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New Rutgers Institute Focuses on Emergency Preparedness, Disaster Response, Homeland Security

New Brunswick, NJ, June 6, 2014 — Rutgers University today formally launched a new institute to address issues that remain fresh in the minds of residents across the state and region — emergency preparedness, disaster response and homeland security.

The institute will coordinate the university’s research, education, and readiness initiatives in these areas and serve as a single point of access for government agencies, businesses and other groups that contribute to and benefit from these efforts.

The Rutgers Institute for Emergency Preparedness and Homeland Security encompasses new and established programs at the university that aim to protect people and property in the event of disasters and emergencies.

It will promote collaborations among Rutgers experts across all statewide locations and in fields that include medicine, public health, life sciences, engineering, physical sciences, humanities, social sciences, public policy, public safety, and law.


“Rutgers established the institute to play a leadership role, nationally and internationally, in the fields of emergency preparedness, disaster response and homeland security,” said Clifton R. Lacy, a physician and the institute’s director.  “It brings together experts from the broad spectrum of disciplines that exist at Rutgers University — to forge collaborations among those professionals and between Rutgers faculty and entities in the public and private sectors.”

Lacy was formerly New Jersey’s health commissioner and president of Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.

The inaugural conference features addresses by New Jersey Acting Attorney General John Joy Hoffman and Tom Ridge, former Pennsylvania governor and U.S. homeland security secretary.

The new institute will collaborate with several Rutgers-led federally funded research efforts, including two Department of Homeland Security centers of excellence that focus on methods and tools to solve challenging data problems, a National Institutes of Health center of excellence that develops drugs to counter chemical terrorism and an Environmental Protection Agency-funded center for exposure and risk modeling.

Other collaborating centers at Rutgers focus on transportation, infrastructure, social work, epidemiology, and law enforcement. The institute’s expertise also includes health care, emergency management, public safety, computer science and communications.

Also participating in the conference are Edward Dickson, director of the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness; Mary O’Dowd, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Health; and Jennifer Velez, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Human Services; as well as Rutgers scientists, researchers, and educators from across the state.

Advisory board members include Michael Chertoff, former U.S. homeland security secretary; Thomas Kean, former New Jersey governor and chair of the 9/11 Commission; Ridge; and other distinguished academic, business and government leaders.

The institute’s roles will include policy development; information assessment and intelligence analysis; preparedness planning and initiatives; theoretical and applied research and development; education and training; business development; clinical and practice initiatives; and service and outreach to the community.

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