaster Mental Health at Tulane University in 2008 when he joined the faculty as its senior professor from Florida State University. At FSU Professor Figley served as the senior professor in the area of trauma and Director of the PhD Program in Marriage and Family. Dr. Figley brought his Traumatology Institute to Tulane, which was recognized as the best program of its kind by the University Continuing Education Association in 2000. Dr. Figley attained full professor status in 1983 at Purdue University with a joint appointment as professor of psychological sciences. Dr. Figley established the renowned Purdue University Family Research Institute and established two Journals as Founding Editor, the Journal of Psychotherapy and the Journal of Traumatic Stress.  In 1995 became Founding Editor of Traumatology, the International Journal. Currently, Dr. Figley is editor of the oldest book series on trauma (established in 1978), the Psychosocial Stress Book Series. He has published more than 200 scholarly works including 25 books and 130 refereed journal articles. Collectively, his work reports on more than 35 research projects focusing primarily on traumatic stress and resiliency of individuals, families, and communities.

George Haddow

George Haddow

George Haddow is a founding partner of Bullock and Haddow LLC, a disaster management consulting firm. Mr. Haddow was appointed to serve by President Bill Clinton for eight years in the Office of the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as the White House Liaison and the Deputy Chief of Staff. Mr. Haddow currently serves on the Adjunct Faculty at Tulane University's Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy (DRLA) and at Tulane's Homeland Security Studies program. He is a co-author of several university textbooks including: Introduction to Emergency Management (5th Edition), Introduction to Homeland Security (5th Edition), Disaster Communications in a Changing Media World (2nd Edition) and Living with Climate Change: How Communities are Thriving and Surviving in a Changing Climate.

Rob Verchick


Rob Verchick is the Faculty Director of the Center for Environmental Law and Land Use. He recently served in the Obama administration as Deputy Associate Administrator for Policy at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In that role he helped develop climate adaptation policy for the EPA and served on President Obama's Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force. Verchick has testified before Congress on several issues, including Hurricane Katrina and the economic benefits of environmental regulation.  He has also represented environmental interests in friend-of-the-court briefs in cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and the federal appellate courts. He has written commentaries for several news outlets, including the Christian Science Monitor, the Baltimore Sun, and the New Orleans Times-Picayune. And he is a Member Scholar and former board member of the Center for Progressive Reform, a policy institute focused on public health and environmental protection. Verchick taught for eleven years on the law faculty at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) and practiced environmental law at a Seattle law firm before that. When at Harvard Law School, he served as Articles Editor for the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. Verchick has taught as a visiting professor at Peking University (China), Aarhus University (Denmark), Lewis & Clark College, and Seattle University, and has received teaching awards at Loyola, UMKC, Seattle University, and Harvard College. He has lectured on environmental topics across the United States and Europe, as well as in Israel, South Africa, and China.

Jeremy Stone

Jeremy Stone
 Jeremy Stone has 15 years of community economic development experience, and has worked on various  disaster recoveries including Hurricane Katrina, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the economic recovery of  Lower Manhattan after 9/11, and the 2013 Colorado floods. Previously, Jeremy was a senior financial analyst  at Seedco Financial, where he co-managed a $20-million grant and loan program following Hurricane  Katrina, and developed the Southeast Louisiana Fisheries Assistance Center, a first-of-its-kind initiative that  provides ongoing financial and technical assistance to commercial fishers. Jeremy is also a former Peace  Corps volunteer, where he served with the National Chamber of Commerce in Mongolia, and a former  economic program manager for Ecotrust Canada, where he provided business planning services to First  Nations and sustainable fisheries businesses. Jeremy received his MPA in international economic  development from New York University, and his BA in anthropology from Reed College where he studied the effect of 'cargo cults' on economic development in the South Pacific. Jeremy is currently a PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia where he is studying the relationship between gentrification and disaster, looking specifically at gentrification in the Central City neighborhood of New Orleans. 

