A medical professional guiding someone through a station
By Marlena E. Bermel

Ready to Respond

UNM Nursing Faculty Member is a National Leader in Disaster Preparedness

Are you prepared for a disaster?

Roberta P. Lavin, PhD, FNP-BC, professor and PhD program director in The University of New Mexico College of Nursing, has made it her mission to ensure that nurses are ready when the next disaster hits.

A recent literature review in the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction identified Lavin as being among the top 20 authors most frequently publishing on disaster nursing.



Roberta Lavin, PhD, FNP-BC

Disaster nursing is not a small field, so to be recognized in this way for my research is exciting

Roberta Lavin, PhD, FNP-BC

“Disaster nursing is not a small field, so to be recognized in this way for my research is exciting,” Lavin said. “I was honored to be on list of researchers and institutions – many of whom I have worked with.”

Lavin knows a thing or two about networks. She spent most of her career in policy working in several government positions, including serving as the director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary’s Command Center after the 9/11 and anthrax attacks. She entered academia in 2010 and joined the UNM College of Nursing in 2020.

She takes great pride in her research and is most proud of her work to create the Disaster Case Management program – a large FEMA-funded research and development project to meet the needs of the poor and underserved after a disaster. The program is still in existence today, and during a disaster anybody can request funding through the program.

The Disaster Case Management program altered Lavin’s perspective as a researcher.

“My life was changed as I watched everyday people doing all the things that I thought required a social worker or nurse, because they lived in the community and they knew the people,” she said.

Lavin’s current research focuses on addressing critical topics in disaster, human services and public health emergency preparedness, studying the implications for policy related to the profession of nursing and treatment of chronic conditions during disaster. 

Her goal for the future is to ensure the research and science moves from the publication pages into the educational process, ensuring students are prepared for what lays ahead.

“It is time we take the research that I spent my career working on and move it into the classroom to prepare our future nurses,” Lavin said.

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