Find A PhysicianHome  |  Library  |  myDownstate  |  Newsroom  |  A-Z Guide  |  E-mail  |  Contact Us  |  Directions
curve gif

[January 7,2008]



How prepared is New York for another terrorist attack or major disaster? Protect New York, an organization founded at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in 2006, will explore that question at a two-day conference addressing ways to safeguard New York City and New York State. The meeting will take place Thursday and Friday, Jan. 10 and 11, at the Levin Institute of the State University of New York, 116-120 East 55th Street in Manhattan.

"The biggest threats to New York City today are terrorism, pandemic flu, and coastal surge from an off-shore hurricane," says conference organizer Ernest Sternberg, president of Protect New York and professor of urban and regional planning in the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning. "The conference will highlight advances in protection and response for these scenarios and other potential disasters in New York City and throughout the state," explains Professor Sternberg, who studies decision making during a crisis.

Among those available for interviews are Dr. Bonnie Arquilla, who will lead a discussion on medical surge capacity during a disaster response; Dr. Kathleen Powderly, who will discuss ethical and legal issues surrounding disaster response; Dr. Rajesh Mittal, who will lead a panel on radiation emergencies; organizer Dr. Ernest Sternberg; and other presenters. 

More than 50 researchers, many from State University of New York and private New York State colleges and universities, will present their research. Experts and representatives from the FBI, Office of Homeland Security, Association of Fire Chiefs and the state Department of Transportation, among others, also will participate.

The conference is organized by Protect New York and sponsored by the New York State Office of Homeland Security and MCEER, headquartered at SUNY Buffalo.

For a full conference schedule and more information about Protect New York, go to

Members of the media interested in attending the conference should contact Maria Andia at the Levin Institute: 212-317-3507 or; Ron Najman at SUNY Downstate Medical Center: 718-270-2696 or; or John DellaContrada at the University at Buffalo at 716-361-3006 or

Conference sessions will address a wide range of security and disaster-response topics: transportation security in New York City; border security; behavioral screening at security checkpoints; securing the state's critical infrastructure; radiation emergencies; disaster-response ethics; hospital and emergency-medicine capacity during a disaster; security technologies; emergency logistics and training for all-hazard events; and behavioral approaches to security at airports and other checkpoints, among other subjects.