An RNS profile Article of Jamie Aten, a disaster psychologist who founded the Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College

At the turn of a new year, people often anticipate weddings, births, reunions, a promotion or other joys. Few greeted 2019 this week by counting on a flooded home or a dreaded cancer diagnosis.

Even Jamie Aten, a disaster psychologist who founded the Humanitarian Disaster Institute at Wheaton College, wasn’t prepared for the news he received in 2013, when his doctor told him he had Stage IV colon cancer. Only 35, he had a wife and three young daughters. His academic career had just begun.

But as his oncologist told him, “You’re in for your own personal kind of disaster.”

Indeed, Aten would come to see his encounter with cancer through his field of study, which concerns resilience on the community level (he studied Hurricane Katrina) as well as the individual level.

Now 41, Aten has written about his journey in “A Walking Disaster: What Surviving Katrina and Cancer Taught Me About Faith and Resilience,” which will be published Jan. 14.

Read it all.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Anthropology, Health & Medicine, Natural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc., Pastoral Theology, Theology, Theology: Scripture