Dr. J. Steven Picou is the Director of the Coastal Resource & Resiliency Center, Community Health Workers Training Project, and Professor of Sociology at the University of South Alabama. He served as Chair of the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work for 20 years (1988-2008) and has held previous academic and research appointments at The Ohio State University and Texas A&M University. Dr. Picou received his PhD in Sociology from Louisiana State University in 1971.
During his career, he has published over 150 peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and research monographs in the areas of environmental sociology, disasters, applied sociology, social stratification, and social theory. He has co-authored, co-edited, and contributed to four books including The Exxon Valdez Disaster (1997), and The Sociology of Katrina (2nd edition 2010). To date, Dr. Picou has received $6.4 million in extramural funding from agencies such as the National Science Foundation, Environmental Protection Agency, US Office of Education, Alabama Department of Environmental Management, Prince William Sound Regional Citizens’ Advisory Council, MS-AL Sea Grant Consortium, The Rockefeller Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and the BP Medical Claims Settlement.
In 2001, Dr. Picou received the “Distinguished Contribution Award” from the Environment & Technology section of the American Sociological Association (ASA). In 2008 he was the recipient of the “William Foote Whyte Distinguished Career Award” given by the ASA section on Sociological Practice and Public Sociology. That same year, Dr. Picou was named the “Olivia Rambo McGlothern Outstanding Scholar” by the USA National Alumni Association. He has been President of the Association of Applied and Clinical Sociology, the Mid-South Sociological Association, and Vice-President of Alpha Kappa Delta, the International Honor Society for Sociology. He has served on numerous committees for the American Sociological Association, Southern Sociology Society, and Southwestern Social Science Association. He has also served as an Affiliate Scientist, Prince William Sound Science Center; Adjunct Scientist, Cooper River Delta Institute; Research Fellow, Social Science Research Institute, University of Central Florida; and Adjunct Scientist, Social Science Research Center, Mississippi State University.
Dr. Picou’s publications have appeared in a wide variety of interdisciplinary and social science journals, including Social Forces, Sociological Inquiry, Journal of Applied Social Science, Journal of Traumatic Stress, Law and Policy, Journal of Hazardous Materials, Human Ecology Review, Environment and Behavior, International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters, St. Thomas Law School Journal, and many others. Dr. Picou’s public sociology activities include the organization and preparation of an Amicus Brief for the US Supreme Court in 2009 and, in the summer of the Deepwater Horizon spill, he personally trained over 450 peer listeners across states along the northern Gulf of Mexico. Interviews about his research and publications have been noted in such media outlets as Science Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Beijing Youth Daily, Anchorage Daily News, CNN Health, Onearth Magazine, NPR and, on June 22, 2010, he was named CNN’s Intriguing Person for Today. Dr. Picou is currently serving as Principle Investigator of three major research projects on the Exxon Valdez oil spill, Hurricane Katrina, and the Deepwater Horizon spill.