Faculty & Staff

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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, Children’s Health Fund

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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 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.

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The Children's Health Fund

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

Deputy Director

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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 Associate

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Jaishree Beedasy is a Project Director at NCDP. She has a master’s degree in Information Processing and holds a PhD in Spatial Decision Support Systems and GIS. She is working on projects studying the effects of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill disaster on the physical and mental health of the Gulf Coast residents with a special focus on children’s health. Prior to joining the NCDP she was a Research Associate Professor at the Institute of Rural Health, Idaho State University.

Her prior experience includes the management and evaluation of emergency preparedness training for healthcare workers and first responders under the Bioterrorism Training and Curriculum Development Program. She implemented a broad spectrum of learning modalities ranging from face-to-face to simulation-based training for emergency preparedness. She was the recipient of the Association of Commonwealth Universities Scholarship at the University of York and the Fulbright Research Scholarship at Pennsylvania State University. She co-designed Play2Train, an Interactive MultiUser Virtual Environment for experiential learning which received a Federal Virtual Worlds Challenge award by the U.S. Army Simulation and Training Technology Center.

Shwetha Bhaskar, MA
Shwetha Bhaskar, MA

Senior Knowledge Management Coordinator

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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.

Ellen Carlin, DVM
Ellen Carlin, DVM

Adjunct Research Scientist

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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

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

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Thomas Chandler, PhD, is an Associate 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.

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Teacher's College

Dennis Johnson, MPS
Dennis Johnson, MPS

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

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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.

Sabine Marx, PhD
Sabine Marx, PhD

Director of Research

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Sabine Marx is the Director of Research at NCDP. Her expertise falls within the area of environmental decision making, with a focus on risk perceptions, human behavior, and communication of scientific information.

Prior to joining NCDP, Sabine served as Research Scientist and Managing Director at the Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (CRED) at the Earth Institute, Columbia University; preceded by postdoctoral appointments in the Department of Psychology and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI). She has conducted research on the use of climate information in agriculture, public health, and disaster preparedness and management.

She has a Ph.D. in Medical History from Carnegie Mellon University, and holds a Masters degree in Sociology and Pedagogy, with a minor in Psychology and Art Therapy from the University of Cologne, Germany.

Lori Peek, PhD
Lori Peek, PhD

Adjunct Research Scientist

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Lori Peek is Adjunct Research Scientist at the NCDP. She is also Associate Professor of Sociology and Co-Director of the Center for Disaster and Risk Analysis at Colorado State University. 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

Center for Disaster and Risk Analysis, Colorado State University

Elisaveta Petkova, DrPH MPH
Elisaveta Petkova, DrPH MPH

Research Associate

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Elisaveta Petkova holds a doctorate in public health from Columbia University and a master of public health from the University of Minnesota, both in environmental health sciences. She has particular interest in environmental health policy and public health preparedness and response to natural disasters. She currently focuses on the health impacts of environmental exposures and climate change and has published several articles on these issues.

Prior to joining NCDP, she was part of the research team of the Columbia Climate and Health program where she carried out a multidisciplinary research on the population health impacts of air pollution and temperature extremes. She has also served as a consultant on a variety of initiatives related to environmental health risk assessment, communication and management.

Erin Sehnert, MSW
Erin Sehnert, MSW

Project Coordinator

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Erin Sehnert graduated from the University of Michigan School of Social Work with a concentration in Social Policy and Evaluation, focusing her personal studies on disaster relief and recovery. Ms. Sehnert has served as a member of AmeriCorps NCCC, where she was involved in community disaster recovery and engagement projects in Louisiana and Mississippi post Hurricane Katrina, such as building homes and cooking meals for up to 800 volunteers. Post-Katrina, Ms. Sehnert volunteered and led several trips to the Gulf to gut, clean, and build homes.

