DRC-Disaster Research Center

Dr. Thomas Drabek

Contact Info 

Current Title:John Evans Professor and Professor, Emeritus
Last Updated: 6/26/09


Brief BIO

Thomas E. Drabek completed his graduate education at The Ohio State University Department of Sociology and Anthropology in 1965.  During his last two years at OSU he was a full-time staff member of the Disaster Research Center.  He is an Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Criminology at the University of Denver.  He was a faculty member there from 1965 to 2004.   He was department chair (1974-1979 and 1985-1987).  Upon his retirement in 2004, he was awarded Emeritus status and continues his research on a part-time basis.  In 1993, he was awarded a John Evans Professorship which continues to provide modest funding for his research.    His research has examined group and organizational responses to large-scale disasters.  He has authored or co-authored over 100 book chapters and journal articles and 27 books including The Human Side of Disaster (2009); Strategies for Coordinating Disaster Responses (2003); Disaster-Induced Employee Evacuation (1999); Disaster Evacuation Behavior:  Tourists and Other Transients (1996); Emergency Management:  Principles and Practice for Local Government (1991, co-edited with Gerard J. Hoetmer); and Human System Responses to Disaster:  An Inventory of Sociological Findings (1986).  He served as the co-editor of the International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters (1986-1990) and was elected President of the International Sociological Association’s Research Committee on Disasters (1990-1994).  He prepared four Instructor Guides for the Emergency Management Institute, Federal Emergency Management Agency, including Emergency Management Principles and Application for Tourism, Hospitality, and Travel Management Industries (2000, co-authored with Chuck Y. Gee) and Social Dimensions of Disaster, 2nd ed. (2004).  In August, 2007 he was the third recipient of The E.L. Quarantelli Award For Contributions to Social Science Disaster Theory by the International Research Committee on Disasters.  In June, 2008, he received the first Dr. B. Wayne Blanchard Award for Academic Excellence in Emergency Management Higher Education.  He frequently lectured at academic and emergency management workshops and conventions throughout the U.S.A. and in such other places as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Italy, Germany, England and Thailand.    


About This Alum’s Time at DRC

Years of Tenure(s): 1963-1965 
Title and/or Position(s):  Research Associate 
Projects worked on while at DRC: Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum Explosion and Laboratory Simulation of Police Communication System
Other memories:Move from Personnel Research Board (PRB) to new offices under Ohio State football stadium


Since Leaving DRC

Students mentored in the disaster specialization:David McEntire
Agencies/Institutions worked for: FEMA, NSF, NIMH, International Red Cross         


Other Information this Alum would like to share:

My experience at DRC was life and career changing.  I am greatly indebted to Drs. Quarantelli and Dynes.