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Irwin Redlener, M.D.
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Dr. Redlener is professor of clinical public health and pediatrics at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. He runs Columbia’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness that is focused on research and policy analysis of the nation’s state of readiness and ability to respond to major disasters. He is also co-founder (with singer Paul Simon) of the Children’s Health Fund (CHF), an organization providing comprehensive medical care to severely underserved children in 21 of the nation’s most disadvantaged urban and rural communities. Operation Assist, created by Dr. Redlener in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina continues to provide health and mental health care to children in the Gulf utilizing a fleet of seven mobile medical units. The CHF is also a well-respected advocacy force representing the needs of children at the federal and state levels of government. Dr. Redlener speaks and writes regularly on issues relevant to disaster preparedness policy and the needs of disadvantaged children. He is the author of Americans at Risk: Why We Are Not Prepared for Megadisasters and What We Can Do Now (Knopf, 2006).

Entries by Irwin Redlener, M.D.

Declaration on the Well-Being of NYC's Children

(1) Comments | Posted December 19, 2013 | 2:39 PM

Written by the New York City Advisory Council on Child Well-Being. See full list at bottom of the page.

The New York City Advisory Council on Child Well-Being endorses Mayor-elect Bill De Blasio's call for universal pre-kindergarten for four-year-olds, and after-school for middle-school children, as part of a bold and...

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A Healthy Future for Immigrant Children Is a Healthy Future for the Nation

(2) Comments | Posted April 30, 2013 | 6:43 PM

After years of postponing the inevitable, the U.S. is finally on the verge of reforming our dysfunctional immigration policies. For millions of immigrant families who have committed themselves to building better lives for themselves and their communities, change cannot come too soon. And for the children in these families, their...

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President Obama's Budget: Finally Good News (Mostly) for Kids

(2) Comments | Posted April 15, 2013 | 1:54 PM

President Obama's 2014 budget proposal contains a lot of good news for children and families on the rough edges of America's struggling economy, putting real teeth behind his recent calls for creating ladders of opportunity and helping to level the playing field for millions of Americans wrestling with poverty.

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Barack Obama and America's Children: Can a Tragedy Refocus a Nation's Priorities?

(4) Comments | Posted January 11, 2013 | 4:49 PM

The children of Newtown are back at school. The media storm over the tragedy is, not surprisingly, fading into the background as headlines now focus on budget crises and the politics of presidential appointments. Although the lives of the families in that once quiet Connecticut community have been irrevocably altered,...

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The Politics of Disaster: How Leaders Can Transcend Bare-Knuckle Politics for the Public Good

(0) Comments | Posted November 5, 2012 | 3:21 PM

There are some important lessons to be drawn from the extraordinary confluence of Hurricane Sandy blasting its way through the northeast, just as we get to the final days of one of the most contentious national political campaigns in memory.

Bush v. Gore in 2000 had plenty of drama,...

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For America's Families: ACA Just What the Doctor Ordered

(2) Comments | Posted July 2, 2012 | 3:07 PM

Although it's hard to believe, it wasn't just politicians and pundits of every conceivable stripe who waited with excited anticipation for the Supreme Court to announce its ruling on the Affordable Care Act. Just imagine what was at stake for ordinary citizens and families across the country.

Children in...

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Off the Radar: Why Does the National Political Dialogue Ignore the Impact of Long-Term Child Poverty on America's Future?

(8) Comments | Posted February 7, 2012 | 5:34 PM

This post is part of a series on childhood poverty in the United States in partnership with Save the Children and Julianne Moore. Moore leads the organization's Valentine's Day campaign, through which cards are sold to support the fight against poverty. To learn more or to purchase the cards, click...

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Preparing for Disasters: Where's the Science?

(0) Comments | Posted September 8, 2011 | 3:53 PM

Co-authored by Dr. Sandro Galea, Gelman Professor and Chair of Epidemiology, Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health

The tenth anniversary of September 11 presents an opportunity to assess the progress made in the U.S. capacity to respond more effectively to a...

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America Unprepared: Are Budget Cuts Undermining National Disaster Readiness?

(0) Comments | Posted July 19, 2011 | 3:16 PM

Improving the nation's state of readiness, response and recovery capacity has been a slow and painful process since the attacks of September 11, 2001. The establishment of an enormous new Cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security (DHS), along with major disaster response programs across the federal government, was nothing if not...

