Impact360 Director Scott Miles and I recently attended a workshop on integrating research and practice in emergency management. Held at the Fort Worth Office of Emergency Management, over 30 researchers and practitioners attended. This workshop was the third of its kind organized and facilitated by Josh Roberts, an Assistant Chief for the Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM).
The initial meeting, held in Grapevine, Texas, discussed the gap between research and practice in the emergency management (and related) field(s), and to brainstorm ideas to improve the integration of research and practice. The next meeting took place at the University of Texas Arlington and consisted of breakout group discussions. It was at that meeting where the group began to socialize the thought of organizing the “ideas“ into the different categories (shared spaces, joint work, etc.).
The November meeting was unique. Participants in this workshop included local emergency managers, professors from colleges in the region, and FEMA personnel. After everyone had gathered, Josh explained the current meeting would be of a think/pair/share speed dating format. Our role was to engage a virtual audience through live-tweeting.
Here is a sample of the questions asked:
- What are some specific ways or instances in which researchers and practitioners can engage in joint work?
- What are some specific actions to take to create and support shared spaces among researchers and practitioners for continued conversation and collaboration?
- What are some specific actions you/we can take to market the effort and to help catalyze and synergize similar efforts?
As the meeting concluded, it was evident that new relationships had been built between the researcher and practitioner attendees. The walls were covered in sticky notes with a large variety of suggestions on how they could work together better in the future.
These interactions are something Josh believes in strongly. “As practitioners or researchers, disaster loss is a shared challenge that we work to overcome,” says Josh. “We need to approach the reduction of it in the same manner in which we face it – together.”