Past Seminar Series

December 2004 (#1)
Dr. Michael Allswede
University of Pittsburgh, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Title: The Pittsburgh Matrix Project
The Pittsburgh Matrix Project is a hospital planning tool to assess the survivability of patients who are victims of bioterrorism related to the scale and timing of attacks and to guide resource allocation decisions for preparedness intervention that maximized saved lives. Dr. Allswede has served as an instructor for the U.S. Department of Defense's Domestic Preparedness Program and has trained Metropolitan Medical Strike Team members in Detroit, New York, Chicago, and Boston. Dr. Allswede worked with the Michigan State Police and the U.S. Department of Justice to create a prototype state-level management system for weapons of mass destruction (the RaPiD-T Program). Dr. Allswede currently directs both the Strategic Medical Intelligence Project of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Strategic Medial Intelligence for the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Center for Bio-security.

January 2005 (#2)
Steven Huth
Deputy Director, Networked Systems Survivability Program, CERT Coordination Center
Title: Network Security Issues and Research
The US Computer Emergency Response Team is charged with protecting our nation’s Internet infrastructure by coordinating defense against and response to cyber attacks. As the Internet and networked systems become more widespread and advanced, there is a higher risk of accidents, attacks, and failures. One of the goals of our research is to try to find ways to improve technical approaches for identifying and preventing security flaws, for limiting the damage from attacks, and for ensuring that systems continue to provide essential services in spite of compromises or failures.

February 2005 (#3)
Kathleen Criss
Emergency Management Coordinator, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
Title: Terrorism and Emergency Planning
Kathleen is the Emergency Management Coordinator for UPMC and she serves as a UPMC representative on the Statewide Advisory Committee for Preparedness and the PA Region 13/Metropolitan Medical Response System. Kathy is a Certified Business Continuity Professional and is past President of the Three Rivers Contingency Planning Association. She will be highlighting UPMC's efforts in integrating terrorism preparedness and response with existing emergency management plans. Kathy will also outline how effective business continuity planning can play a vital role in organizational emergency preparedness.

March 2005 (#4)
Dr. Janne Nolan
University of Pittsburgh Professor Graduate School of Public and International Affair
Title: Terrorism and Weapons of Mass Destruction
Dr. Nolan is an internationally renowned expert on weapons of mass destruction. She has published extensively and has served on the Presidential Advisory Board on Arms and Technology Proliferation Policy, the Board of Distinguished Advisors, Sandia National Laboratories, as a Senior Fellow, the Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C., and as a National Security Advisor, U.S. Senate, Office of Senator Gary Hart (D-Colorado). Dr. Nolan will discuss issues related to the potential use of Weapons of Mass Destruction by terrorists.

April 2005 (#5)
Dr. Lisa Nelson
Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs
Title: Biometrics
Biometrics is a technology which has the potential of making our systems more secure. However its wide scale deployment may have significant effects on civil liberties. Dr. Nelson is an expert on biometrics and the legal, social and psychological aspects of their application. Among other appointments, she serves a Senior Research Analyst in the Radiant Trust Center of Excellence at WVU, a consultant to Rand Corporation, a legal expert at the InSite Institute at CMU and a Fellow of the Center for the Philosophy of Science at Pitt.

September 2005 (#6)
Mike Comiskey
Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Regional Business Coalition for Homeland Security
Title: Regional Initiatives for Homeland Security
Many of the early efforts of the US Department of Homeland Security have focused on organizing government agencies to respond to emergencies and protect our infrastructure. However, over 85% of the nation’s critical assets are in the hands of private corporations and other organizations. In response to the need to provide a unified local approach to security, businesses and other organizations have formed regional alliances. The Pittsburgh Regional Business Coalition for Homeland Security (PRBCHS) was formed to coordinate the efforts of large and small businesses, medical, educational and other organizations with local emergency management agencies. Mike will give a brief overview of existing regional initiatives. He will then review the formation, goals and rationale for the PRBCHS. (The University of Pittsburgh and UPMC are charter members of PRBCHS.) Finally, he will discuss the ongoing programs of the Coalition.

