CPDM program celebrates 10th year of training disaster management personnel

May 15, 2014

The Community Preparedness and Disaster Management (CPDM) certificate program at the Gillings School of Global Public Health celebrates its 10-year anniversary this spring, as it hosts a graduation ceremony for 14 students who completed the program in 2013-2014.

The ceremony, which will be held Saturday, May 17 at 11 a.m. at The George Watts Hill Alumni Center’s Carolina Club, will feature as commencement speaker the Hon. Michael Chertoff, former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (2005-2009).

The Hon. Michael Chertoff

The Hon. Michael Chertoff

Bill Gentry

Bill Gentry

“We’re expecting to have more than 50 alumni join us to celebrate the occasion, and we’re very much looking forward to the reunion,” said Bill Gentry, MPA, health policy and management faculty member and director of the CPDM program. “We’re so honored to have Secretary Chertoff with us at this milestone.”

Prior to serving as Homeland Security Secretary, Chertoff was a federal judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (2003-2005) and Assistant Attorney General of the U.S., Criminal Division (2001-2003). He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College (1975) and Harvard Law School (1978), after which he served as clerk to Supreme Court Justice William Brennan Jr.

He currently is co-founder and chairman of The Chertoff Group, where he provides counsel to corporate and government leaders on a broad range of security issues, and is senior counsel at Covington & Burling LLP, a law firm in Washington, D.C.

The CPDM program has admitted and served more than 300 students in its 10-year history, receiving high praise from professionals in the field. Its three-course, nine-credit-hour format aims to be affordable for working disaster management professionals while offering academic and clinical training that better prepare those professionals for collaborating with governments, agencies and others to manage human-caused and natural disasters.

Students in the program have included emergency managers, law enforcement officers, veterinarians, fire and medical first responders, public health officials, military personnel and community leaders from 72 of North Carolina’s 100 counties, 29 states, India, Kenya, Australia and Canada.

“The certificate program fills a professional niche, and in this complex world, it is more and more essential to have agile, effective emergency management officials,” Gentry said. “Our students enter the program with a strong foundation in their chosen work, and we’re proud and pleased that they choose to strengthen and hone their skills through specialized study here at the Gillings School.”

More information about the program is available online.

Gillings School of Global Public Health contact: David Pesci, director of communications, (919) 962-2600 or dpesci@unc.edu.