What We Do

NCDP carries out research that helps us prepare for, respond to, and recover from large-scale disasters — including hurricanes, earthquakes, nuclear accidents, pandemic flu, and terrorist attacks. NCDP’s approach combines research, policy work, education, and high level advocacy to ensure that the best thinking — and best practices — become part of our national disaster preparedness and recovery work.

NCDP research focuses on disaster preparedness, response, and recovery, with a special interest in vulnerable populations. Founded by Irwin Redlener, MD, a pediatrician and advocate for children’s health, NCDP is a leader in efforts to include children in disaster preparedness planning; many of NCDP’s recovery projects have focused on the health and mental health needs of children who have been affected by disasters. NCDP provides rapid-response research in an emergency—and is one of the few centers that has also done longitudinal research on populations affected by disasters.


NCDP plays a critical role in calling attention to disaster preparedness and planning issues that are “under the radar.” For example, NCDP events include a first-of-its-kind conference on nuclear response planning, which brought together high ranking government officials, public health leaders and other stakeholders.


Training is a vital part of NCDP’s mission: the Center has trained tens of thousands of responders. The Columbia Regional Learning Center provides both web-based and in-person trainings for public health workers, local and regional governments, and public health, hospital, and community partners. NCDP trainings include day-long disaster simulations for counties, in which many local agencies participate.


In a disaster or public health emergency, NCDP serves as a trusted source of information to the media and the public.

About Us

The National Center for Disaster Preparedness (NCDP), Columbia Climate School, at Columbia University is an academic research center with a previous affiliation at the Mailman School of Public Health from 2003-2013. NCDP senior faculty have appointments in the school’s departments of Health Policy and Management and Sociomedical Sciences. The Center’s twenty affiliated faculty represent a broad range of academic expertise in disciplines across the University’s schools of public health, medicine, nursing, engineering, and the Columbia Climate School.