York announces new program in Emergency Management

As more than 1,500 experts from more than 50 countries gather in Toronto this week for the 15th annual World Conference on Disaster Management, York University announced the creation of a Professional Certificate Program in Emergency Management. The new program will be offered by the School of Administrative Studies in York’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies.

The program is a response to a pressing need for trained professionals in the growing field of emergency management in the public sector at local, regional, provincial and federal levels, as well as in business and industry, both domestically and internationally.

David Etkin“Emergency management is an exciting, rapidly expanding and evolving profession,” says Professor David Etkin (left), program coordinator. “Emergency managers require strong analytic and communication skills to help them establish meaningful dialogue with community representatives and experts in a wide range of fields.”

The program, established in consultation with the Education Committee of the Ontario Association of Emergency Managers (OAEM), provides students with an essential overview of the fundamentals in emergency management and a grounding in the basic science of disasters. The core of the program focuses in detail on the essential elements of the emergency management cycle including mitigation, prevention, preparedness, response and recovery. This kind of in-depth knowledge of natural, human and technological risks faced by communities is crucial to the emergency manager’s ability to lead effectively, and to read, interpret, prepare and implement emergency management plans and policies. In addition, the program offers specific emphasis on communications, project management, health and the environment.

“Increasingly, emergency managers are called upon to understand shifting social, economic, environmental and infrastructure systems,” said Rhonda Lenton, dean of the Atkinson Faculty. “They need to be able to analyze complex information and make sound decisions in difficult circumstances. This program has been carefully designed to address the research, theory and practical requirements needed for a career in the emergency management field.”

Right: The great blackout of 2003 darkened the northeastern portion of the US and Canada and resulted in billions in lost revenue.

“The launch of Ontario’s first university program in emergency management is a significant milestone for Ontario’s emergency management professionals,” says Julian Fantino, Ontario Commissioner of Emergency Management. “Programs such as this and others in development in cooperation with Emergency Management Ontario will contribute directly to further enhancing the safety of all Ontario citizens.”

The development of a Canadian professional emergency management certificate is a win for everyone, according to Alain Normand, president of OAEM. “Ontario’s emergency managers will now be able to benefit from a standard of world-class professional training, previously only available out of province or online,” he says. “York is to be commended for taking a lead role in recognizing the importance of establishing a professional certificate in this essential field.”

Scheduled for implementation in the fall of 2005, the Emergency Management Professional Certificate Program was devised with the assistance of York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering, Faculty of Environmental Studies and Atkinson’s School of Social Science and will require the completion of 45 specific course credits over two to four years.

For more information on the program visit the Emergency Management Professional Certificate Program Web site or e-mail eminfo@yorku.ca.