Florida International University has a number of professors who study Haiti and the Caribbean region, as well as professors who can address issues related to the earthquake in Haiti. This is a list of experts willing to offer their insight to media and the public. This list is being updated continuously.
For assistance reaching any of these professors, please call the FIU Office of Media Relations at 305-348-2232.
Earth Sciences Professor
Grenville Draper, has studied the geology tectonics of the Greater Antilles, including Haiti, for more than 30 years. He has been intimately involved in the study and mapping of the fault that caused the earthquake in Haiti and just recently returned from a trip to the region. Dr. Draper is Chair of the Standing Committee of the Caribbean Geological Conference series and is on the editorial boards of International Geology Review and Geologica Acta. Professor Draper speaks Spanish. To view a video, click here.
Florentin J. Maurrasse
Professor of Geology
Florentin J. Maurrasse, a native of Haiti, has a Ph.D from Columbia University where he completed a dissertation on the Caribbean Sea region. He is an expert on Haiti’s geology and has studied the geology of all the Caribbean islands, Mexico, and northern South America. He contributed to the development of numerous Haitian geologists in the 1980’s and helped organize geologic field mapping programs, and several field-study programs to train Haitian geologists, including Haitian President René Préval. Maurrasse was involved in the creation of a new geologic map of Haiti, which shows numerous faults crossing the country. He has several publications and presentations on the geology of Haiti where he has raised the potential problems of the faults.
Political Science Professor
Political Science Professor Eduardo Gamarra has done research on the regional dynamics of Latin America and the Caribbean, including Haiti and the Dominican Republic. He is well versed on political, social and infrastructure issues in Haiti. Gamarra has also studied drug trafficking in the Caribbean and the effects of American policies in the regional dynamics. He has testified in front of the U.S. Congress several times and is the author of more than half a dozen books and more than forty academic articles on Latin America. Professor Gamarra speaks Spanish. To view a video interview with Professor Gamarra, click here.
Professor and Chair of the Political Science Department
Richard Olson teaches about the political fallout from natural disasters such as the separation of Bangladesh from Pakistan in 1971, which was precipitated when a massive cyclone hit the Southeast Asian country. Olson, a former contractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has done work in the aftermath of disasters such as Hurricane Mitch in Central America. Dr. Olson, an expert on disasters, can speak about what should be done in the aftermath of the earthquake. To view a video, click here.
Professor and Director of the Immigration and Ethnicity Institute in the Center for Labor Research and Studies
Professor Stepick is an expert of Haitian diaspora and its impact in the United States. Among other topics, he can speak about Haitian immigrants and how the earthquake will impact Miami in the long term. Professor Stepick speaks Spanish. To view a video, click here.
Chantalle F. Verna
Professor of History and International Relations
Professor Verna can address what a disaster of this magnitude means to the political fabric of Haiti. Professor Verna’s teaching concentration is on 20th century United States and Haitian history. Thus, her courses lend attention to issues of diplomacy, migrations, diaspora communities, transnational practices, and other types of global intersections.
Dean, College of Engineering and Computing
Amir Mirmiran is dean of FIU’s College of Engineering and Computing. A civil/structural engineer by training and former chairman of FIU’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Mirmiran is currently involved in research with the National Science Foundation’s Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES). In this research, he collaborates with colleagues from UC-Berkeley, UC-San Diego, Stanford, and University of Nevada-Reno on the next generation of bridges that would sustain large earthquake damages. He also has two U.S. patents on composite construction to improve earthquake resistance of columns.
José D. Mitrani
Associate Professor, Construction Management
Mitrani, past chairman of the Department of Construction Management, has more than 25 years of experience as an engineering consultant, contractor and professor. Mitrani has extensive academic and industry experience in civil/structural engineering and construction, and hurricane issues that encompass and bridge both disciplines. Mitrani can address construction, structural engineering and building code issues. Mitrani is available for interviews in Spanish.
Associate Clinical Professor, College of Law
Elder supervises the Immigration and Human Rights Clinic at the FIU College of Law. A graduate of Yale Law School, Elder has worked with two of the country’s leading law firms, as well as Legal Services of Greater Miami, in the Employment and Economic Security Unit; and Catholic Charities Legal Services, practicing poverty immigration law with an emphasis on political asylum, refugee and detainee rights, and immigrant benefits issues. Immediately before coming to FIU, Professor Elder was a clinical fellow at the University of Miami School of Law, where he directed an interdisciplinary, community-based poverty health and immigration clinic.He is fluent in Spanish and French, and conversational in Haitian Creole. To view a video, click here.
Assistant Professor, College of Medicine
Martin is a professor in the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine’s Department of Humanities, Health and Society. Martin, who has been working in Haiti for four years, is a family/preventive medicine physician with years of experience in public health and developing public health curricula, including programs in Latin America. In Haiti, her work has involved providing services and learning opportunities, as well as collaborating with academic and professional institutions. Her research interests include immigration and health, inmates’ health and global health. Martin can conduct interviews in Spanish.
Marilys G. Randolph
Associate Professor, College of Nursing and Health Sciences
Randolph, a native of Haiti and physical therapy professor, is former director of physical therapy at Hampton University and Howard University. Randolph can discuss the devastating potential for increased disability and the limited rehabilitation clinics available for the Haitian population.
Research Associate Professor of Public Health and Co-Director of FIU’s AIDS Prevention Program
Professor Devieux is is a Haitian-American clinical psychologist who has extensively studied public health disparities in Haiti. She is the principal investigator of two NIH-funded studies designed to reduce HIV rick behaviors among juvenile offenders. To view a video, click here.