Published on September 27th, 2018

MIT’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program is one of a host of experiential learning opportunities available to students at MIT. UROP cultivates and supports research partnerships between MIT undergraduates and faculty.

GMTaC is currently collaborating with UROP Kari Stromhaug. Her project Libremente examines mobile health technologies, mental health impacts of natural disasters, and the role of digital technologies in disaster response and recovery. The project aims to develop a better understanding of how to scalably address mental health challenges after natural disasters.

The Libremente project team.
The Libremente project team.

Developed by Kari Stromhaug, Aashka Dave, and Akemi Sato, Libremente began in summer 2017 through support from MISTI and a collaboration with La Victoria Lab, an IDEO-affiliated design consultancy based in Lima. Libremente is also affiliated with KORU, a Lima-based post-disaster resource matching organization.  Pilot research in Peru led to an SMS-based program that adapts psychological treatments to the unique needs of disaster survivors.

Current research focuses on the mental health effects of natural disasters, an analysis of post-disaster mental health services available around the world, and research into the mental health challenges in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria. A second pilot will take place in Puerto Rico in June 2019.

Libremente aims to: create an open digital system that provides post-disaster mental health resources, map challenges and opportunities in the disaster recovery space for stronger mental health aid, and develop human-centered, collaborative research methodologies that create findings available to research and disaster recovery communities.