Press Releases

2004 Releases

Harvard-Based National Preparedness Leadership Initiative Awarded $750,000 Grant from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

For immediate release:  September 29, 2004

Boston, MA— The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has awarded a $752,000 grant to Harvard’s School of Public Health and Kennedy School of Government to develop and establish the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative (NPLI). The NPLI will be co-directed by David Gergen of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and Leonard Marcus from the Harvard School of Public Health. Inaugural training programs for federal, state and local government officials are scheduled for October 24-29, 2004 at Harvard.

To ensure that public officials are prepared to meet the challenge of mass casualty terrorist attacks, this university-wide training and research initiative is geared toward senior government officials with responsibilities for terrorism preparedness and the public’s health and safety. The Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security are also participating in sponsoring the NPLI.

The goal of the NPLI is to produce a corps of able and responsive leaders, equipped to provide leadership on critical decisions and actions regarding terrorism preparedness and response. In part, this effort will seek to expand “connectivity” across governmental agencies on critical national preparedness matters. The connectivity concept strives to build a seamless web of people, organizations, resources and information that can best catch, contain and control a terrorist attack as well as other emergencies facing the country.

NPLI Co-Director David Gergen said, “This Initiative will provide state of the art training, information, and resources to those government leaders we count on to keep us safe from

terrorist attack. We seek to train public leaders at the Kennedy School, and as this program illustrates, that mission is now more critical than ever.” Gergen is also Director of the Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership and a former advisor to four U.S. Presidents.

Leonard Marcus, NPLI Co-Director from Harvard School of Public Health said, “Although it has been three years since 9/11, the problems and concerns regarding terrorism still confront the country. For those in government leadership positions responsible for securing and preparing the country, the challenge is two-fold. First, how to encourage an appropriate level of vigilance and preparedness given the vague nature of the terrorist threats, and second, how to manage a crisis when it occurs. These are among the new and critical leadership issues that will be addressed in the NPLI curriculum.” Marcus is also founding director of the Program for Health Care Negotiation and Conflict Resolution at HSPH and co-investigator at the Harvard Center for Public Health Preparedness.

For more information visit:

For more information contact:
Robin Herman
Assistant Director, Office of Communications
Harvard School of Public Health
677 Huntington Ave.,
Boston, MA 02115

Kennedy School of Government
Doug Gavel
Communications Officer
Office of Communications and Public Affairs
79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government is dedicated to serving the public interest by preparing leaders for service in government and other institutions in democratic societies, and by contributing to the solution of important public problems through research, teaching, and executive training. For more information on the School visit the website: