Large Scale Emergency Response Project (LaSER) Overview

LaSER aims to improve the capabilities of federal, state, and local governments, as well as private organizations, to prepare for and respond to a large mass casualty incident. The research outlined on this web site should be viewed as an initial phase which begins to identify the underlying infrastructure for large-scale emergency response.

LaSER is composed of five interrelated sub-projects which will create a range of new tools and knowledge that will enhance urban preparedness and response. LaSER is designed to integrate theories, processes and technologies from fundamental preparedness disciplines to improve planning and response of medical and public health approaches in the event of a mass casualty event. LaSER is a multi-component project and involves scientists from the mathematical and computational, public health and medical, legal, business, and sociological fields. Follow the links below to learn more about these sub-projects:

Modeling and Simulation  |  Organization Based Incident Management  |  Organizational Safety Net  | Risk Communication  |  Legal Issues

About the LaSER Team

Bringing together researchers, thinkers and practitioners from six different NYU schools, the interdisciplinary LaSER team represents a novel approach to disaster preparedness and response research.

About the Principal Investigator

Lewis R. Goldfrank, M.D. has worked at Bellevue Hospital Center and New York University Medical Center for the last quarter century. He is currently the first Chairman and Professor of the newly established academic Department of Emergency Medicine at New York University. He is also the Medical Director of the New York City Health Department’s Poison Center. Educated at Clark University, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the University of Brussels, Belgium; he graduated from the University of Brussels, Medical School in 1970. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Montefiore Hospital and Medical Center in 1973.

His efforts have led to the development of NYU's Emergency Medicine and Medical Toxicology residencies. He has served as the Chairman of American Board of Emergency Medicine's subboard on Medical Toxicology, the American Board of Medical Toxicology and the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine. His entire career has been spent working in the public hospitals of New York City emphasizing the role of Emergency Medicine in improving access to care, public health, public policy and medical humanism. He is senior editor of Goldfrank's Toxicologic Emergencies, a standard text in medical toxicology, the eighth edition of which was published in 2006.

He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine. He has participated on three committees on terrorism: Committee on R&D for Improving Civilian Medical Response to Chemical and Biological Terrorism (1998 – 1999); Committee on Assessing Metropolitan Medical Response Teams: Preparedness for Terrorism (1999 – 2002); Committee on Psychological Consequences of Terrorism (2002 – 2003). He chaired the last two of these committees. He currently chairs the standing committee at the IOM on Personal Protective Equipment in the Workforce.

About the Project Director

Ian Portelli is the Director for Research at the Department of Emergency Medicine of New York University's School of Medicine. For the past five years Ian has focused on research and leadership within the Disaster Preparedness and Management arena while working with city, state and federal content matter experts in CBRN and natural hazards. Ian has led the Large Scale Emergency Readiness (LaSER) disaster research efforts at NYU's Center for Catastrophe Preparedness and Response and NYU School of Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine. His grants have been funded by the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense and Department of Education. He also has application expertise within non-profit, governmental and academic organizations. Ian has multiple journal and chapter publications in the Medical, Social Science, Public Health, Nursing and Computer Science fields. He also acts as a consultant on various city and state agency efforts.

Ian holds a Bachelor of Science joint degree from the University of Malta and Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland and a European SRN certification. Ian is pursuing a public health-based PhD in Research and theory Development at New York University, and is projected to complete his dissertation, about the psychological impact of disaster on children, by early 2009. Finally, his experience is also consistent with two years of UN Peacekeeping efforts with a US based KFOR combat medical unit in the former Yugoslavia during the 1996 conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Latest News:

PlanC Pandemic Influenza Simulation Under Way

Over the next year the LaSER multidisciplinary team will take on the task of modeling a pandemic influenza scenario in New York. Medical, public health, legal, and other experts model will work on the simulation and will probe a variety of emergency plans to determine optimal allocation of resources and personnel during such a disaster. For example, the implication of varying guidelines governing ventilator allocation will be studied. PlanC is scalable, in the sense that it can be applied not only in New York City but also in smaller cities. Accurate street maps and public transportation systems will be integrated into PlanC via publicly available GIS data. PlanC simulations can therefore be run on any locale for which GIS data is available.


CCPR LaSER Symposium Held

LaSER kick-started the dissemination of its project results at a national urban preparedness consortium session held at NYU March 3rd, 2008. The Symposium, titled "A Multidisciplinary Collaboration in Planning for Catastrophic Health Emergencies" featured keynote addresses by Joseph Bruno, Commissioner of New York City's Office of Emergency Management and Michael Balboni, Deputy Secretary for Public Safety for the State of New York. Click here for more information.


LaSER Presented at the 2007 NACCT Conference in New Orleans

Dr. Silas Smith, M.D., presented the LaSER paper A New Approach to Multi-Hazard Modeling and Simulation at the North American Congress of Clinical Toxicology in New Orleans, Louisiana, October 2007.

LaSER Presented at HoloMAS Conference

Giuseppe Narzisi presented the LaSER paper Resilience in the Face of Disaster: Accounting for Varying Disaster Magnitudes, Resource Topologies, and Sub Population Distributions in Plan C Emergency Planning Tool at the 3nd International Conference on Industrial Applications of Holonic and Multi-Agent Systems (HoloMAS) in Regensburg, Germany, September 2007.


Next Steps:

LaSER Consultancy Project

In considering the long-term development of PlanC, the LaSER team is planning to commence efforts to make Plan C available and tailored for any interested organizations, entities or agencies that would like to model specific ABM based scenarios. PlanC is incredibly flexible and as the technology upon which it is based allows for the natural inclusion of a perhaps infinite variety of new parameters and schema. PlanC can be customized to specific disaster circumstances depending on one’s needs and can use and/or apply external data on locations, demographics, emergency plans, resources etc. More to come in the coming month…