The Rad Resilient City Initiative
A Preparedness Checklist to Save Lives After a Nuclear Detonation

Monica Schoch-Spana, Ph.D.

Senior Associate, Center for Biosecurity
Assistant Professor, School of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC)

November 30, 2011

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Audio Podcast (MP3)
Transcript (HTML)
Transcript (MS Word)


Related Websites:
Rad Resilient City Checklist
Rad Resilient City Website
September 27, 2011 UPMC Press Release
UPMC Center for Biosecurity
CRCPD Plan for Incorporating Local Volunteer Radiation Professionals
Nuclear Detonation Preparedness: Communicating in the Immediate Aftermath

21 Ratings Submitted
6 (29%) Academia 1 (4%)
10 (48%) Business 3 (14%)
4 (19%) Government 9 (43%)
1 (4%) Volunteers 3 (14%)
0 (0%) Other 5 (24%)

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"I believe this is a timely and concrete effort that directly relates to my work as Vulnerable Populations Coordinator for the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and our overall efforts to build community resilience in New York City. Efforts to develop concrete and approved public messaging from Federal sources, would help us take next steps, (such as messaging on health and smoking developed at Federal levels and then was effectively implemented within NYC). Thank you for your work."
Maggie Jarry
NYC Dept of Health and Mental Hygiene

"This is a good beginning to addressing a politically sensitive issue. No one wants to acknowledge the catastrophic consequeces of an IND detonation or admit that it can happen in their jurisdiction. Recently, the State of Arizona, inconjunction with FEMA Region IX, the National Guard, DOD, DOE, EPA, FBI, FRMAC and a host of other acronyms, took the bull by the horns and conducted a multi-day exercise involving the detonation of a 10-KT device in downtown Phoenix. The exercise involved more than 9000 individuals and it opened a lot of eyes. A draft joint Arizona/FEMA Region IX Improvised Nuclear Device Operations Plan was beta tested during this exercise. That plan is currently undergoing further review and revision based on the fact that how participants thought they would respond to an incident of this magnitude remains predicated on certain planning and response assumptions that are grossly invalid for this type of incident. We need to continue to vigorously address this issue and the Rad Resilient City program is one way to keep this discussion going. Thank you."
William Wolfe
Arizona Division of Emergency Management

"I would like to get a copy of the transcript and slide material to share with others. I also facilitate a bimonthly DOD CBRN webcast, and would like to discuss the possibility of you sharing this information with the group. Thank you."
Rick Powell

"Nice presentation. Very informative. Looking forward to viewing the checklist. Thanks!"

"I am the public health representative for the DHS Wide Area Recovery and Resiliency Program ( Your program was especially helpful for the rad portion of what we are trying to do. I have shared this with my public health and medical services working group members."
Dr. Marie Socha

"This was my first time attending one of your webinars. I felt the information provided today was very informative and plan to use it in developing our local Rad Plan. Thanks."
Marilyn Connolly
Johnson County Emergency Management

"Not sure local buy in about the Rad Resilient City Initiative will occur. Need more support from FEMA to verify the data to local officials."

"Well organized and articulated. A difficult subject to present."

"Would love a copy of the powerpoint and other handouts."

"Thank you very much for doing this."

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Dr. Schoch-Spana, a medical anthropologist, is a Senior Associate with the Center for Biosecurity of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and an Assistant Professor in the School of Medicine Division of Infectious Diseases. She also serves on the faculty and steering committee for the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), a university-based center of excellence supported by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Since 1998, Schoch-Spana has briefed numerous federal, state, and local officials, as well as medical, public health, and public safety professionals on critical issues in biosecurity and public health emergency preparedness. In particular, she has led research, education and advocacy efforts to encourage greater consideration by authorities of the public’s key contributions to the management of epidemics, bioattacks, and other health disasters. National advisory roles include serving on the Steering Committee of the Disaster Roundtable of the National Research Council (NRC), the Institute of Medicine Standing Committee on Medical Readiness, and the NRC Committee on Increasing National Resilience to Hazards and Disasters.

Schoch-Spana currently directs the Rad Resilient City Initiative (, a community preparedness and education effort to save tens of thousands of lives following a nuclear terrorist attack, by enabling citizens to reduce their exposure to radioactive fallout. In 2009, she organized the national conference Resilient American Communities: Progress in Policy and Practice, and chaired the Resilience Research Work Group. In 2006, she oversaw the Working Group on Citizen Engagement in Health Emergency Planning, and was the principal organizer for the U.S.-Canada summit on Disease, Disaster & Democracy – The Public’s Stake in Health Emergency Planning.

In 2003, Dr. Schoch-Spana helped establish the Center for Biosecurity of UPMC; prior to that she worked at the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies starting in 1998. She received her PhD in cultural anthropology from Johns Hopkins University (1998) and BA from Bryn Mawr College (1986).