Faculty & Staff

Share This:

Director
Irwin Redlener, MD
Irwin Redlener, MD

Director, National Center for Disaster Preparedness;
Professor of Health Policy & Management at CUMC; Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, College of Physicians & Surgeons;
Co-Founder and President Emeritus, Children’s Health Fund

Read more

Dr. Irwin Redlener is the Director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at the Earth Institute, which works to understand and improve the nation’s capacity to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters. He is a nationally recognized expert on disaster preparedness policies, pandemic influenza, the threat of terrorism in the U.S., the impact and consequences of major natural disasters and related issues. Dr. Redlener is the author of Americans At Risk: Why We Are Not Prepared For Megadisasters and What We Can Do Now, published in 2006 by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. and recently served as one of the ten members of the congressionally established National Commission on Children and Disasters.

Dr. Redlener is also President Emeritus and Co-Founder, along with singer-songwriter Paul Simon, of the Children’s Health Fund (CHF), a philanthropic initiative created to develop health care programs in some of the nation’s most medically underserved communities. CHF programs are now active in 25 urban and rural communities around the U.S. providing quality comprehensive medical care to more than 80,000 children each year. Dr. Redlener holds an M.D. degree from the University of Miami School of Medicine, an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Hunter College of the City University of New York and an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Hofstra University.

Faculty Page

The Children's Health Fund

Faculty & Staff
Jeff Schlegelmilch, MPH MBA
Jeff Schlegelmilch, MPH MBA

Deputy Director

Read more

Jeff Schlegelmilch is the Deputy Director for the National Center for Disaster Preparedness. His areas of expertise includes public health preparedness, community resilience and the integration of private and public sector capabilities. Some topics of past work include developing inter-organizational processes for operational epidemiological modeling, evacuation and sheltering planning for people with medical dependencies, and adapting business intelligence systems for disaster response and recovery operations.

He has advised local, state and federal leaders on preparedness programs and policies and has briefed congressional staff on key preparedness legislation and funding areas. He frequently serves as a subject matter expert source for the media and is an expert Contributor for The Hill. He holds a Master’s degree in Public Health from UMASS Amherst in Health Policy and Management, and a Master’s in Business Administration from Quinnipiac University.

Jaishree Beedasy, PhD
Jaishree Beedasy, PhD

Research Project Director

Read more

Jaishree Beedasy, PhD, is a Research Project Director at NCDP. Her work focuses on deepening the understanding of the human consequences of disasters and the complexities of recovery and resilience. Her research interests include the spatio-temporal dimensions of disasters and the growing role of social networks in disaster response and recovery. She has published her work in peer-reviewed journals, including Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, Prehospital Disaster Medicine, Telemedicine and e-Health, Journal of Emergency Management, Transactions in GIS, and International Journal of Applied Earth Observations and Geoinformation. Prior to joining the NCDP she was a Research Associate Professor at the Institute of Rural Health.

She has served as PI or co-investigator on more than twenty competitively funded projects. She is currently the subaward PI of the Resilience Attributes for Children, Youth, and Communities in the wake of the BP oil spill project, funded by the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative. Until recently, she served as the PI of the Gulf Coast Children’s Initiative funded by Baton Rouge Area Foundation, as Co- PI of the Sandy Child and Family Health Study funded by New Jersey DOH, and as investigator on Visualizing Social Media: New Tools for Research and Practice funded by ASPR.

Shwetha Bhaskar, MA
Shwetha Bhaskar, MA

Senior Knowledge Management Coordinator

Read more

Shwetha Bhaskar designs, develops, and deploys training and distance learning related to emergency preparedness, planning, and response for the CDC-funded Columbia Regional Learning Center (CRLC), which caters to thousands of learners in the US and internationally.  She works closely with subject matter experts at NCDP and Columbia University at large.  Her areas of expertise include e-learning courseware, web and multimedia production, learning management systems, and social media.  Ms. Bhaskar holds a Master’s degree in Instructional Technology and Media from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a graduate degree in new media journalism, along with an undergraduate degree in communications.

Jeremy Brooks, MPH
Jeremy Brooks, MPH

Training & Evaluation Coordinator

Read more

Jeremy Brooks is a Training and Evaluation Coordinator for the National Center for Disaster Preparedness. He currently works on a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant creating in-person and online training courses on post-disaster economic recovery. He previously worked on the Resilient Children / Resilient Communities Initiative on improving community resilience through developing best practices for disaster preparedness in child-serving institutions. He has also worked on the Resilient Children, Youth, and Communities project which is examining the physical and mental health effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on children.