October 2005 (#7)
Dr. Michael Allswede, University of Pittsburgh, UPMC
Dr. Carey Balaban, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Otolaryngology
Ken Sochats, University of Pittsburgh, Center for National Preparedness
Title: The Center of Excellence in High Consequence Event Preparedness and Response Effort
The University of Pittsburgh led a national coalition of universities, businesses and non-governmental organizations (the Pittsburgh Partnership) that responded to the US Department of Homeland Security’s Broad Agency Announcement for a Center of Excellence in High Consequence Events. This seminar discusses novel aspects of the effort including: the formation and organization of the Partnership, the unifying conceptual framework that was developed, the unique management structure and tools that were developed. The proposal consortium represents one of the largest and diverse efforts that the university has initiated. The presenters are the principal investigators for this proposal.

November 2005 (#8)
Dr. Rusty Russel
Research Program Coordinator Office of Research and Economic Development West Virginia University
Title: Translating Homeland Security to Campus Security
West Virginia University, with funding from the Office for Domestic Preparedness (ODP), has developed a training program on campus preparedness for higher education executives. The program was developed in association with the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) and was based on topics identified by a focus group that included higher education associations and stakeholder federal agencies in homeland security. Currently, the training program is being piloted to prepare it for acceptance by ODP. University campuses have many features (concentrations of large numbers of students, presence of chemical, radiological and biological materials, critical research facilities, etc.) that raise concern for security professionals. Dr. Russell will provide an overview of the development of the program and discuss how the program can be used to help improve campus preparedness.

December 2005 (#9)
Dr. Louise Comfort
Professor of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh
Title: Fragility in Disaster Response: Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina represented a major test of the policies and practice developed to protect the nation following the 9/11 attacks in 2001. The collapse of the emergency response system at all four levels of jurisdiction – city, parish, state, and federal – revealed serious flaws in governmental capacity to act in response to threat. This article examines the initial conditions and dynamic exchange among governmental agencies that led to the catastrophe in New Orleans. It concludes with a set of recommendations for improving the capacity of governmental jurisdictions to manage risk through coordinated action and to increase community resilience to disaster.

January 2006 (#10)
Dr. Sam Stebbins
Director, University of Pittsburgh, Center for Public Health Preparedness, Graduate School of Public Health Center for Public Health Practice
Title: Perspectives on the Avian Flu Pandemic and Public Health Preparedness
Dr. Stebbins will address the latest developments in the avian influenza, and assess the potential spread and effects on human and veterinary populations. An advisor on Pennsylvania’s influenza pandemic plan, he will share what local and state public health and government officials are doing to ready the commonwealth for this potential health emergency. Dr. Stebbins will also talk about the Center for Public Health Preparedness’s collaborative efforts in providing assistance to the region. Prior to his faculty appointment to the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, Dr. Stebbins served as Deputy Health Officer for San Mateo County. He also taught courses at the Francis J. Curry National Tuberculosis Center and Stanford University. Dr. Stebbins is trained in both Family Practice and Preventive Medicine. He received his MD and MPH from Tuft’s University.

February 2006 (#11)
Matthew Tolbert
Computing Services and Systems Development, University of Pittsburgh
Title: Cybersecurity at Pitt
With its open access to the Internet, the University of Pittsburgh is potentially vulnerable to thousands of different security threats. These threats include viruses, network worms, hackers, phishing attacks, spyware, Trojans, and rootkits, all which can cause system outages, data corruption or loss, and the compromise of sensitive information, including identity theft. At our next CNP seminar, Matt Tolbert, Information Security Officer for the University of Pittsburgh, will share his insights on the security risks large research and academic institutions like the University face, and the control measures the University’s CSSD organization has implemented to address these risks. Before joining the University, Matt spent eight years in New York City as a principal consultant and security professional with PricewaterhouseCoopers, working with Fortune 500 companies and Wall Street firms to effectively manage their enterprise security risks. He has helped companies respond to significant external network attacks, develop comprehensive IT security architectures, and recover key IT processes in Manhattan in the aftermath of 9/11. Matt holds several professional security credentials, including Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), and Certified Information Security Manager (CISM). He is also a University of Pittsburgh CAS ’89 graduate.

