Douglas Ahlers

Douglas Ahlers

Faculty Project: Recupera Chile Health Project
Faculty Project: Enlace 27/02 Initiative

Recupera Chile Health Project

Recupera Chile is an international association of academic institutions, private nonprofit and public, who have joined together to provide a range of supporting services for post-earthquake recovery, including technical assistance, strengthening the economic capacity and supporting the child health within communities of Cobquecura, Dichato and Perales.

Recupera Chile Health Project is a partnership between the University of Concepción through its Department of Child Psychiatry, and the Children's Hospital Boston, Harvard University, in partnership with the network of health and education centers in the district of Tomé, and communities of Cobquecura, Dichato and Perales.

The objective of this program is to respond to existing mental health needs of children in their communities, by strengthening and technical assistance programs that support early childhood development.

Recupera Chile addresses children's mental health as a priority of their actions, through support to health programs for children under age 6 whom are users of the public network of primary care. Program implementation is developed through work with families, health professionals and educators in Dichato. Actions will focus on three instances, the children themselves, their parents and teachers, and community through the following strategies:

I. Facilitate the implementation of parenting skills workshops on topics selected by parents.
II. Provide training to teachers in kindergarten and pre-kindergarten in the behavior management of children.
III. Consultancy for the development of local mental health programs for children with learning and behavioral problems.
IV. Baseline survey on the needs and capacities of families with children under 6 years.

Recupera Chile Health Project is based on the existing infrastructure for education and children's health plan and programs already offered, so it does not duplicate efforts. We support the development of local community programs associated like Chile Crece Contigo and the services of mental health care in the public network. The program began thanks to a DRCLAS Faculty grant awarded to Judy Palfrey in 2012.

Participating Harvard faculty: Doug Ahlers, Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School; Judith Palfrey, T. Berry Brazelton Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

Collaborators: Mario Valdivia and Martín Zilic, Universidad de Concepción; Pilar del Canto

Collaborating Institutions: Center for International Development, Harvard University; Universidad de Concepción, Municipalidad de Tomé, Dichato y Coelemu, Fundación EPES.

Recupera Chile: economic recovery gets a boost from Harvard

Recupera Chile is a multi-disciplinary Harvard University initiative led by the Kennedy School and the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies that brings together a broad coalition of institutions including Harvard students, alumni and faculty and Chilean academic, non-profit, and private and public sector organizations to focus on post-disaster recovery.  The program addresses a range of issues   including technical assistance, livelihood restoration, capacity building, community mental health, early childhood education, cultural heritage restoration, and built space based in the three  communities of Cobquecura, Dichato and Perales, near the epicenter of the 2010 earthquake and tsunami in southern Chile. The people, businesses and local governments of each of these communities are working in tandem with Recupera Chile on a number of projects based on assessments of needed relief emerging from each community with the help of students and faculty from Harvard and its partners.

The project aims to put Harvard University’s network and knowledge into action by integrating a multidisciplinary Harvard faculty team and involving students with local communities. Recupera Chile connects these and other resources with the needs of the communities and, in so doing, involve different actors in the long-term and sustainable development of the area.  Recupera Chile’s longer term goal is to create local and international networks to support the projects and to build on lessons learned to strengthen local capabilities that will ensure that the results will endure once these actors step aside. It recognizes the community as the main driver of the recovery/development process.  The program therefore follows a bottom-up approach resulting in a thoughtful analysis to improve the quality of life of the entire community. Harvard hopes to further develop its efforts to address disaster prevention and mitigation around the world through the study of the Chile case.

HKS course: Community Recovery: Rebuilding Disaster Damaged Communities in Chile

Participating Harvard faculty: Doug Ahlers, Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School; Judith Palfrey, T. Berry Brazelton Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School; Pierre Bélanger, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture, Harvard Graduate School of Design

Collaborators: Miho Mazereeuw, MIT Architecture; Sam and Cindy McCullagh; Elizabeth Peacock, HMS; Iván Cartes, Universidad del Bío-Bío; Mario Valdivia and Martín Zilic, Universidad de Concepción; Gino Mosso, SERCOTEC; Miguel Cordero; Matthew Stolhandske

Collaborating Institutions: Center for International Development, Harvard University; MIT - Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Universidad Católica, Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez, Universidad de Concepción, Universidad del Desarrollo, Universidad del Bío-Bío, CORFO, SERCOTEC, FOSIS, Ministerio de Vivienda y Urbanismo, Consejo de Monumentos Nacionales, Fundación CREA, Fundación para la superación de la pobreza, Arauco, Fundación Integra, Delegado de Aldeas y Campamentos, Municipalidad de Tomé, Dichato y Coelemu, Fundación EPES.

Enlace 27/02 Initiative

Harvard has been involved in relief efforts in Chile since a few days following the February 27, 2010 disaster. Harvard faculty members visited displaced-persons camps to provide mental health assessments of children. Alumni rallied the Harvard Club of Chile to deliver two planeloads of medical supplies. Alumni were appointed to key positions working in reconstruction and prevention of tsunami-related damage and were some of the first on the scene. Harvard students also lent a hand in planning and reconstruction efforts through volunteer work in the earthquake zone.

With the advocacy of Professor Daniel Hojman, a more comprehensive effort was formulated throughout 2010. Following a number of planning meetings begun in June 2010, a major symposium, funded through a grant from the Provost, took place on March 22nd, 2011 to determine areas in which Harvard could provide added value to the current efforts undertaken in Chile. The meeting was opened by President Drew Faust who emphasized the role Harvard plays in response, relief, and recovery efforts around the world. Drawing on the HKS “Acting in Time” initiative in disaster areas such as New Orleans, the Gulf of Mexico, and in earthquake zones such as San Francisco, Haiti and Indonesia, keynote speaker, HKS Dean David Ellwood, emphasized the need for addressing the effects of disasters before they happen. Three main areas are taking into consideration for potential Harvard roles: 1) Long-term planning in disaster preparedness, prevention, and recovery in cases of large scale emergencies in participatory democracies; 2) Impact of disasters on public health, especially integrated community health; 3) Coordinated reconstruction in communities incorporating local authorities and leaders to cooperate in urban design, heritage preservation, and safe construction. The next steps will include developing a concrete proposal and seek additional funding for a coordinated effort. Strategic conclusions have been developed during the work year which are current for the work that Harvard aims to do in the affected area: 1) To address the mental health recovery of communities, public health interventions are still timely even after a year since the disaster. 2) Regional and national businesses are effective partners with government in reconstruction recovery and should be partners in Harvard’s plan. 3) Government’s crucial leadership role can be fortified with effective municipal training efforts. 4) Harvard’s multidisciplinary team may be best partnered with one town and possibly one or two Universities to develop a place-based collaborative effort duplicating the model of Broadmoor in New Orleans following the Katrina disaster.

An evaluation model will need to be designed to contribute to longer-term research impact in the area of disasters worldwide.

Participating Harvard Faculty:

Daniel Hojman, Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School, University of Chile, founder of the ENLACE initiative; Douglas Ahlers, Professor of Public Policy, Director, Ash Center for Governance Democracy and Innovation Harvard University; MaryCatherine Arbour, Resident Doctor, Howard Hiatt Global Health Equity, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Researcher, Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University; Miho Mazereeuw, Professor of Architecture, Harvard School of Design and Judith Palfrey, T. Berry Brazelton Professor, Harvard Medical School

Collaborators: Luís Valenzuela, Architect, Consultant on risk assessment in the sixth and seventh Regions;  Pablo Allard, Member of the Reconstruction Commission, Ministry of Housing and Development;  Macarena Carroza Solar, Director, CREA Restorations



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