In May 2017, Jeremy graduated from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University with a MPH in Environmental Health Sciences and a certificate in Environmental Health Policy. Prior to joining NCDP, Jeremy worked at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency managing and disseminating information on a number of grants related to children’s environmental health, cumulative risk, healthy schools, and tribal health. Jeremy is interested in studying and improving vulnerable population’s resilience to environmental hazards such as climate change, lead, and air pollution.

Ellen Carlin, DVM
Ellen Carlin, DVM

Adjunct Research Scientist

Read more

Ellen is a veterinarian whose expertise fuses diverse interests in the life sciences, medicine, homeland security, and the communication of scientific challenges to technical and lay audiences. She has particular experience in public health with a focus on zoonotic disease. As a consultant, she provides technical and science policy advisory services, and is currently co-director of the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense. She served for several years as staff with the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security (Peter T. King, NY), handling medical preparedness, biodefense, and science and technology policy. She also works as a small animal clinician, which serves her interests in public health, animal welfare, and parasitology. She recently joined the New York City Medical Reserve Corps.

Ellen received a bachelor’s of science in biology from the College of Mount Saint Vincent and a doctorate in veterinary medicine from the Cornell College of Veterinary Medicine.

Thomas Chandler, PhD
Thomas Chandler, PhD

Research Scientist;
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Teachers College, Columbia University

Read more

Thomas Chandler, PhD, is a Research Scientist at the National Center for Disaster Preparedness, The Earth Institute, Columbia University and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Teachers College, Columbia University. He is the principal investigator of a $398,000 two year grant with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control examining the public health systems response to Hurricane Sandy in the NYC Area (2013-2015), and the principal investigator of a $150,000 two year grant with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, on the usage of social media during disasters (2014-2016).

He focuses on the human impact of natural disasters, geographic and social networks, community preparedness, and sustainability education. He has authored several book chapters and journal articles related to these themes. His work has appeared in the Journal of Social Studies Research, the National Council for Social Studies Bulletin, and in Interactive Learning Environments. As part of a grant with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, he has been developing and evaluating curricula pertaining to disaster response and the needs of socially and geographically vulnerable populations.

Faculty Page

Teacher's College

Paul Gu, MPA
Paul Gu, MPA

Research Staff Assistant

Read more

Paul is a Research Staff Assistant at the National Center for Disaster Preparedness. He holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration in Development Practice from the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University. Paul is currently working on Resilient Children, Youth, and Community project, that aims to examine the longitudinal physical and mental health effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on children. Previously, he worked on a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant that focuses on raising disaster awareness and preparedness of over 10,000 small business owners and first responders across the United States.

Prior to joining NCDP, Paul spent time serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nicaragua, and a program coordinator with Development for Freedom International in Haiti. While at SIPA, Paul also worked closely with teams from the UNICEF Middle East and North Africa Office, USAID All Children Reading Grand Challenge, and World Bank Global Delivery Initiative.

Dennis Johnson, MPS
Dennis Johnson, MPS

Director of Policy and Public Affairs, Children's Health Fund

Read more

Dennis Johnson directs NCDP’s public policy, government affairs, and advocacy agendas and manages NCDP relationships with a broad spectrum of federal and state public officials, public and private sector entities and advocacy organizations. In addition to his role at NCDP, he is Executive Vice-President for Government Affairs at the Children’s Health Fund, a non-profit organization that initiates and supports innovative pediatric programs designed to meet the complex health care needs of medically underserved, economically disadvantaged children.

Prior to his tenure at The Children’s Health Fund, Mr. Johnson was a senior program officer at the Fund for New York City Public Education and a research analyst at the Public Policy Institute of the Business Council of New York State. Mr. Johnson received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1975 and his Master’s Degree in Political Management from the Graduate School of Political Management at Baruch College in 1990.

Lori Peek, PhD
Lori Peek, PhD

Adjunct Research Scientist

Read more

Lori Peek is Adjunct Research Scientist at the NCDP. She is also Professor of Sociology and Director of the Natural Hazards Center at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Dr. Peek studies vulnerable populations in disaster, with a special emphasis on the experiences of low-income families, racial and ethnic minorities, women, and children. She is the author of Behind the Backlash: Muslim Americans after 9/11 (Temple University Press, 2011), co-editor of Displaced: Life in the Katrina Diaspora (University of Texas Press, 2012), and co-author of Children of Katrina (University of Texas Press, 2015). Behind the Backlash received the Distinguished Book Award from the Midwest Sociological Society and the Best Book Award from the American Sociological Association Section on Altruism, Morality, and Social Solidarity.