March 2006 (#12)
Dr. Devin Murphy
Pennsylvania State University
Title: Strategies for the Automatic Detection of Anomalous Behavior
Human observers are highly skilled at detecting unusual behavior patterns and at recognizing familiar vs. unexpected individuals. The development of computerized systems for monitoring situations and recognizing unusual behaviors, attempts to evade detection, and unexpected individuals has significant potential for enhancing security. Five strategies for detecting anomalous behaviors, along with the system requirements for implementing each of them are discussed, and ongoing experiments in implementing one of these systems are described.

April 2006 (#13)
Dr. Joe Suyama
University of Pittsburgh, Department of Emergency Medicine
Title: The Evolving Discipline of Emergency Medicine
Emergency Medicine has changed dramatically since the events of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. The lessons learned from these events and the prospects of other large-scale man-made or natural disasters have changed how we think about Emergency Medical Response (EMR). Dr. Suyama will outline how EMR has changed and how it is adapting to the potential of other large-scale events such as chemical, biological, radiological and explosive terrorism as well as pandemic flu. He will review how EMR practice has changed and present concepts such as surge capacity, regional/national response, strategic stockpiles, mobilization/field hospitals, mutual aid and the military’s role in emergency response. He will discuss how EMR education has changed to better diagnose and treat victims. Finally, Dr. Suyama will review current issues in EMR research and give us his perspective on where the field is going. Dr. Suyama is Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh Department of Emergency Medicine, Director of the RaPiD-T Weapons of Mass Destruction Training Program and Co-Chair of the Disaster Committee for UPMC Presbyterian Hospital. He is operational with a variety of pre-hospital response teams, and is the Medical Director for the Allegheny County Operational Support Team HAZMAT Medical Unit. He also performs research on the health and safety of first responders as the Medical Director for the Emergency Responder Human Performance Laboratory.

September 2006 (#14)
Dr. Jeffrey Crane
Director, the John P. Murtha Institute for Homeland Security
Title: Public Health Preparedness Planning: the Over Reliance on the Volunteer Healthcare Providers’ Ability and Willingness-to-Respond to High Risk Events.
Previous research findings have demonstrated that the preparedness and infrastructure of the public health system is inadequately developed for biological and/or chemical terrorism attacks. Dr. Crane will discuss his 2005 study that was motivated by the recognized threat of biological agents, such as Smallpox, being released upon a population and the uncertainty that the planning efforts since 2001 could be operationalized during a large-scale event. This presentation will focus on Dr. Crane’s model to assess the community healthcare provider volunteers’ current preparedness levels and their willingness to respond to a bioterrorism attack (or other high risk events), and how local emergency operation plans may need to be updated.

October 06 (#15)
Major General Donna F. Barbisch, Ret.
Director, the Institute for Global and Regional Readiness
Title: The Evolving Role of the Military in Disaster Response and Preparedness
From Civil Defense to Homeland Defense, the military has always had a role in disaster planning and response. With the changing national approach to homeland security, where does the military fit? This session will challenge your understanding of military roles and responsibilities in disasters, present an overview of evolving military planning factors, and stimulate conversation regarding what to expect and how to improve overall preparedness given the military’s role in today’s environment. Dr. Barbisch served in a multitude of active and reserve military assignments from Vietnam to the Pentagon. Her final military assignment was as Director of Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Program Integration for the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

November 2006 (#16)
Dr. Keith Morris
Forensic Project Manager, WVU Forensic Science Initiative
Title: Forensics and Terrorism
This talk will focus on the integration of forensic science into post terrorism event activities. The basic premise of forensic science is to link a suspect to a crime scene or to link a crime scene to a suspect. The processing of a terrorist event for evidence can be a lengthy and intense activity and is often multifaceted. Timely apprehension of the offenders takes on prime importance in the prevention of further incidents. Topics will include: crime scene coordination, evidence control, collection and analysis, and forensic intelligence. Dr. Morris has extensive experience in forensics. Prior to coming to WVU, he was Director of the South African Police Service Forensic Science Laboratory (SAPS FSL). He is active in many organizations including the Forensic Resource Network (an NIJ initiative).