She is presently assessing resilience attributes for communities affected by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, a GoMRI funded project working with Louisiana State University.  She is also the collaborator for the Resilient Children Resilient Communities’ National Children’s Resiliency Board. In addition, Ms. Sehnert is helping New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene create performance measures for NYC to guide preparedness activities and investments.

Jonathan Sury, MPH CPH
Jonathan Sury, MPH CPH

Project Director, Communications & Field Operations

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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

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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

Business Manager

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Peggy Chao is the Business Manager 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

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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
Mayra Cruz
Mayra Cruz

Graduate Research Assistant

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Mayra Cruz is a Graduate Research Assistant at the National Center for Disaster Preparedness. She is primarily involved with providing support and communication materials for the Resilient Children Resilient Communities Initiative. She also works on social media and has spearheaded twitter campaigns for hurricane and heat wave preparedness.

Mayra is pursuing an MPH in Environmental Health Sciences and a certificate in Climate & Health from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Her biggest passion is increasing resilience in communities most affected by climate change. During her undergraduate career at George Washington University she focused on making the campus more sustainable through a number of campaigns on campus. Additionally, she interned at We Act’s federal office and created an environmental justice scorecard to hold federal agencies accountable for their work.

Jeremy Brooks
Jeremy Brooks

Graduate Research Assistant

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Jeremy Brooks is a Graduate Research Assistant for the National Center for Disaster Preparedness. He works on the Resilient Children / Resilient Communities Initiative and is mainly focused 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 will be graduating 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.

Paul Gu
Paul Gu

Graduate Research Assistant

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Paul is a Graduate Research Assistant at the National Center for Disaster Preparedness. He is currently a second year graduate student pursuing a Master of Public Administration in Development Practice (MPA-DP) from the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). At NCDP, Paul is currently involved in developing three Community Economic Recovery training geared for small business owners, a project funded by the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Prior to joining SIPA and NCDP, Paul spent time serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Nicaragua, and a program coordinator with a small non-profit organization in Haiti. While at SIPA, Paul also worked closely with teams from the UNICEF Middle East and North Africa Regional Offices, USAID All Children Reading Grand Challenge, and World Bank Global Delivery Initiative.

Stephanie Ullrich
Stephanie Ullrich

Graduate Research Assistant

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Stephanie Ullrich works at NCDP on a FEMA-Funded national training program on Community Economic Development. She is a student at the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University pursuing a MPA in Development Practice and is focusing on Disasters, Emergencies, and Crisis.

Prior to joining NCDP, Stephanie worked at the United Nations Development Programme in New York, Thailand, and Ethiopia supporting environment and poverty project evaluations. Stephanie has also worked on grassroots organizing after Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and has worked on livelihoods projects in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

Stephanie studied Peace and Conflict Studies and Global Poverty and Practice at UC Berkeley and she is currently the President of SIPA’s Humanitarian Affairs Working Group. Stephanie is a USAID Donald M. Payne Fellow and will join the USAID Foreign Service after her masters program to work on humanitarian and food security programs.

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)

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Ronald Bayer, PhD

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

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Robert Bristow, MD

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

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Robert Chen, PhD

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

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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

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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

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George Deodatis, PhD

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

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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

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Amy Fairchild, PhD MPH

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

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Stephen E. Flynn, PhD MALD

Adjunct Research Scientist, National Center for Disaster Preparedness;
Founding Co-Director, George J. Kostas Research Institute for Homeland Security, Northeastern University

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Sandro Galea, MD, DrPH

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

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Richard Garfield, DrPH MPH RN FAAN

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

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Andrew L. Garrett, MD MPH

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

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Robyn Gershon, DrPH MHS

Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
University of California, San Francisco

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Christina Hoven, PhD

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

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Laurie A. Johnson, PhD AICP

Principal and Founder, Laurie Johnson Consulting | Research

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Arthur L. Lerner-Lam, PhD

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

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Paula A. Madrid, PsyD

Clinical Psychologist and Trauma Specialist

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Stephen Morse, PhD MS

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

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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

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