Tonya Cross Hansel 

Image result for no picture available Dr. Tonya Cross Hansel is a social worker with expertise in research, statistics, disaster mental health, trauma, and  maximizing outcomes for social service agencies. Dr. Hansel's interest in research began as a United States  Peace Corps Volunteer, where she helped coordinate research addressing the social problems associated with  transmission of HIV and AIDS in the Gambia West Africa.   Following her service, she attended Tulane  University, completing her PhD in Social Work and broadened her research to include terrorism and its impact  on divorce rates. Dr. Hansel joined the faculty of the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center  Department of Psychiatry in 2007 and currently holds the titles of Clinical Associate Professor and Director of  Clinical Evaluation and Research. Her research efforts center on evaluation of general trauma services, disaster  response work in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and toward a better understanding of technological  disaster following the Deepwater Horizon Gulf Oil Spill.  Dr. Hansel also holds an adjunct appointment with  the Tulane University School of Social Work, where she teaches a series of master-level research courses and applied social statistics for the doctorate program.  Together these experiences have allowed Dr. Hansel to focus on measuring traumatic experiences and implementing systematic recovery initiatives that are effective at reducing negative symptoms, but also at emphasizing the importance of individual and community strengths that contribute to recovery.   

Amy Lesen

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Dr. Amy  E. Lesen is Research Associate Professor in the ByWater Institute at  Tulane University in New Orleans. Lesen works on the coast and in urban  estuaries. The overarching theme of her work is the interrelatedness  between ecosystem function and human social dynamics in coastal cities and coastal communities, and how those  systems are influenced by climate and environmental change. Most of her  current work focuses in New Orleans and southeastern Louisiana. Lesen is  also interested Science and Technology Studies (STS) and the sociological aspects of biophysical science practice, and  her work in these areas includes research and writing about scientific  public engagement, science communication, participatory research, and  interdisciplinarity. 


Tona Zwanziger 

Image result for no picture availableTona Zwanziger is a Graduate of Tulane University and currently serves as the Program Manager for the Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy. Tona has called New Orleans her home for the past 20 years. She received her BA from the University of New Orleans in Sociology.  She earned her Masters of Social Work, with a certificate in Disaster Mental Health, as well as the Masters of Science degree through the Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy here at Tulane University where she was awarded the "Tulane 34 Award" for her academic and service achievements as well as a Student Award for "Significant Contributions to Global Research in Disaster Resilience". She has been involved in both micro and macro level work. Her Master's Thesis focused on PTSD and Resiliency within military families and was published soon after she graduated with her MSW. While completing her DRLS degree, she conducted research on the community and community resilience following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill with the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI).  She has traveled extensively and brings a wealth of hands-on experience. She completed ten years of military service as a combat medic and first aid trainer with the US Army National Guard where she was activated for several hurricane-related response and recovery missions. She holds first-hand knowledge of one of the largest disasters in our area when she held the position of the Lead Administrator for the firm managing the Recovery Program for the City of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. Prior to rejoining the DRLA as our Program Manager, she was providing psychotherapy services in a private practice setting and holds the LMSW credential. Her interdisciplinary background is of great value to our Program. Tona grew up in the Midwest and enjoys spending her down time with her family.  

Hilda Vlachopoulou

Image result for no picture availableHilda Vlachopoulou will provide ongoing pre-award grant support to TSSW and recruitment and alumni relations support to DRLA. She is the former Program Manager for DRLA and has experience in capacity building and international development program management focused on justice reform and rule of law programs. Ms. Vlachopoulou previously served as Program Manager for the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development Assistance and Training (OPDAT) in Mexico, where she supported its mission to strengthen accountable justice sector institutions with international partners toward the shared goal of combating transnational criminal activities and enhancing the administration of justice and rule of law that is consistent with international norms and standards. In this role, Ms. Vlachopoulou strategically developed and executed numerous successful comprehensive programs under the Merida Initiative bilateral agreement between the U.S. and Mexico. Some of her core duties as Program Manager were the oversight of multi-million dollar budget cycles and program operations to support the United States' law enforcement and justice policy goals and the structural development of the Mexican justice sector institutions. Additionally, she was the primary liaison to executive levels of the Mexican government justice sector counterparts. Through this immense collaborative bilateral effort, thousands of prosecutors, investigators, and judges were trained. In addition to her work with the Department of Justice, Ms. Vlachopoulou has worked with the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs and Bureau of Public Affairs, and the private sector in Europe. She holds a Master's in Business Politics and Law from the University of Surrey (UK), where she focused on the European economy. She is fluent in English, Spanish, Greek, and intermediate in French. 

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