December 2006 (#17)
Dr. Howie Choset
Associate Professor of Robotics, Carnegie Mellon University
Title: Urban Search and Rescue
Urban Search and Rescue is the location, identification and recovery of victims or objects trapped in confined spaces. These confined spaces (e.g. collapsed buildings) may be created by natural or man made events. Dr. Choset will discuss some of the unique problems encountered in Urban Search and Rescue and some of the important and interesting research that he is doing it the area. Dr. Choset is an Associate Professor of Robotics at Carnegie Mellon University where he conducts research in motion planning and design of serpentine mechanisms, coverage path planning for de-mining and painting, mobile robot sensor based exploration of unknown spaces, and education with robotics. He is a member of an urban search and rescue response team using robots with the Center for Robot Assisted Search and Rescue and directs the Undergraduate Robotics Minor at Carnegie Mellon.

January 2007 (#18)
Dr. Carey Balaban
Professor, Otolaryngology University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
Title: Approaches to enhancing situational awareness. Poster
Situational awareness is defined colloquially as "knowing what is happening". Endsley (Human Factors 37 (1995) 32-64) defined situational awareness as a three stage (or level) process: (1) the perception of data about the environment in a segment of time and space, (2) comprehension of the meaning of the data relative to a scenario and prediction of the status of the data (and scenario) in the near future. However, the 'real-world' properties of emergencies / disasters illustrates that situational awareness is role-specific, context-dependent and is limited dynamically by both the evolution of the scenario and the bounded rationality of each group of participants.
The process of achieving situational awareness can be conceived as an iterative hypothesis-driven search to match one's actions to all plausible hypotheses that are consistent with the behavior of the environment (space) over a time interval. This approach leads to a dynamic operational definition of situational awareness as the set of scenarios consistent with both incoming sensor data and sequences of actions of responders to an event. This definition can be implemented in decision support software to enhance situational awareness in both civilian and military command and control environments.

February 2007 (#19)
Jan Wiebe
Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science Director, Intelligence Systems Program University of Pittsburgh
Title: "Information Extraction of Events and Beliefs from Text" Poster
A University Affiliate Research Center (UAC) has been recently established at the University of Pittsburgh by the Department of Homeland Security. The UAC will develop accurate and robust techniques for extracting, summarizing, and tracking information about events and beliefs from free text. The focus will be on three areas of research. (1) We will create easily trainable learning algorithms that can automatically create domain-specific patterns to identify facts and relations associated with relevant events, such as infectious disease outbreaks and terrorist incidents. (2) We will develop easily trainable learning algorithms that can distinguish factual assertions from subjective (non-factual) assertions, identify beliefs that are held by an entity, and assess the intensity, polarity, and motivation and attitude types of those beliefs. (3) We will create methods for tracking event and belief progressions over time. This work will support knowledge discovery of patterns of activity, cooperation, and beliefs among different entities and in different geographic regions.

April 2007 (#20)
Dennis McBride - McBride CV (pdf)
President, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies, Arlington, Virginia
Title: Are the United States Prepared? Some Scientific Reflection on the Terror Enterprise (PDF) - Poster
A straight forward analysis of the past 20 years of terrorism in the United States shows that the actual risk to an individual is surprisingly low. However, it is the hazard (and not the risk) that drives our legitimate need to prepare. The targets of terrorists are the survivors, not the victims—by definition, the purpose of acts of terrorism is to cause fear among those who worry that they may be attacked or perhaps more importantly, among their loved ones. I will address the question presented in the title of this talk. The question will not be “is the United States prepared?” The latter is a very different question—matters of sovereignty and responsibility will be discussed with Hurricane Katrina used as a model. I will examine four key aspects from as much of a scientific perspective as is supportable. These include (1) risk vs. hazard and their perception, (2) spying as an ethical duty, (3) the known economics of the terror enterprise, and (4) the mysterious status of the scientific study of terrorism.

