Planned JCU system outage 23 to 27 May 2024 impacting student and application portals.

Yetta Gurtner

Associate Director, Engagement (College of Science and Engineering)

Yetta Gurtner is human geographer, lecturer and researcher at JCU Townsville, Bebegu Yumba campus, Douglas. With a multi-disciplinary background she has over 15 years of fieldwork and research experience working with communities particularly in the context of disaster risk reduction, management and sustainability.  With a direct interest in the dynamic contexts of community vulnerability, capacity, adaptation, mitigation and resilience, she has significant experience in the development, application and teaching of social impact assessment methodologies applied both locally and internationally. Her PhD specifically addressed the challenges of community recovery and sustainable redevelopment post disaster in Bali and Southern Thailand.

As Coordinator for the Centre for Disaster Studies Yetta maintains the administrative and collaborative elements of this virtual research unit. Beyond the internationally recognised research output and capacity of the Centre, it provides an interface between the community and applied research, particularly during emerging or recent events. This may manifest in the development of targeted research, advice, expert insight, community engagement, workshops, public lectures and/or media commentary.

Having previously facilitated and instructed within the successful Queensland State Government initiative of the Graduate Certificate of Emergency Management, Yetta maintains local emergency management and community networks in her advisory role on the local and district disaster management groups (LDMG, DDMG) and the community social recovery group. She teaches the foundations of community based disaster management to both undergraduate and post-graduate university students in a diversity of disciplines from Civil Engineering, Education, Planning, Arts, Social Sciences and Environmental Management.

With a number of well-cited domestic and international publications and academic book chapters Yetta is well respected as a disaster management researcher and consistently acts as an expert reviewer for a number of journals. She was an active invited participant for the scientific research community in the United Nations Sendai Conference in 2015, which resulted in the 2015-2030 Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. In 2018 she provided the keynote presentation at the 12th APEC Senior Disaster Management Officials Forum in Kokopo, Papua New Guinea. While in 2019 she facilitated the establishment of a collaborative Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Centre for Disaster Studies and the Universitas Negeri Malang (Indonesia) particularly focussed on disaster research.

With an all-hazards research interest, direct fieldwork experience includes terrorism, tsunami, cyclones, tornado, floods, storm surge, severe rain events and pandemics. More recent research projects have included post disaster community surveys and assessments following Tropical Cyclone Debbie, the 2019 Townville monsoon event and an online survey regarding pandemics management and the COVID 19 crisis in Australia.