In 2009, the American Sociological Association Section on Children and Youth honored Dr. Peek with the Early Career Award for Outstanding Scholarship. She was named the 2010 Greek Life Professor of the Year and has received CSU’s Alumni Association Best Teacher Award, College of Liberal Arts Excellence in Teaching Award, the Waterpik Excellence in Education Award, and the Ann Gill Excellence in Teaching Award. In addition, the Institute on Teaching and Learning at CSU selected her as a 2011-12 Teaching Fellow as part of a university-wide competition.

Dr. Peek is the Field Report Editor for Children, Youth, and Environments. She is past Chair of the American Sociological Association Section on Environment and Technology and President of the Research Committee on Disasters for the International Sociological Association. She is a Board Member for the William Averette Anderson Fund, which was created to expand opportunities for African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities in the field of hazards and disasters research and practice. Dr. Peek is an appointed member of the National Academies Resilience Roundtable and the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute Resilience Observatory.

Faculty Page

Natural Hazards Center, University of Colorado-Boulder

Joseph Pfeifer, MA MPA

Adjunct Senior Staff Associate

Read more

Joseph Pfeifer is an Assistant Chief in the New York City Fire Department and the founding director of FDNY’s Center for Terrorism and Disaster Preparedness. During his career, he has commanded some of the largest disasters in the New York City’s history. He was the first Chief at the World Trade Center attack on September 11, 2001, played a major command role during Hurricane Sandy and helped manage NYC’s Ebola Response efforts.

Pfeifer has appeared in major media interviews and has spoken at United Nations’ Conferences in NY and Geneva, the World Knowledge Forum in Seoul, Wharton Leadership Conference, National Guard Joint Senior Leader Conference and other major symposiums. He has taught senior leaders from around the world and was invited to discuss disaster management, critical decision-making, crisis leadership and incident communication.  He has conducted hundreds of simulations to test public and private sector response capabilities, capacity and coordination. He advises first responders, hospitals, building managers, military organizations, DHS and the UN on disaster preparedness and response with an emphasis on large urban cities.  He has testified in front of the U.S. Congress about the threats cities will face in future.

He is also an adjunct senior staff associate at Columbia University, a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, a senior fellow at the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, and a visiting instructor at the Center for Homeland Defense and Security at the Naval Postgraduate School.  He earned Master’s degrees from the Harvard Kennedy School, Naval Postgraduate School, and Immaculate Conception and has written widely in professional journals and books.

FDNY

Amit Suneja

Research Fellow

Read more

Amit is a research fellow examining the impact of disasters on individuals with chronic diseases, including vulnerable sub-populations such as children and the elderly. He is currently a fourth year medical student at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and is applying for residency in the field of emergency medicine. He completed his Masters in Public Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2017, during which he worked on opioid response strategy at the Baltimore City Department of Health. He is also a member of the Columbia-Harlem Homeless Medical Partnership, a multidisciplinary student-run clinic in Harlem providing primary medical care to homeless and uninsured patients.

Prior to his medical and public health education, Amit was a public school teacher in Houston, Texas. He graduated from Rice University in 2012 with a B.A. in Economics. 

Jonathan Sury, MPH CPH
Jonathan Sury, MPH CPH

Project Director, Communications & Field Operations

Read more

Jonathan Sury is the Project Director for Communications and Field Operations. He holds a master’s degree in public health in Environmental Health Sciences with a concentration in Environment and Molecular Epidemiology from the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. He has a keen interest in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and their use in disaster preparedness and recovery.  Presently, he contributes to a variety of disaster-related research at NCDP, including evaluating the unanticipated consequences of pandemic flu, determining racially and ethnically appropriate emergency messaging, analyzing the long-term disaster resiliency and recovery issues in the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina, and the measurement and mapping of social vulnerability and the role of place and space in disaster recovery.

Jeb Weisman, PhD
Jeb Weisman, PhD

Director of Strategic Technologies, NCDP

Read more

Jeb Weisman has taught and practiced in the fields of anthropology and information systems for 30 years. In addition to his role at NCDP, he is CIO for the Children’s Health Fund, co-PI and Senior Researcher at the SmartLab Institute, University College, Dublin, Ireland, and holds an appointment at OCAD University, Canada.  Current research interests include Health Information Systems (HIS), communications infrastructure resiliency, HCI, and large data-set management. Dr. Weisman advises governments and NGOs in areas of HIS and security.  He has pioneered HIS and developed nationally recognized tools for health information management, analysis, and exchange. He holds a masters and doctorate in anthropology from the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research, and an AB from Vassar College.

