My practicum was with the Keene, N.H. Chapter of the American Red Cross in their Office of Emergency Services and began in the Spring of 2006, approximately six months after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. The Red Cross as an organization was very much in a “recovery” period from the disaster and for my capstone research I wanted to understand more about what had happened, mistakes the Red Cross recognized, and how they planned to more efficiently respond to future disasters.

My Capstone Research Question is: Hurricane Katrina as experienced by the Red Cross: What are administrative lessons learned by Red Cross Disaster Preparedness and Relief in the year following the disaster? How do they plan to improve for the future?

The central phenomenon of my study is the focus on the administrative affect Hurricane Katrina had on American Red Cross Disaster Services in the year immediately following the disaster (September 2005-September 2006) . The paradigm of my research is constructivism. My approach is analytic as I have concentrated on gathering, reading, referencing and evaluating a variety of published documents and on-line data.

My research concludes that the Red Cross identified a summary of key challenges which it felt had impaired the agency’s effectiveness. I examine these challenges and the methods the Red Cross proposes it will implement to improve its capabilities for responding effectively to future disasters. Applicability of this research is of interest to anyone interested in the field of Disaster Services.


Management Information Systems | Other Social and Behavioral Sciences