September 2007 (#21)
Dr. Yasuo Tanaka
Deputy Director for Office for the Promotion of International Exchange, Kobe University
Title: Reconnaissance Report of 2007 Niigataken Chuetsu-Oki Earthquake Disaster Poster
This talk will present the reconnaissance report of 2007 Niigata-ken Chuetsu-Oki Earthquake, which was produced by an international team of researchers investigating the geotechnical and infrastructure damages. The talk describes the general outline of the Earthquake and also the damages around Kashiwazaki City, including damage to housing in the downtown of City, road embankments, lifeline facilities, and also industrial sites of national importance. The effects of the Earthquake to the Kariwa Nuclear Plant will also be discussed. Dr. Tanaka received his PhD in Civil and Structural Engineering, Sheffield University, UK in 1980. He has held many positions including Deputy Director of the Research Center for Urban Safety and Security (RCUSS) and Deputy Director for Office for the Promotion of International Exchange, both at Kobe University, Japan.

October 2007 (#22)
Dr. Bopaya Bidanda, Dr. Oleg Prokopyev, and Shengnan Wu
School of Industrial Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh
Title: Dynamic Simulation of Disasters in Pittsburgh Poster
For the last year an interdisciplinary team of researchers has been developing a conceptual model and tools for the study of disasters called the Pittsburgh Framework. At the core of the Framework is the Dynamic Discrete Disaster Decision Simulation System (D4S2) which was developed to provide a system to assist in training, research, planning, and real-time decision support for emergency managers in natural and man-made emergencies. The system is built on top of ESRI’s ArcGIS 9.2 platform and has simulation, decision modeling and control modules that continuously interact with ArcGIS to dynamically build a location and emergency specific simulation. D4S2 has a rule base that incorporates national standards (NIMS, NFPA, etc.), best practices and local procedures. Because of this unique architecture, D4S2 is easily portable to any region, city, campus, military base or other area that has an existing ArcGIS infrastructure. This talk will review the development of D4S2, present results of a variety of simulated disasters of different magnitudes and types in Pittsburgh and discuss the porting of the simulation system to Johnstown, PA.

November 2007 (#23)
Keith Rothfus
Attorney Yukevich, Marchetti, Liekar & Zangrilli, P.C. - The former director of DHS’ Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives
Title: The Role of Faith-Based and Community Organizations in Emergency Preparedness and Response Activities Poster
Various after-action reports of Hurricane Katrina highlighted the role played by faith-based and community organizations (FBCOs) in responding to the disaster. Such reports disclosed, among other things, that these organizations often had difficulty in interacting with various levels of government as they sought to assist people in need. To review and propose solutions that would better enable government to work with these organizations, President Bush directed the establishment of the Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives within DHS. The purpose of the Center is to coordinate agency efforts to eliminate obstacles to the participation of faith-based and other community organizations in the provision of social and community services sponsored by the agency. The Nation’s seminal preparedness and emergency response documents are not silent with respect to the engagement of FBCOs in preparedness and response activities. Mr. Rothfus will provide an overview of how these documents, including the recently released National Preparedness Guidelines, address FBCO engagement. Discussion will also review how FBCOs can access Federal funding available for preparedness, response and recovery activities and constitutional implications for faith-based organizations receiving government funding. Finally, the discussion will consider what communities across the country are doing with FBCOs in order to be better prepared for disasters.

January 2008 (#25)
Speaker: Michael E. Hoffer, MD and Ben Balough, MD
Title:Hearing and Balance Disorders and the Global War on Terrorism: What is happening – What can be done?Poster
The twenty-first century global war on terrorism and United States military operations overseas have presented unique challenges to the American people and the American military. The injury patterns more commonly seen in previous conflicts have been mitigated by body armor and affected by the urban warfare nature of the current fight. Abdominal and thoracic injuries with high mortality rates have given way to more survivable orthopedic and head injuries. The style of the enemies’ weapons, the locations of the battles, and the constant presence of home made explosive devices (IEDs) has resulted in over 15% of war fighters being exposed to enough blast to cause head injury. The injury pattern being seen in these modern military operations represents the same expected pattern from urban terrorism.
In this presentation the speakers will examine the impact of blast injury and its relationship to traumatic brain injury. Patterns of disorders will be described with special attention given to hearing and balance injuries. The speakers will describe the presentation of these disorders and the optimum work-up and current standard of care. Attention will then be turned to research on countermeasures which may prevent, treat, or reverse disorders secondary to blast injury. The discussion will conclude with a look at how to deploy countermeasures for both military and civilian situations.