Irwin Redlener, MD
Director, National Center for Disaster Preparedness
Director, Program on Child Well-Being and Resilience
The Earth Institute, Columbia University
Professor of Health Policy & Management
Professor of Pediatrics
Columbia University Medical Center
Dr. Irwin Redlener is president and co-founder, with singer/songwriter Paul Simon, of the Children’s Health Fund, a unique nonprofit organization dedicated to providing health care to disadvantaged children and families in the United States. Under his leadership, Children’s Health Fund has grown to become a national network of more than 50 mobile and fixed site pediatric clinics providing more than 250,000 health care encounters each year in 25 of the nation’s most medically underserved urban and rural communities.
Dr. Redlener has initiated a new special initiative on “Healthy and Ready to Learn” which endeavors to ensure that no child suffers from health-related concerns that can interfere with early development or success in school.
Dr. Redlener directs the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at the Columbia University’s Earth Institute. Also, at the Earth Institute, he founded and directs the Program on Child Well-Being and Resilience.
In his role as pediatrician-child advocate and president of Children’s Health Fund, Dr. Redlener has published, spoken and testified extensively on the subjects of health care for medically underserved and indigent children and national health policy. Dr. Redlener also speaks and writes about a broad range of issues, including national disaster preparedness policies, the special vulnerability of children, the threat of terrorism in the U.S., and the impact and consequences of major natural disasters. He is the author of Americans At Risk: Why We Are Not Prepared For Megadisasters and What We Can Do Now, published in August 2006 by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. He is currently working on a book about the challenges of assuring that every child reaches his or her full potential and the implications of child-friendly policies on the long-term success of societies.
Dr. Redlener has assisted relief efforts- and provided critical evidence-based policy recommendations - around many of the most important U.S. disasters over the past two decades. He has been an advisor both on disaster policy, as well as health-related policy, to local, state and federal officials and agencies.
From 1971-73 he directed a rural, VISTA-run health center in East Arkansas. Dr. Redlener also served as director of grants and medical director of USA for Africa and Hands Across America. In 1993, Dr. Redlener served as a member of the White House Task Force on Health Reform under President Clinton. From 1997 through 2003, Dr. Redlener also had a lead role in the development of the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, where he served as president and chief spokesperson. This hospital remains one of the most advanced and innovative facilities of its kind in the world.
Dr. Redlener received his M.D. degree from the University of Miami School of Medicine, and pediatric training at Babies Hospital of the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City, the University of Colorado Medical Center and the University of Miami-Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. He holds honorary doctoral degrees from Hunter College of the City University of New York and Hofstra University, among numerous other awards and honors.