Research & Innovation

Project Disaster Preparedness: Strengthening Our Cities with Critical Systems Intelligence

A city’s greatest responsibility is its people. And, in an era of constant natural and man-made disasters, the responsibility has grown immensely with cities from all over the world stepping up their disaster planning and recovery initiatives.

With a population of over eight million people within a 300 square mile radius, the city of New York is unceasingly focused on building all of its disaster planning systems. To that effect, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), has collaborated with Dr. Jose Ramirez-Marquez, Associate Professor, School of Systems and Enterprises at Stevens Institute of Technology, to develop intelligent systems for the rapid distribution of life saving medical countermeasures to exposed populations in response to a bio-terrorist attack or disease outbreak.

“A city’s ability to respond to deadly emergencies is based on the efficiency and functioning of its critical systems,” said Dr. Ramirez-Marquez.

To increase the scientific basis on which public health emergency response planning is built upon, and to ensure that the best thinking and efficiencies are built into its recovery systems, the DOHMH is funding a research project for developing advanced modeling and simulation programs that will enable optimization in the allocation of staffing resources in a disaster situation.

“This is a very high profile disaster prevention and recovery plan, said Dr. Ramirez-Marquez. Public health emergency response systems are logistically very complex. Determining throughput capacity, staffing requirements, transportation necessities, and site layout to maximize resources are some of the intricacies that need to be addressed while building the recovery system.”

“We are developing a research module that will ensure the optimization of the staffing requirements needed for the distribution of medications in all of the DOHMH disaster recovery facilities. The goal is to translate the rigor of scientific research into a complex public emergency system, and build systems that are intelligent, efficient, and resilient, and will advance the city’s capability to prepare, respond, and recover from disasters,” summed Dr. Ramirez-Marquez.