Department of Health Policy and Management

Certificate of Community Preparedness and Disaster Management (CPDM)

If you’ve been thinking about expanding your individual knowledge or you want to advance your career in disaster management, this program is a perfect fit. We run one cohort of students each year — beginning every January. Our application deadline is December 4 for January classes. The certificate is taught entirely online with an optional graduation attendance. There is no on campus time required. You will learn an “all hazards” approach to disaster management with an emphasis on building an emergency management system through partnering and networking.

Our cohorts recruit professionals from a variety of backgrounds, thus providing a rich environment of peer networking and learning. For example, it’s not unusual for us to have a class that includes veterinarians, fire and medical responders, public health officials, military personnel and community leaders.

We not only encourage discussion among classmates, we also have you work together on 16-week projects. By project’s end, you understand why and how the agencies around you plan and respond the way they do. In fact, some of the most important information sharing comes out of these projects.

If you still want to learn more about the program, please feel free to use the navigation links below or send us an email at If you have any questions about the application process, please contact Kim Sieler at

If you would like to personally speak with our Program Director (Bill Gentry), give him a call at (919) 966-4228 or email him at

Whatever you decide — best of luck to you in your career and keep up the great work you’re doing. Disaster education programs are up and coming, so when you decide you are ready to take the next step — the University of North Carolina will be waiting to hear from you!

“The UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health Certificate of Community Preparedness and Disaster Management (CPDM) program is an excellent program that provides Emergency Management Professionals the tools and skills needed to hone their craft, and become more productive responders.


Commander J. W. Billy Mitchell

By asking the students to develop a peer rapport with other emergency professionals, the CPDM experience expands our critical thinking and demands that we craft proactive solutions to challenges in our home agencies. Extensive background work with planning tools, working with the National Response Framework, and defining clear understanding of disaster planning and operations are a hallmark of the program.

All of the skills that I have learned in the program have made me a better emergency manager, as well as a more agile responder.

The CPDM program is unique in its ability to draw differing perspectives from a vast array of emergency responders, and instill a confidence in our ability to meet emerging trends in Disaster Planning and Management.”

— Commander J. W. Billy Mitchell, Response Department Head, United States Coast Guard, Sector North Carolina, Wilmington, NC 28401

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Learn more about distance education opportunities at UNC, and view information about the process to file a complaint about the delivery of distance education.

Diversity and Inclusion

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