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 at Columbia University’s Earth Institute 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 Earth Institute.