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Ensuring Security and Safety for Our Families, Our Community, Our Nation, and Ourselves.

Our safety and the security of our families, communities, and nation remain a pressing concern for each of us in the aftermath of the horror of the attacks in New York City and Washington on September 11. Even in the midst of the holiday season and celebration of the New Year, we are still grieving the many victims who died so tragically. We in the College of Human Ecology offer our deepest sympathy to the friends and families of the victims. Across the nation and, indeed, the world, the gathering of friends and families in the comforting traditions of the holidays serves to remind us of those who are no longer with us. Our interdependence and the globalization of our economy have become startlingly real.

Within a day of the attacks, Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE), the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and our college were responding to New York citizens through our Resilient Communities program. Our assistant dean and associate director of CCE, Jo Swanson, with the assistant director of 4H/Youth Development, Cathann Kress, initiated a web site at to provide educational resources to help New Yorkers adjust and recover. Cornell Cooperative Extension now has in place a regional response team that is working with Cooperative Extension in New Jersey at Rutgers University and in Connecticut at the University of Connecticut to address the many needs that have arisen in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. The focus now is on re-establishing and strengthening our communities. We are providing community development education to address the ripple effects of the disaster.

In our college, we have been particularly concerned about our children during this chaotic and emotional time. Indeed, all of our children are affected by the uncertainty and fear that surround us. Professor James Garbarino has written several pieces on how to help our children cope with this tragedy, which are available on the CCE web site and are summarized in part in the brief article "Helping Children Cope with Terrorism" in this issue. He also has addressed a special session of the National Council on Family Relations, has conducted a training session for extension educators in New York City, and is working with schools and community partners through the ACT for Youth network in New York.

We are painfully reminded that our sense of safety and the perception of risk in our daily lives have been profoundly altered. Risk assessment entails understanding, evaluating, monitoring, and estimating risk for any hazard in order to analyze the risk-benefit and develop scientifically based, effective risk management strategies and policies. Risk does vary among us based on our life stage, susceptibility, and exposure. The vulnerability of our children and elderly, as well as of other groups at higher risk, needs our special attention now more than ever. Risk communication to citizens, health care providers, and safety officials must address not only scientific risk assessment but also our perception of risk. Indeed, how we perceive risk for any given hazard is a function of our own individual psychology as well as our social, cultural, and political contexts.

In this issue of Human Ecology, you will find articles focusing on the college's research and outreach on some biological, chemical, physical, social, and emotional risks. These research and outreach efforts assess risks, inform policies, protect us from those risks, and promote our safety. Now more than ever we need to ensure the security and safety of our families, our community, our nation, and ourselves.

Rebecca Q

James C. Morgan Dean
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Human Ecology
Date:Dec 1, 2001
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