HeaRD: Health, Risk, Disaster Network

HeaRD is a network of researchers from the UK and Japan from across the social sciences, humanities and critical public health. We explore the social and political dimensions of health and disasters for post-disaster communities.

Disasters are an ever-present threat to human health and exacerbate issues of vulnerability and inequality. There is increasing global health policy interested in the impacts of disaster, and health-related issues surrounding crisis preparedness and response. Currently, critical social scientific perspectives have not been well-harnessed in understanding the way in which social structures, institutions, relationships and experiences underpin disaster and its health consequences. This network brings together an interdisciplinary team of academics from the UK and Japan in forming a dialogue and research partnership around the role of the health social sciences in understanding and managing disaster.

HeaRD is organised by Dr. Sudeepa Abeysinghe and Dr. Masaharu Tsubokura (Fukushima Medical University), with key collaborators Dr. Alison Lloyd Williams (Lancaster University), Prof. Aya Goto (Fukushima Medical University), Dr. Akikiho Ozaki (Teikyo University) and GHPU colleagues Dr. Sarah Hill and Dr. Jonathan Suk.

The HeaRD network:

  • Is a forum for academics across the social sciences, humanities and critical public health to engage in the sharing and generation of new empirical, conceptual and methodological knowledge around the issue of the health impacts of disaster-affected communities
  • Allows for the development of new avenues of research around the issue of health and disaster-affected communities
  • Facilitates the engagement of the academic network with policy and community stakeholders, in particular in the Fukushima region
  • Provides a mechanism for consolidating knowledge around health and disasters at the interface between the social sciences, humanities and critical public health


Our first event was a research symposium in Fukushima, Japan, in April 2019. We will also be hosting a conference in Edinburgh in December 2019.


HeaRD eventOn April 15-17, Fukushima Medical University hosted the first HeaRD event. We shared work exploring the intersection between health and disaster under the following themes (please follow links to researchers’ profiles):

Local Health Issues in the Coastal Area of Fukushima

Akihiko Ozaki (Jyoban Hospital of Tokiwa Foundation/Teikyo University)

Toyoaki Sawano (Fukushima Medical University)

Masaharu Tsubokura (Fukushima Medical University)

Childhood and Resilience

Aya Goto (Fukushima Medical University)

Alison Lloyd Williams (Lancaster University)

Cath Larkins (University of Central Lancashire)

Risk Communication and Perception

Michio Murakami (Fukushima Medical University)

Mikihito Tanaka (Waseda University)

Louise Elstow (Lancaster University)

Sudeepa Abeysinghe (University of Edinburgh)

Community Responses to Disasters

Tomoyuki Kobayashi (Fukushima Medical University)

Susumu Ohnuma (Hokkaido University)

Ben Epstein (University College London)

Radiation-Related Issues

Wataru Naito (National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology)

Tetsuo Yasutaka (National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology)

Yujiro Kuroda (Fukushima Medical University)

Health Inequalities and Vulnerability

Amira Osman (University College London)

Stroma Cole (University of the West of England, Bristol)

Claire Leppold (University of Edinburgh)

Tomoki Nakaya (Tohoku University)

Ai Tashiro (Tohoku University)

The symposium also allowed network members to meet a range of local actors impacted by the Fukushima Triple Disaster. Thanks to our hosts at FMU for the enriching event.


If you are interested in finding out more about HeaRD, joining our events, or joining the network then please get in touch!

Dr Sudeepa Abeysinghe - sudeepa.abeysinghe@ed.ac.uk

HeaRD is supported by an ESRC/AHRC UK-Japan Network Grant (ES/S013903/1)


Sudeepa Abeysinghe

Lecturer, Global Health Policy
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