Irwin Redlener, M.D., is founding director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, director of the Center’s Pandemic Resource and Response Initiative and co-founder - with singer Paul Simon- of The Children’s Health Fund.
The author of two books, Americans at Risk: Why We’re Not Prepared for Megadisasters and What We Can Do Now and Nautilus Book Prize winner, The Future of Us: What the Dreams of Children Mean for 21st America, Dr. Redlener is frequently called upon as an expert and inspirational speaker.He has authored more than 50 opinion pieces in recent years in publications including the Washington Post, the Daily Beast, The Hill and others.
Since 2020, Dr. Redlener has been serving as an on-air public health analyst for NBC & MSNBC.
He currently serves as a special advisor on emergency preparedness to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and regularly communicates with leadership in U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, as well as Homeland Security. He was an advisor to then Vice President Joe Biden, and, in 2015, served as an advisor to the federal czar on the Ebola outbreak. In 2019 Dr. Redlener worked with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in repeated efforts to stop inhumane treatment of immigrant families and children on the SW U.S. border.
Over his career, Dr. Redlener has created or expanded programs to treat victims of child abuse and neglect and was the principal designer and lead in the development of the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore (CHAM), the first institution of its kind in the Bronx, one the most indigent urban zip code in the U.S. Early in his career, Dr. Redlener’s positions included medical director of a community health center in an impoverished rural county in Arkansas and directing a new pediatric intensive care unit at the University of Miami/ Jackson Memorial Hospital.
Dr, Redlener was medical director of USA for Africa and responsible for distributing some $60 million dollars in African famine relief raised by the international best-selling record, We Are the World.
Throughout his career, Dr. Redlener has worked with celebrities from Joan Baez and Lionel Richie to Paul Simon and many others who have joined and supported his various causes and projects.
As an advocate on issues pertaining to the health and well-being of children living with multiple adversities from extreme poverty to domestic violence and homelessness, Dr. Redlener has long-standing relationships with Members of Congress and, from time to time, high ranking Administration officials, including the Biden Administration. He has advised every Democratic presidential campaign since 1988.
Dr. Redlener completed his undergraduate degree at Hofstra University and received his M.D. at the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami. Specialty training was received at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, the University of Colorado Medical Center and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He holds honorary degrees from Hofstra University and Hunter College of the City University of New York.