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Meet Nikki Fernandes, Disaster Project Coordinator for the US Virgin Islands

Updated: Feb 16, 2021

The Institute For Childhood Preparedness welcomes Nikki Fernandes as Disaster Project Coordinator for the US Virgin Islands. We welcome her to our growing team!

Nikki will be returning home to St. Thomas to assist with the Institute’s ongoing work supporting the National Environmental Health Association and the Region 2 Head Start Association in the Caribbean.

Nikki brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this position. She studied International Health and Development at Tulane University’s School of Public Health, where she gained valuable disaster relief and recovery skills. She also took courses in the Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy at Tulane. Also, She worked on a research study focused on the health and social effects on survivors of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. Nikki knew those skills would come in handy when she returned home due to the inevitability of hurricanes striking the islands.

Nikki finished her Master’s in Public Health and started a job at the Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies in 2017. That’s when Hurricane Irmaria hit. Hurricanes had struck St. Thomas before, but not even 1995’s Hurricane Marylin caused as much damage and panic as Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Nikki assisted with recovery efforts from the mainland. She coordinated fundraising and consulting with recovery teams. She also focused on the best practices to address arising health problems. During all this, Nikki was just waiting for the right opportunity to come back home. 

Nikki found that opportunity through the early childhood work the Institute for Childhood Preparedness is conducting in the Caribbean. Nikki will be responsible for establishing vital relationships between the government, neighborhood partners, early childhood professionals, and the community. This work is part of our ongoing effort to support the US Virgin Islands Department of Health through support from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s Hurricane Disaster Supplemental funds. Nikki is honored to come back and aid in her community's recovery and support efforts around protecting the children of the US Virgin Islands.

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