When Disaster Strikes

Ethics and Justice in Disaster Settings


FRIDAY, APRIL 15, 2016

12:30pm – 2:15pm

Reception and book signing to follow

REGISTER BY MONDAY, APRIL 11th: Eventbrite.com

KEYNOTE: 12:30-1:15 PM

Emergency Response Ethics and Leadership Abroad and at Home: Observations from a practitioner-turned-reporter

Sheri Fink Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter and New York Times correspondent


Sheri Fink Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter and New York Times correspondent
Michael Primeau Director of Office of Health Emergency Preparedness NYS Department of Health
Eli Fresquez Senior planner and attorney from NYC Office of Emergency Management
John Mutter Scientist and professor at Columbia University's Earth Institute
Kevin Wisely NYS DHSES Deputy Commissioner for Emergency Services and Director of the NYS OEM

Bios Below!


Campus Center Ballroom

University at Albany, State University of New York
1400 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12222

REGISTER BY MONDAY, APRIL 11th: Eventbrite.com

This event is free and open to the public.

New York State Writers Institute; Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy; School of Criminal Justice; School of Public Health; School of Social Welfare; College of Arts and Sciences; Student Association; Graduate Student Organization; Global Institute for Health and Human Rights; Office of Environmental Sustainability;UAlbany Alliance for Security and Preparedness

Sheri Fink
is one of America’s most acclaimed journalists and nonfiction authors. A correspondent for the New York Times, as well as a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and the New America Foundation, Fink has won Pulitzer Prizes in both Investigative Reporting and International Reporting for her journalistic work. In addition, Fink received the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction for her book Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital. She also holds a M.D. and a PhD in neuroscience.


 Eli Fresquez works at New York City Emergency Management where he incorporates citywide strategic initiatives and policies to address civil rights issues into the city’s emergency plans. As one of the Agency’s senior planners some of his efforts include chairing community and interagency taskforces and developing disability trainings for emergency managers and personnel. Additionally, he leads efforts aimed at integrating the needs of populations with disabilities and others with access and functional needs into the city’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC), coastal storm shelters, emergency service centers, and Advance Warning System (AWS). He is an attorney who previously worked in the enforcement unit of the New York State Division of Human Rights where he investigated high impact cases of discrimination on behalf of the State of New York. 

Professor John C. Mutter is jointly appointed in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences with a specialty in seismology and in the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), and is a member of the faculty of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. He is Director of Graduate Studies for the PhD in Sustainable Development at SIPA and director of the Earth Institute’s post-doctoral Fellows program. He researches the role of natural disasters in supporting the global inequality in development status and particularly in suppressing development opportunities for the poorest. He created the Katrinalist project to determine the extended mortality from Hurricane Katrina. He also examines these questions through the lens of human rights, asking whether rights attainment can predict disaster outcomes, such as the response to Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar, and how the norms and principals of human rights can provide guidance for climate adaptation strategies. 

Kevin Wisely is the New York State DHSES Deputy Commissioner for Emergency Services and Director of the New York State Office of Emergency Management. He has 30 years of experience in emergency services, both in the private and public sector, including emergency incident response to provide command and control support to County emergency services agencies. Active in the emergency services community, Kevin has been an instructor, volunteer fire chief, emergency medical technician, hazardous materials incident responder, deputy coordinator for emergency management and hazardous materials, fire advisory board member and field trainer. He has been involved with the development of the new College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity and is interested in bringing his extensive experience to ensure that students of the program are prepared for work in the field. 

 Michael J. Primeau is currently the Director, Office of Health Emergency Preparedness, New York State Department of Health. Mr. Primeau is responsible for all preparedness, and response activities within the agency. He has worked with agency staff to plan for and conduct the Department’s response to all declared emergencies and activations since July of 2002, including; 2003 Northeast Blackout, 2004 Republican National Convention, Severe Flooding in Central New York 2006, Buffalo Snowstorms 2006/2014 and the Erie County Hepatitis A Exposure 2008, H1N1 in 2009 and 2010, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011, Superstorm Sandy in 2012, 2013 Mohawk Valley Flooding, 2014/2015 Ebola and the 2015 Legionella response. He is a Department lead for strategic public health emergency preparedness planning activities including; The Departments All Hazard Response Plan, Strategic National Stockpile and CHEMPACK. Before joining the Department of Health, Lieutenant Colonel Primeau retired from the active duty Marine Corps where he served for over 20 years. A combat veteran, he has served around the country and the world, commanding numerous organizations and specializing as a logistics planner.