Disaster Recovery Speakers

Nancy Correa

Nancy Correa is the Senior Community Initiatives Coordinator for the Section of Public Health Pediatrics at Texas Children’s Hospital.  In this role, she leads community collaboratives to strategically address gaps in practice and knowledge to mitigate childhood adversities and foster resilience in individuals, families, and communities.  Nancy has over ten years of experience in public health conducting needs assessments, implementing evidence-based programs, leading evaluations, and facilitating collaboratives.  Nancy’s experience includes developing and implementing a strategy to make evidence-based parent support programs more widely available through schools, churches, afterschool programs, and healthcare clinics in Houston, Texas. Nancy has a bachelor’s degree from Rice University in Chemistry and Health Policy and a masters degree from Boston University School of Public Health.


Suratha Elango, MD, MSHP

Suratha Elango, MD, MSHP received her bachelor’s degree in biology with honors from Harvard University and medical degree from UT Southwestern Medical School.  She then completed her residency and chief residency in pediatrics at the University of California San Francisco.  After residency, she became a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania where she obtained a Masters in Health Policy Research and gained further experiences in community health, cross-sector place-based initiatives, and systems and design thinking.  Dr. Elango moved to Houston in August 2017 as an Assistant Professor in the Section of Community Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine. She works clinically at the Texas Children’s Health Plan Center for Children and Women Southwest and is also leading a Texas Children’s Hospital initiative to help address the social needs of families affected by Harvey.

Recovering After Harvey: Challenges in Connecting to Resources From the Individual, Organizational, and System Perspectives

On August 26, 2017 Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Houston, TX.  The extensive flooding displaced approximately 39,000 people and impacted an estimated 450,000 homes.  Though occurring in a developed country with abundant infrastructure as well as hundreds of millions of dollars in donations pouring into the city in the immediate aftermath of the storm, it became clear that unfortunately the families who need the most help are facing the greatest challenges navigating the system and accessing needed resources.  Utilizing a design thinking methodology to identify major gaps in service and possible solutions, Dr. Elango interviewed and brought together key stakeholders including families who lost everything, grassroots organizations in hard hit northeast Houston, and various city and county agencies active in disaster recovery efforts.  She will share their stories as well as her experience trying to navigate the system with families.  Finally she will offer some lessons learned and key areas to address now and in the future.


Brian Temple, MD

Brian Temple has been involved in international and disaster medicine since attending medical school at University College Dublin, in Ireland, where he pursued both clinical and research rotations in Cuba, Mexico, Australia and at Ground Zero following the 9/11 attacks. During residency, Dr. Temple rotated in Botswana for the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative. Following residency, while a partner in a group pediatric practice in Salem, Oregon, Dr. Temple traveled to Haiti, Tanzania, and Guatemala as part of Medical Teams International or the Orphan’s Foundation Fund. Dr. Temple is currently a partner/co-owner of Beansprout Pediatrics in the Austin Hill Country, a clinical assistant professor at Dell Medical School and University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. Additionally, he is a founding board member of Global 7, a non-profit that has established an annual free pediatric and community clinic in Peru.

Haiti to Houston and The Lessons Learned

An overview of disaster recovery in the age of rapid media response and the role key stakeholders must play. Given today’s overwhelming media coverage of natural disasters via traditional news outlets and social media, humanitarian agencies must sort through ever-changing information to formulate an effective and appropriate on-the-ground response. Internationally and at home, the interplay between information and competing agencies can complicate response and recovery. A system of clear hierarchy and sustained communication with all actors involved allow for a more robust and successful response. However, use of feedback and lessons from continued mistakes must be an intentional part of ongoing and future plans.


Marianela Acuña Arreaza

Marianela Acuña Arreaza is a Venezuelan immigrant who has dedicated herself to social change in Houston for almost a decade. Her roles in social justice have always involved facilitating participatory decision-making, designing educational curriculum, and moving networks and groups into action. While studying sociology and arts at University of Houston, she organized for student-worker solidarity in college and volunteered as a case manager and research coordinator with Fe y Justicia Worker Center, the organization she now serves as the executive director. Marianela has built her experience as a non profit leader through participatory advocacy research projects with Data Center, Food Chain Worker Alliance, and National Domestic Worker Alliance. She also has led civic engagement and voter protection campaigns with organizations such as Common Cause and VoteRiders. Her work at Young Invincibles taught her much about the role of advocacy.She has co-founded grassroots projects, such as Casa Blue, a social justice school and Antena Houston, a collective of interpreters and translators supporting local movements. Marianela is the recipient of the Houston Peace and Justice Center 2014 Peacemaker Award, the Highlander Education and Research Center’s 2015 Greensboro Justice Fellowship, and the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health Activist Award in 2017.


Vicki Brentin

Vicki Brentin is the Disaster Recovery Chair for Rotary District 5890 in the Houston area. She represents District 5890 on the Rotary International Donor Advised Fund that is funding numerous Harvey recovery projects for the Gulf Coast. She is leading a significant water filter initiative in Puerto Rico following Hurricanes Irma and Maria.  For the past 15 years she has been a community volunteer leading Rotary initiatives in Houston as well as internationally. She established a successful Bio-Medical Equipment training program for hospitals and clinics in Haiti that evolved after the experience of landing in Haiti 30 minutes prior to the 2010 earthquake. She has organized several medical missions to Haiti as well as water filter projects. She is a member of the Rotary Club of Houston Skyline,  a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow and Recipient of the Rotary Service Above Self award from Rotary International.  She worked 10 years for CARE USA and previously practiced law.  She is a graduate of the University of Houston Law School.


Jason Glenn, PhD

Dr. Jason E. Glenn’s areas of research specialty include health inequities, mass incarceration, the history of drug policy in the U.S., and the ethics and history of human subject research.  He received his B.A. from Stanford University in 1996, and his M.A. and his Ph.D. in the history of science and medicine from Harvard University in 2001 and 2005, respectively.  He spent 10 years at UTMB as the James Wade Rockwell Distinguished Professor in Medical History within the Institute for the Medical Humanities; a member of the Center for Addiction Research and a Senior Fellow at the Center to Eliminate Health Disparities.  Dr. Glenn is also director of Sobriety High, Inc., a nonprofit organization providing community re-entry services for persons with a history of substance abuse who are returning to Galveston from prison.  As director of Sobriety High, Dr. Glenn is also a co-founder of the Galveston County Restorative Justice Community Partnership and the Galveston County Hope Drug Court.  His current research investigates abusive policing practices as a structural determinant of ill health in so affected communities.