As a Clinical Associate Professor at the NYU College of Global Public Health and founding director of the Program on Population Impact, Recovery, and Resiliency (PiR2), Dr. Abramson knows his way around a disaster. But it is his cool, methodical demeanor that literally makes him "the calm before the storm."
Honing these skills and nurturing his passion for disaster preparedness and response, took root early in his career when he was both a paramedic and a writer for such magazines as Rolling Stone, Esquire, and Outside. What fascinates him most is how the health of a body-at the individual or population level--can dramatically improve or decline along with the severity of the damage inflicted by disaster - and then recover.
"When there is a disaster, you can easily see the fault lines in a society in terms of what's working, what isn't, and where the stumbling blocks are," said Dr. Abramson, who is the lead investigator on the soon-to-be released Sandy Child and Family Health Study, a major representative population study of 1 million New Jersey residents living in Superstorm Sandy's path. Based on findings released from this study -- which was conducted by Rutgers University and NYU, in collaboration with Columbia University and Colorado State University -- over 100,000 New Jersey residents experienced significant structural damage to their primary homes from the ferocious storm, leaving over a quarter to suffer from moderate or severe mental health distress years after the storm itself.
Abramson also dove into disaster research in Louisiana immediately after Hurricane Katrina. Dr. Abramson is conducting an ambitious ten-year retrospective in his Gulf Coast Child and Family Health Study--which examines the long-term recovery of a random sample of over 1,000 people in Louisiana and Mississippi.