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Japan: What if It Happened Here?

(1) Comments | Posted March 21, 2011 | 4:27 PM

In a strange turn of events, a mind-numbing humanitarian crisis caused by this month's massive 9.0 earthquake, an enormous tsunami and hundreds of aftershocks has been nearly overshadowed by a growing crisis from damaged nuclear power plants along Japan's northeast coast.

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of survivors -- men, women...

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The Dangers of Cutting Children's Health Programs to Balance the Budget

(4) Comments | Posted March 16, 2011 | 1:40 PM

There is no denying that in this difficult budget climate, politicians are facing tough decisions. Astronomical budget and debt challenges have given many experts cause for serious concern regarding the stability of the U.S. economy. State and federal programs -- including many that affect children -- are being slashed to...

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Cutting Health Care for Children? Bad Medicine for a Broken Economy

(7) Comments | Posted March 1, 2011 | 4:08 PM

For nearly 50 years, Medicaid has served as a health care safety net for the poor, reducing the burden on families during periods of individual and national economic hardship. One in three children nationwide currently relies on health services provided through Medicaid.

Yet, in response to serious budget shortfalls...

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Bring It On: New Mobile Clinic Set to Provide Free Health Care to Detroit's Kids

(1) Comments | Posted December 6, 2010 | 10:33 AM

In April 2009, Children's Health Fund (CHF) and its supporters, U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow and signer/songwriter Paul Simon, kicked off the Kids Can't Wait campaign - an effort to expand health care services to disadvantaged children and raise national awareness of health care access challenges facing America's children.


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Fighting for Survival: Sustainability in the Gulf

(9) Comments | Posted November 1, 2010 | 6:50 PM

Five years after Hurricane Katrina and the flooding of New Orleans, assessing the progress of recovery from this complex, massive disaster remains fraught with contradictions and conflicting conclusions. Random conversations with business owners, politicians, community leaders, and artists range from outright despair to unbridled optimism, and every nuanced perspective in...

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All Eyes on California and Arizona as the Bellwether States Decide Future of Child Health Safety Net Programs

(8) Comments | Posted March 29, 2010 | 1:57 PM

The passage into law of the Patient Protection and Affordability Act presents a historic moment in the health care narrative of our country. But health reform, and the promise it holds, comes at a time of budgetary crisis in our country, states are facing growing, long-term deficits and a lack...

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Obama Issues Second Salvo in Fight to Keep Health Care Reform on the Table: But Even After SCHIP, Coverage for Kids May Be Slipping

(0) Comments | Posted February 24, 2009 | 5:40 PM

Today, at a White House summit on fiscal responsibility, President Obama made it clear that health care reform will remain at the top of his domestic policy agenda. But this wasn't his first move to repair some of the more grotesque flaws in the nation's dysfunctional "system" of medical care....

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How Not To Respond To -- or Recover From -- A Major Disaster: An Indelible Legacy of Presidential Incompetence

(4) Comments | Posted January 14, 2009 | 4:51 PM

So at his last - and possibly most surreal - press conference as president, George W. Bush broached the delicate subject of his "handling" of the response to Hurricane Katrina, the now famous killer storm that devastated the Gulf coast and flooded much of New Orleans in September 2005.

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Obama Hires 'Harry and Louise' to Attack Hillary's Plan for Health Care: Republicans Thrilled!

(90) Comments | Posted February 3, 2008 | 7:45 PM

Here's a top contender for the most egregious political strategy of the current campaign season: the ObamacCampaign is now circulating a mailer that resuscitates the images of "Harry and Louise," the notorious stars of a political ad that was part of a $300 million campaign by the health insurance industry...

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The Economy, Health Care and Presidential Politics

(12) Comments | Posted January 22, 2008 | 12:26 PM

It doesn't take a Nobel laureate to know that the national economy is in trouble. But what may be less clear is how much the nation's health care crisis both exacerbates and will, itself, be worsened by growing economic troubles. The leading two Democratic presidential candidates get this, but only...

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New Orleans: Trailer Trapped

(31) Comments | Posted October 4, 2007 | 4:38 PM

The second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's devastating impact on Mississippi and Louisiana was marked by the expected media flurry of solemn tributes, reminiscing, recriminations and painful expositions of "where are we now?" It was in this last category where we were treated to the now familiar images of the lower...

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