Our Mission

The mission of the Center for Disaster Management is to educate the next generation of researchers, analysts, policy makers and professional managers in disaster management-related disciplines through a world-class integrated program of innovative knowledge generation. It will enhance the quality of the educational experience for graduate and professional students who participate in the Center’s research and education projects.

The Center for Disaster Management at GSPIA conducts research on decision making in the rapidly changing, complex environments of disaster risk, response, and recovery. It also Is developing a decision support system for practicing managers operating in uncertain environments. Further, it provides opportunities for research experience and mentoring for students preparing for professional careers in disaster risk reduction and management.

The Center provides a visible point of contact for public agencies at local, state, national and international levels of jurisdiction for research and education in disaster management.

Program Spotlight - JIISIS

JIISIS, or Java Interactive, Intelligent, Spatial Information System is a working prototype decision support system designed with, and for, practicing emergency managers. It is designed to improve interactive communication, coordination, and collective action among public organizations engaged in the shared task of managing risk to people, property, and continuity of operations in communities exposed to hazards.

Recent News

By Elizabeth Moody

Bob Kitchen, director of Emergency Preparedness and Response for the International Rescue Committee (IRC), recently visited GSPIA to share his firsthand experience of the Syrian refugee crisis and humanitarian response with students and faculty. Drawing from his extensive on-the-ground experience, Kitchen relayed the harrowing details of refugees’ journey to Europe and IRC’s response.  Kitchen put a human face on the conflict, reminding the audience how quickly the situation had deteriorated and that until recently, Syrians led very similar lives to many Americans. 


Louise Comfort, director of GSPIA's Center for Disaster Management, provided context for a recent Christian Science Monitor report. The article explores community response to natural disasters in California, specifically the lessons learned in the town of Napa, CA, which survived a devastating earthquake last year. The actions that residents have taken in response could now be applied to the dozens of cities that suffered the effects of wildfire this summer.


Traveling has always been a major part of a professor’s career. This past summer, GSPIA’s Dr. Louise Comfort spent a month at the Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara, Turkey on a research exchange program supported by the European Union Center of Excellence at the University of Pittsburgh and the sister European Union Center at METU.  


Center for Disaster Management
3930 Wesley W. Posvar Hall, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260