About the Center

I. Purpose and Function

The University Center for Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Response (UCDPER) is a joint initiative of Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey (Rutgers), Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS), and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital (RWJUH).

UCDPER administers and marshals the scientific, technical, clinical, and educational expertise and experience of its members to fulfill its academic and real-world missions.

II. Missions

The missions of the University Center for Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Response are:

  • To protect the lives, health, and well-being of the general public, vulnerable populations, and the workforce, and
  • To protect the societal, economic, and physical infrastructure of New Jersey and the nation through research, education, community outreach, and clinical advances in preparedness/response to all-hazards emergencies, disasters, and terrorism.

III. Rationale for the Establishment of UCDPER

UCDPER is founded upon the strengths and successes of our three parent institutions in a unique partnership that includes world-class scientific strengths in disaster medicine, exposure science, and the mathematical/computer science of massive information analysis.

Our Center builds on highly successful interdisciplinary activities including the the Level 1 Trauma Center at RWJUH/RWJMS; the EPA Center on Exposure and Risk Modeling at RWJMS; the Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT) at Rutgers; the International Center for Terror Medicine (ICTM) at RWJUH; the National Transportation Security Center of Excellence (NTSCOE) at Rutgers; and Command, Control and Interoperability Center for Advanced Data Analysis (CCICADA), a Department of Homeland Security University Center of Excellence at Rutgers.

UCDPER features core central shared resources with open architecture, linking together subject matter experts of our three parent institutions and creating a broad spectrum of multidisciplinary capabilities in all-hazards preparedness and response.

This combination of efforts and strengths makes our Center a unique resource for New Jersey and the nation. Furthermore, our Center works closely with the State of New Jersey through the New Jersey Domestic Security Preparedness Task Force, the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, and the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services.

IV. Rationale for the Location of UCDPER

New Jersey, strategically located between New York City and Philadelphia, is the most densely populated state in the nation and is home to a major portion of the Northeast corridor of roadway and railway transit and transportation. New Jersey has a significant history of natural and man-made, accidental and intentional disasters and health emergencies. In addition, New Jersey has infrastructure vital to national security and economic stability including major industries and utilities, military bases, financial and commercial centers, population concentration points, and transportation/transit links.

V. Priority Activities

Priority activities of the center are divided into six major areas:

  • Information/Intelligence Assessment and Analysis - Acquire, process, organize, interpret, validate, and archive information for applications in preparedness and emergency response.

  • Clinical and Health Care Preparedness and Response - Examine and solve problems related to a surveillance, first response, acute and long-term care, mental health, decontamination, surge capacity, isolation, quarantine, infrastructure protection, supply storage and distribution, and communications.

  • Research and Development -

    • Perform research in a wide variety of areas including medicine and health care, pharmaceuticals and drug development, environmental and exposure science, mathematical sciences, communications, engineering, transportation, basic societal services, and social/behavioral sciences.

    • Perform technology development and transfer, model development and performance, sampling and survey design and implementation, and simulation.

  • Education and Training - Develop and provide educational programs at all levels including classroom, distance learning, simulation, web-based learning, telemedicine, and training exercises.

  • Public and Private Sector Policy Development - Develop guidelines and recommendations, prepare position papers, and identify research challenges that are relevant to the Center’s missions.

  • Service and Outreach to the Community - Translate and disseminate policy, research, and other clinical products and methods to sectors of the general public, vulnerable populations, and the workforce.


Clifton Lacy, M.D.

"Our Center promotes disaster preparedness and emergency response through research, education, clinical advances, and community outreach." Clifton R. Lacy, M.D. - Center Director.


Rutgers Institute for Emergency Preparedness and Homeland Security


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Rutgers University CounterACT Research Center of Excellence


Center for Discrete Mathematics & Theoretical Computer Science (DIMACS)


Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation (CAIT)

Contact Us

Please contact Erika Schaefer with any questions regarding the center.