Disaster Risk Management

UNISDR Early Warning Programme Action Plan for the Future: 1999

Objectives of the Center for Public Service Communications (CPSC) include:

  • Improving the collection and sharing of scientific and technical knowledge to reduce human vulnerability to natural hazards
  • Improving the quality and access to health information that meets particular needs of minority, underserved and disenfranchised individuals and communities
  • Improving access to information technology and connectivity to the Internet by underserved individuals and communities

Highlights of CPSC Experience

Engaging Indigenous Peoples in Disaster Risk Reduction

Coordinator for Indigenous session at the United Nations Office of Disaster Risk Reduction Global Platform, Geneva, May 2013 (http://www.cpsc.com/images/isdrindigenousbackground.pdf) designed to promote discussion of risk reduction among indigenous and non-indigenous community leaders. Co-authored White Paper on same issue for the 2013 session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (http://www.cpsc.com/images/FinalUNPFII_IndigenousDRRpaper.pdf). Working with the Pan American Health Organization to convene Hemispheric Consultation on Disaster Risk Reduction 2013 (http://www.cpsc.com/images/HemisphericCons_Indig.pdf). In 2014 CPSC was commissioned by the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to prepare a study on the Promotion and protection of the rights of indigenous peoples in disaster risk reduction, prevention and preparedness initiatives (http://www.cpsc.com/images/MasterHumanRightsStudy.pdf).

Mayors Handbook on Disaster Risk Reduction

Consultant to United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction – Co-author and editor of handbook for ISDR’s international Resilient Cities Campaign that offers practical guidance on effective disaster risk reduction, including the basics of assessing community risk and the different entry points and linkages between disaster risk reduction, municipal services and local sustainable development.

Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Response and Recovery after 2010 Haiti Earthquake

Consultant to PAHO/WHO initiative to provide health information and knowledge management support to the Government of Haiti and other Health Cluster partners after the January 2010 earthquake

Cultural Competency for Disaster Preparedness and Crisis Response 

Member, DHHS Office of Minority Health National Advisory Committee, giving guidance to improve cultural competency for disaster professionals under the OMH CLAS Standards initiative. Author, OMH-commissioned White Paper, “Improving Emergency Preparedness and Disaster-Related Health Services Through Cultural Competency: Needs and Opportunities”

National Disaster Health Information Research Center

Senior Consultant to National Library of Medicine Long Range Plan to develop a health information research center that will collaborate with federal agencies and initiatives that aim at disaster prevention and remediation.

Refugee Health Information Network (RHIN)

Founder and director of national initiative to provide health information to refugees and immigrants and health professionals working in the field of refugee health. Funded through competitive peer-reviewed National Library of Medicine grant and with support from the Office of Minority Health and Robert Wood Johnson

Hurricane Katrina Assessment of Minority Health Professions Schools

Conducted assessment of the affects of Hurricane Katrina on minority health professions schools in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. Coordinator for post-Katrina disaster health information initiatives at Southern University, Xavier University and Dillard University in New Orleans and Baton Rouge

South East Asia Tsunami Disaster Health Information

Principal Investigator for assessment of need for South-East Asia regional disaster health information network, on behalf of the Emergency and Humanitarian Action division of the World Health Organization’s South-East Asia Region Office, Assessment included mission to India, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Indonesia

After Mitch: Improving Access to Health Information in Disasters 

Project Implementation Manager for Central American Disaster Health Information Network, a partnership of the Regional Disaster Information Center for Latin America and the Caribbean, the US National Library of Medicine, Pan American Health Organization/WHO and the Center for Public Service Communications: A program to improve collection and management of disaster health information in Central America

Early Warning for Disaster Reduction

Expert Advisor to the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR) and the United Nations Inter-agency Task Force on Disaster Reduction, WG2-Early Warning (current-ongoing)

World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), Johannesburg, South Africa (2002)

On behalf of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (ISDR), drafted plan for the “Partnership Initiative for Sustainable Development” designed to strengthen early warning systems as an element for disaster risk management strategies at global/regional/ national levels and to highlight their relation to sustainable development

Applications of Telecommunications & Information Technologies in Humanitarian Health Initiatives

Organizer and Chair of international meeting of experts on use of technologies for health assessment, operational communications and diagnostic support, training, disease surveillance, and physical and mental health needs in humanitarian health initiatives (Honolulu, 1998)

United Nations International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction Early Warning Programme 

Author of IDNDR’s Early Warning Programme Action Plan for the Future and Chairman of the IDNDR Working Group on Earth Observation, Hazard Analysis and Communications Technology, with the objective to frame disaster early warning policy and recommend improved coordination within the United Nations system. UNISDR Early Warning Programme Action Plan for the Future: 1999


Project manager (during concept development stage under contract to the UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs) and Platform Task Force Coordinator for international initiative to create a network that would improve exchange of information related to strategic decision-making and operational coordination of humanitarian emergencies.

