SJU Joins Regional Effort to Promote Emergency Preparedness
Associate Provost to Co-Chair University Consortium on Emergency Preparedness
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
PHILADELPHIA (October 23, 2007)— Taking into account the impact that disasters have on communities, and using events such as the terrorist attacks of September 11 and Hurricane Katrina as examples, the City of Philadelphia's Emergency Preparedness Review Committee (EPRC) released an evaluation of the city's preparedness and detailed more than 200 recommendations. Among them was the formation of the Greater Philadelphia University Consortium for Emergency Preparedness, recognizing that the city's colleges and universities play an important role in the nation's prosperity and security.
Saint Joseph's University's Associate Provost and Interim Dean of Graduate and Continuing Studies Paul DeVito, Ph.D., was named as a co-chair of the Consortium along with the city's Deputy Managing Director MaryAnn Marrocolo, and Director of the University of Pennsylvania's Institute for Strategic Threat Analysis and Response Harvey Rubin, M.D., Ph.D. A psychologist, DeVito is also founding executive director of SJU's Early Responders Distance Learning Center (ERDLC), a federally funded institute with the mission of providing state-of-the-art and accredited training for emergency responders to WMD/terrorist incidents.
"The formation of this Consortium sends an vital message regarding the importance and effectiveness of university-based collaboration on a regional level," said DeVito. "This partnership will not only aid Philadelphia and its surrounding areas, but it will hopefully be a national model. I am honored to work with my colleagues from our partner institutions on matters of such great consequence."
In addition to Saint Joseph's and the University of Pennsylvania, Bucks County Community College, Drexel University, Temple University, LaSalle University, Villanova University, and the University of Delaware have joined the effort.
The Consortium, established to support the region's emergency preparedness, has been charged with several objectives. Providing a means of collaboration between the academic community and the government on projects of mutual interest and benefit are chief among them, as is integrating the academic community into regional and city emergency planning and training programs.
To start, the Consortium is working to identify each university's resources, and then build a website cataloguing research activities, faculty interests and areas of expertise. Ultimately, the Consortium will plan and host symposia to highlight scholarship in the realm of emergency preparedness followed by a series of joint preparedness and response exercises amongst the institutions.