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Elizabeth  Frankenberg, Ph. D. - UNC-Chapel Hill. Chapel Hill, NC, US

Elizabeth Frankenberg, Ph. D. Elizabeth  Frankenberg, Ph. D.

Director, Carolina Population Center; Cary C. Boshamer Distinguished Professor, Sociology | UNC-Chapel Hill


Areas of expertise: How individuals and families respond to unexpected population-level disasters.



My work focuses on how individuals and families respond to unexpected changes and how government programs and policies can help them adapt. Much of my research is about Indonesia before and after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. I draw on household and community survey data that my colleagues and I have collected over the past 15 years, in combination with high resolution satellite imagery, to investigate how the disaster and subsequent recovery affect health and well-being at the population level.

Industry Expertise (2)



Areas of Expertise (7)

Disaster Psychology

Disaster Behavioral Health




Medical Sociology

Survey Design and Methodology

Accomplishments (2)

Richard Stubbing Award for Graduate Student Mentoring, Sanford School (professional)

Duke University, 2012

Dorothy Thomas Award (professional)

Population Association of America, 1993

Education (3)

University of Pennysylvania: Ph.D., Demography and Sociology, 1992

Princeton University: M.P.A, Public and International Affairs 1989

University of North Carolina: B.A., Geography 1986

Media Appearances (2)

Boxing Day tsunami: the resilience and recovery that followed

The Conversation  


Why some places recover after a huge natural disaster, such as the Boxing Day tsunami, and others do not is not fully understood since detailed data on populations before an unexpected disaster seldom exist and only a handful of population-based studies have successfully followed people affected by a disaster over the longer-term. To address this gap, we led an international team that established the Study of the Tsunami Aftermath and Recovery (STAR) to better understand the immediate and longer-term impacts of what happened.

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Who Decides That a Death Was Caused by Hurricane Florence? And Why Does It Matter?

GovTech  online


The death toll is an important way of measuring the magnitude of a storm like Florence; at each one of his daily briefings after the hurricane, Cooper always provided the latest number. But emergency managers say the most meaningful information is how those people died. “That then starts to place emphasis on how you might prevent deaths in the future,” said Elizabeth Frankenberg, a sociology professor at UNC Chapel Hill and director of the Carolina Population Center. “What kind of warning systems do you need and how much time do you need to give people?”

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Articles (3)

Human Capital and Shocks

The Economics of Poverty Traps

Elizabeth Frankenberg, Duncan Thomas


"Capabilities, including nutrition, health, and human capital, play a key role in the literature on poverty traps and are central to the model laid out in the introduction. "

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Effect of stress on cardiometabolic health 12 years after the Indian Ocean tsunami: a quasi-experimental longitudinal study

The Lancet Planetary Health

Duncan Thomas, Elizabeth Frankenberg, Teresa Seeman, Cecep Sumantri


"Stress is associated with elevated cardiometabolic health risks, but establishing a causal mechanism is challenging, and evidence of the longer-term effects of large-scale stressors on health is limited."

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HPLC-based measurement of glycated hemoglobin using dried blood spots collected under adverse field conditions

Biodemography and social biology

Duncan Thomas, Teresa Seeman, Alan Potter, Peifeng Hu, Eileen Crimmins, Elizabeth Henny Herningtyas, Cecep Sumantri, Elizabeth Frankenberg


"Glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) measured using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) assays with venous blood and dried blood spots (DBS) are compared for 143 paired samples collected in Aceh, Indonesia."

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