Tampere Declaration on Disaster Communication

Co-drafter of Tampere Declaration on Disaster Communications, and co-organizer of Tampere Conference on Disaster Communications, Tampere, Finland, May 1991, sponsored by UNDRO, Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, ITU, UN High Commissioner on Refugees, and the International Institute of Communications

Sustainable Development for Small Island Developing States (SIDS)

1) Principal investigator for study of natural and environmental disaster early warning capabilities in the Caribbean presented at the 1994 Global SIDS Conference (Barbados); 2) Member of UNDP planning mission to Barbados in support of preparation for the Global Conference; 3) Principal investigator for U.S. Dept. of State Office of Global Change report for U.S. support to the Global Conference; 4) Delegate, representing UN DHA, to SIDS Global Preparatory Conference

First Intergovernmental Meeting of Experts on El Niño (Guayaquil, Ecuador, November 1998)

On behalf of the UN International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction: Session Chair, “The Economic Dimension of Risk Reduction” and assistant rapporteur for the conference report and the Declaration of Guayaquil

United Nations Secretary General's Report on Early Warning Capacities within the UN System 

Contributing author to Secretary General’s report reviewing early warning activities of organizations in the United Nations system and proposing improvements and methods to coordinate them effectively.

Working Group on Emergency Telecommunications (WGET)

Founding member and elected chair of 8th and 10th sessions of the United Nations OCHA/ITU- sponsored Working Group on Emergency Telecommunications

Harnessing the Internet for Disasters and Epidemics

Planning and Implementation support for regional workshop facilitating uses of Internet for planning, strategic decision-making, and operational coordination of disaster preparedness and response and management of disease outbreaks, on behalf of and under contract to the Pan American Health Organization/WHO. Also, English language rapporteur and member of final conference report drafting committee.

Potsdam Early Warning Conference (EWC’98) (Potsdam, Germany, September 1998)

1) Rapporteur for EWC’98 and the Potsdam Declaration, 2) Delivered presentations, “Disaster Early Warning & Individuals With Special Needs” and “Earth Observation, Hazard Analysis and Communications Technology for Early Warning at Global & Local Levels”

Application of Telehealth to Improve Prevention &Treatment of Landmine Injuries (Ispra, Italy, July 1997)

Co-convener (with the Council of Europe) and Chair of expert meeting focusing on the development and adaptation of telehealth technologies to prevent landmine injuries and to improve the effectiveness of the medical and mental health treatment of landmine victims.

Workshop on Joint Civilian-Military Public Health Humanitarian Interventions (Arn Prior, Canada 1997)

Coordinator of regional workshop designed to improve collaboration between military and civilian humanitarian endeavors during natural disasters and low-risk complex emergencies, on behalf of and under contract to the Pan American Health Organization Division of Emergency Preparedness Disaster Relief Coordination.

UN Humanitarian Operations In Somalia (UNOSOM)

Consultant and advisor to the Humanitarian Division of the United Nations Operations in Somalia (UNOSOM) responsible for assessing opportunities for coordinating information sharing among humanitarian initiatives in Somalia; member of U.S. Agency for International Development Disaster Assistance Response Team (Somalia) providing advice on development of emergency information management system.

Disaster Telemedicine Spacebridge to Armenia and Ufa (NASA)

Senior technical & program consultant to US-USSR Joint Working Group on Space Biology and Medicine and member of the "Telemedicine Implementation Team," and the "Telemedicine Spacebridge to Armenia and Ufa", part of the official U. S. Govt. response to the 1989 earthquake in Armenia and Ufa (Bashkir) gas explosion.

UN Workshops on Use of Space Technology to Combat Disasters (Chile, Zimbabwe, Mexico and China) 

Represented UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs in planning and convening the United Nations/European Space Agency Workshop on Application of Space Techniques to Combat Natural Disasters in cooperation with the Government of Chile, July 1996, and workshops on the same theme (in cooperation with the respective governments) in Zimbabwe, June 1995, Mexico, September 1993, and China, September 1991

International Emergency Readiness and Response Information System (IERRIS)

Project manager for initial phase of IERRIS, an initiative of OFDA), International Disaster Advisory Committee (IDAC), DHA/UNDRO, IFRC, PAHO/WHO, IDNDR, the Center for Disaster Epidemiology Research, and others

Emergency Information Management for UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Former Yugoslavia

Member, OFDA mission (in support of UN High Commissioner for Refugees) to develop emergency management information system to aid in coordinating relief to former Yugoslavia

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