Building Resiliency in an Age of Terrorism
Public Health Perspectives

Summary

Brief Video Highlight

A series of terrorist attacks — including recent bombings in Belgium — has shaken the public’s sense of security as they go about the most mundane tasks of daily life. Images of carnage at subway stations, restaurants, workplaces, concerts and sporting events have flashed across the world’s social media and traditional news outlets. Afterwards, questions inevitably surface about what could have been done to prevent attacks in the first place, while people are encouraged to carry on with their usual lives. But has the shadow of terrorism become part of that “new normal” and, if so, what are the public health implications? This Forum — which took place a week after the 3rd anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings — asked what makes a society resilient in the face of attacks or perceived threats. Experts in homeland security, psychological resiliency, crisis leadership, and disaster preparedness and response participated.

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Presented in Collaboration with PRI's The World & WGBH

Image Credit: Mitchell Funk/Getty Images

  • The Forum Moderator

    Welcome all. Our event will begin at 12:30pmET.

  • The Forum Moderator

    We’ll be starting in just a few minutes.

  • The Forum Moderator

    We are about to begin.

  • The Forum Moderator

    We have begun. Thank you for joining us today.

  • The Forum Moderator

    This event is in collaboration with PRI’s The World & WGBH.

  • The Forum Moderator

    This clip is available on The White House website.

  • The Forum Moderator

    We will be having a Q&A during this conversation. You can post your questions here or email them to theforum@hsph.harvard.edu.

  • The Forum Moderator

    Professor Kayyem lectures at Harvard Kennedy School. She also has a new book called Security Mom, http://www.juliettekayyem.com/book/

  • Alexandria King-Close

    I have a question for the panel — Today’s New York Times mentioned that the U.S. is now targeting ISIS through cyber attacks. Can the panel address the role of cyber attacks from a public health perspective? Are there aspects of preparedness that are uniquely important to keep in mind for attacks conducted from the cyber arena?

    Thank you!

    • The Forum Moderator

      Thanks for the timely question. I’ll pass it along.

      • Alexandria King-Close

        Thank you!

  • The Forum Moderator

    Professor Marcus co-founded the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative. That group issued a report about “swarm intelligence” that can be downloaded at: http://cdn2.sph.harvard.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/8/2014/09/NPLI-Marathan-Bombing-Leadership-Response-Report-dist.pdf

  • The Forum Moderator

    This clip is courtesy of the Boston Public Health Commission.

  • The Forum Moderator

    Have a question for the panelists? Post them here or email them to theforum@hsph.harvard.edu

  • Alan mclean

    Exactly how did the measurement for a “successful outcome” w/regard to the marathon response…how do you define “successful outcome?” And, why no M.D. since your guests are talking about medical issues…

    • The Forum Moderator

      Thanks so much for the question. I’ll pass it along. Just a quick note that Dr. Schouten has an MD but it’s a good point to raise.

      • Alan mclean

        Thank you.

  • The Forum Moderator

    We will post this video on demand on this site later this week. We also will post the video on iTunes and YouTube.

  • The Forum Moderator
  • The Forum Moderator

    Just a quick reminder that this video will be posted on this page and YouTube later this week. We also will post the audio on iTunesU and SoundCloud.

  • The Forum Moderator

    Join us again on May 10 at 12:30pmET when we will discuss prevention of drowsy driving with Arianna Huffington and others.

  • The Forum Moderator

    We are wrapping up. Thank you all for joining us today.

  • The Forum Moderator

    Thank you again!

  • Kristen Lally

    Question sent by email

    Dan Inbar, Chairman of the Homeland Security Research Corporation How will the ISIS inspired complex and well-planned Paris and Brussels Carnage (162 killed and 668 injured) and threat of more attacks to come affect west Europe. Assuming no such attack will be executed during the next year, will the effect decay as in the cases of the Madrid and London 7/7attacks? Or will it transform (as it did in the post 9/11 in the USA) the west European Homeland Security strategy, internal security agencies and funding for years?

  • Kristen Lally

    Question sent by email

    What tools are available to assess the psychological damage to, and resilience of, a community in the wake of a terrorist attack? For example, how do we know if a community is functioning in a healthy way, or recovering from a traumatic incident, such as the Brussels bombings or Paris shootings? Do evaluation tools exist for this sort of thing?

