Past Event

Public Lecture on Planning for Urban Disaster Resilience

January 25, 2018
6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
Columbia Global Centers | Beijing

With increases in extreme weather events, growing urban areas and unpredictable world events, disasters are causing record levels of damage measured in both currency and human suffering. Developing resilience requires understanding the physical and social constructs that contribute to vulnerability, and requires expertise across sectors to build more resilient cities.

On January 25, Columbia Global Centers | Beijing will hold a lecture on Planning for Urban Disaster Resilience. This lecture will highlight the research and efforts of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University’s Earth Institute in building new paradigms for resilience, along with the lessons and initiatives of other notable organizations working to build sustainable communities that are more resilient to 21st century disasters. Dr. Jianhua Xu, Associate Professor of Department of Environmental Management at College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Peking University and Dr. Xiaoli Lu, Associate Professor at Tsinghua University's School of Public Policy and Management are invited as special panelists to have an in-depth discussion with the speaker on disaster vulnerability and risk after the lecture. 


Jeff Schlegelmilch

Jeff Schlegelmilch, MPH&MBA, is the Deputy Director for the National Center for Disaster Preparedness. His areas of expertise include public health preparedness, community resilience and the integration of private and public sector capabilities. Some topics of past work include developing inter-organizational processes for operational epidemiological modeling, evacuation and sheltering planning for people with medical dependencies, and adapting business intelligence systems for disaster response and recovery operations.

He has advised local, state and federal leaders on preparedness programs and policies and has briefed congressional staff on key preparedness legislation and funding areas. He frequently serves as a subject matter expert source for the media and is an expert Contributor for The Hill. He holds a Master’s degree in Public Health from UMASS Amherst in Health Policy and Management, and a Master’s in Business Administration from Quinnipiac University.


National Center for Disaster Preparedness

The National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University’s Earth Institute is an academic research center with a previous affiliation at the Mailman School of Public Health from 2003-2013. NCDP senior faculty have appointments in the school’s departments of Health Policy and Management and Sociomedical Sciences. The Center’s twenty affiliated faculty represent a broad range of academic expertise in disciplines across the University’s schools of public health, medicine, nursing, engineering, and the Earth Institute.

The National Center for Disaster Preparedness at the Earth Institute works to understand and improve the nation’s capacity to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters. NCDP focuses on the readiness of governmental and non-governmental systems; the complexities of population recovery; the power of community engagement; and the risks of human vulnerability, with a particular focus on children.

What We Do

NCDP carries out research that helps us prepare for, respond to, and recover from large-scale disasters — including hurricanes, earthquakes, nuclear accidents, pandemic flu, and terrorist attacks. NCDP’s approach combines research, policy work, education, and high level advocacy to ensure that the best thinking — and best practices — become part of our national disaster preparedness and recovery work.

  • Research:NCDP research focuses on disaster preparedness, response, and recovery, with a special interest in vulnerable populations. 
  • Policy:NCDP plays a critical role in calling attention to disaster preparedness and planning issues that are “under the radar.”
  • Practice:Training is a vital part of NCDP’s mission: the Center has trained tens of thousands of responders. NCDP trainings include day-long disaster simulations for counties, in which many local agencies participate.
  • Media:In a disaster or public health emergency, NCDP serves as a trusted source of information to the media and the public.

Special Panelists

Jianhua Xu

Dr. Jianhua Xu, Associate Professor of Department of Environmental Management at College of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Peking University. She is also assistant Director of Center for Risk Governance, School of Public Policy and Management at Tsinghua University since 2013. She received her PhD in 2007 from Department of Engineering and Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University. Her research areas include Environmental and Energy Policy, Environmental Decision Making, Risk Perception and Communication and Risk Governance and she has published widely on these areas in Chinese and international journals. She has presided over a number of key projects such as Risk Communication in Air Quality Management supported by National Natural Sciences Foundation of China and Study on Policy Making Process and Policy Implementation for Preventing and Controlling Air Pollution supported by Center for Industrial Development and Environmental Governance of CIDEG of Tsinghua University. 

Xiaoli Lv

Xiaoli Lv (PhD Utrecht University) is Associate Professor at Tsinghua University's School of Public Policy and Management, and Associate Director at Tsinghua's Center for Crisis Management Research. Lv has published widely on topics of crisis and disaster management, and organizational issues. His most recent book is Managing uncertainty in crisis: exploring the impact of institutionalization on organizational sense making. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation of China, Ministry of Education, Beijing Social Science Foundation and Beijing Earthquake Administration. He serves on the editorial boards of the journals Risk, Hazards & Crisis in Public Policy and Journal of Risk, Disaster & Crisis Research (in Chinese), and the board of the China Society of Emergency Management. He is also the founder of the China Crisis Management Website (, and the co-founders of the Youth Sub-forum and Summer School affiliated to the Forum of Fifty on Emergency Management.


January 25th, Thursday

6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.


6:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.  Registration

6:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.  Planning for Urban Disaster Resilience by Jeff Schlegelmilch

7:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.  Panel Discussion

7:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.  Q&A