Administration
Peggy Chao, MIA
Peggy Chao, MIA

Department Administrator

Read more

Peggy Chao is the Department Administrator at NCDP. She has a master’s degree in International Business from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a bachelor’s degree in Economics from New York University.

Her prior experience includes an administrative position at Rutgers-Public Health Research Institute, data analysis at KPMG, financial positions in Fortune 500 companies, and her own business specializing in high end juvenile products.

Denise Dunlop
Denise Dunlop

Administrative Coordinator

Read more

Denise Dunlop is the Administrative Coordinator for The National Center for Disaster Preparedness. Ms. Dunlop began as the Administrative Assistant of the Pediatric Preparedness Program in May 2003. As Coordinator she is responsible for day-to-day financial accounting and office operations for the Center. Prior to joining Columbia, Ms. Dunlop was the Administrative Assistant/Office Manager for The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore Medical Center.

Graduate Research Assistants/Interns
Timothy McGhee

Intern

Read more

Timothy McGhee is a student intern at NCDP.  He is currently a graduate student pursuing a Masters degree in Anthropology at Columbia University.  As a researcher, Tim works on a range of projects at NCDP including FEMA’s Community Economic Recovery curricula development, and projects mapping and researching the widespread effects of the hurricane season of 2017.

Tim is a Mellon Mays Fellow coming from the south Bronx.  He received his B.A. as a double major in Anthropology and Black Studies from CUNY’s City College of New York where he graduated suma cum laude.  Prior to joining NCDP, Tim worked as a New York State Emergency Medical Technician in New York City.  As a scholar, Timothy is researching the intersectionality of African traditional religious systems, social justice and leadership in Afro-diasporic communities.

Affiliated Faculty
David Abramson, PhD MPH

Clinical Associate Professor
Director, Program on Population Impact, Recovery and Resiliency (PiR2)
College of Global Public Health, New York University (NYU)

Read more
Ronald Bayer, PhD

Professor of Sociomedical Sciences
Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

Read more
Robert Bristow, MD

Assistant Clinical Professor of Emergency Medicine
Department of Medicine at the College for Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University

Read more
Robert Chen, PhD

Senior Research Scientist;
Director, Center for International Earth Science Information Network, Columbia University

Read more
Alwyn Cohall, MD

Professor of Clinical Sociomedical Sciences, Clinical Population, Family Health and Clinical Pediatrics;
Director, Harlem Health Promotion Center;
Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

Read more
Arthur Cooper, MD

Professor of Surgery, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons;
Director of Trauma and Pediatric Surgical Services, Columbia University Medical Center Affiliation at Harlem Hospital

Read more
George Deodatis, PhD

Santiago and Robertina Calatrava Family Professor
Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering Mechanics, Columbia University

Read more
Charles J. DiMaggio, PhD MPH PA

Associate Clinical Professor of Epidemiology;
Research Director, Center for Injury Epidemiology and Prevention;
Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

Read more
Amy Fairchild, PhD MPH

Professor Of Sociomedical Sciences
Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

Read more
Stephen E. Flynn, PhD MALD

Adjunct Research Scientist, National Center for Disaster Preparedness;
Founding Director, Global Resilience Institute, Northeastern University;
Founding Co-Director, George J. Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security, Northeastern University
Professor of Political Science

Read more
Sandro Galea, MD, DrPH

Anna Cheskis Gelman and Murray Charles Gelman Professor and Chair of Epidemiology
Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

Read more
Richard Garfield, DrPH MPH RN FAAN

Henrik H. Bendixen Professor of Clinical International Nursing
Columbia University School of Nursing

Read more
Andrew L. Garrett, MD MPH

Adjunct Research Scientist, National Center for Disaster Preparedness;
Director of the National Disaster Medical System, ASPR, DHHS

Read more
Robyn Gershon, DrPH MHS

Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
University of California, San Francisco

Read more
Christina Hoven, PhD

Associate Professor Of Clinical Epidemiology in Psychiatry
Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

Read more
Laurie A. Johnson, PhD AICP

Principal and Founder, Laurie Johnson Consulting | Research

Read more
Arthur L. Lerner-Lam, PhD

Deputy Director, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory;
Adjunct Professor, Earth and Environmental Sciences;
Lamont Research Professor, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

Read more
Paula A. Madrid, PsyD

Clinical Psychologist and Trauma Specialist

Read more
Stephen Morse, PhD MS

Professor of Clinical Epidemiology
Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

Read more
David Rosner, PhD

Ronald H. Lauterstein Professor of Sociomedical Sciences;
Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University;
Professor of History, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Columbia University

Read more