  • Kristen Lally

    Question sent by email

    What can we do, as individuals who are members of a free society, to respond to attacks in a way that maintains our openness towards others and prevents what many see as a growing xenophobia that marginalizes others and ultimately feeds into a cycle of paranoia and panic within society, as a whole?

  • Kristen Lally

    Question sent by email

    How have media, technology, and improved access to communications and information tools helped our hindered our ability to respond to acts of terror with greater resiliency?

  • Kristen Lally

    Question sent by email

    In an era where response to terror is so heterogeneous (from short-lived social media campaigns using hashtags, to smaller in-person solidarity vigils) and often times siloed (where groups or movements don’t communicate with each other, or people just “passively” share photos or tweets circulating online), how can we build lasting resiliency at the community level? Are there specific outlets, such as faith-based groups, that you can describe that have been successful at bringing people together, and building and continuing support and dialogue in the aftermath of terrorist acts?

  • Kristen Lally

    Question sent by email

    Can you suggest some specific ways that public health professionals and organizations can be more involved or brought to the table when it comes to post-terror resiliency talks and needs? How can professionals in the public health sphere cross over into the governmental (national, regional, or local) arena, and where do you see the intersection points in terms of the most meaningful roles and potential for impact?

  • Kristen Lally

    Question sent by email

    Can you talk a bit more about the characteristics that lead certain societies to respond with more resilience than others? How do some go about being successful, and what mechanisms exist at the governing levels within these specific societies to encourage this?

  • Kristen Lally

    Question sent by email

    What, in your opinion, are the greatest differences between an individual and a group response to terror attacks, and in what ways does resiliency portray itself differently within one person vs. within a larger group? What would you identify as the main aspects of personal resiliency that can benefit the group response?

  • The Forum at HSPH

    Question sent by email

    What tools are available to assess the psychological damage to, and resilience of, a community in the wake of a terrorist attack? For example, how do we know if a community is functioning in a healthy way, or recovering from a traumatic incident, such as the Brussels bombings or Paris shootings? Do evaluation tools exist for this sort of thing?

  • The Forum Moderator

    Question sent by email

    Dan Inbar, Chairman of the Homeland Security Research Corporation How will the ISIS inspired complex and well-planned Paris and Brussels Carnage (162 killed and 668 injured) and threat of more attacks to come affect west Europe. Assuming no such attack will be executed during the next year, will the effect decay as in the cases of the Madrid and London 7/7attacks? Or will it transform (as it did in the post 9/11 in the USA) the west European Homeland Security strategy, internal security agencies and funding for years?

  • The Forum Moderator

    Question sent by email

    What can we do, as individuals who are members of a free society, to respond to attacks in a way that maintains our openness towards others and prevents what many see as a growing xenophobia that marginalizes others and ultimately feeds into a cycle of paranoia and panic within society, as a whole?

  • The Forum Moderator

    Question sent by email

    How have media, technology, and improved access to communications and information tools helped our hindered our ability to respond to acts of terror with greater resiliency?

  • The Forum Moderator

    Question sent by email

    In an era where response to terror is so heterogeneous (from short-lived social media campaigns using hashtags, to smaller in-person solidarity vigils) and often times siloed (where groups or movements don’t communicate with each other, or people just “passively” share photos or tweets circulating online), how can we build lasting resiliency at the community level? Are there specific outlets, such as faith-based groups, that you can describe that have been successful at bringing people together, and building and continuing support and dialogue in the aftermath of terrorist acts?

  • The Forum Moderator

    Question sent by email

    Can you suggest some specific ways that public health professionals and organizations can be more involved or brought to the table when it comes to post-terror resiliency talks and needs? How can professionals in the public health sphere cross over into the governmental (national, regional, or local) arena, and where do you see the intersection points in terms of the most meaningful roles and potential for impact?

  • The Forum Moderator

    Question sent by email

    Can you talk a bit more about the characteristics that lead certain societies to respond with more resilience than others? How do some go about being successful, and what mechanisms exist at the governing levels within these specific societies to encourage this?

  • The Forum Moderator

    Question sent by email

    What, in your opinion, are the greatest differences between an individual and a group response to terror attacks, and in what ways does resiliency portray itself differently within one person vs. within a larger group? What would you identify as the main aspects of personal resiliency that can benefit the group response?