If you are unable to read this edition, please view it on our website
:: NYDIS and DOHMH to Release Pandemic Flu Manual for NYC Religious Leaders

NYDIS is pleased to welcome Andrea Ralya as the volunteer Project Coordinator of its upcoming Pandemic Influenza Manual for NYC Religious Leaders. NYDIS is collaborating with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Office of Mental Health Disaster Preparedness to develop and distribute this manual, which will be ready in late spring of this year. Ms. Ralya comes to NYDIS with over 20 years of experience working with State and local disaster mental health and public health programs in assessment, planning, implementation, and training. After 9/11, she served as a crisis counselor for New York City Project NYCope, a Project Liberty-funded counseling program. Most recently, she worked for the State of Vermont, Department of Health in public health preparedness. She also has a background in policy and procedure writing.

For more information about the manual, contact:
Ruth Wenger, Interim Coordinator of Community Outreach and Training
:: NYDIS Offers Rental of Short-Term Office Space

NYDIS has office space available for immediate short-term leasing to non-profit and/or faith-based agencies with a similar mission to NYDIS. Located on the 20th Floor of 22 Cortlandt Street in Lower Manhattan, these spaces are furnished and equipped with computers, internet connection and telephone.

For more information about renting these spaces, contact Peter Gudaitis:
:: NYC 9/11 Unmet Needs Roundtable Updates
  • NYC 9/11 In-Service Training for Case Workers
    In-Service Training is required for case workers who have never presented a case at the Roundtable, and is recommended as a refresher for experienced case workers who have previously presented cases. All training sessions take place at NYDIS (map).
  • NYC 9/11 Unmet Needs Roundtable Schedule
    The NYC 9/11 Unmet Needs Roundtable brings together donors with agencies providing case management to 9/11 victims. Case Workers who would like to present a case must sign-up by Friday prior to the meeting of the Roundtable. Due to the influx of cases which need presenting, the 9/11 Unmet Needs Roundtable will be adding an additional Wednesday date each month. There will now be three meetings a month, instead of two.
    • Thursday, February 28 - 9:30 am-12:00 pm (Open)
    • Thursday, March 13 - 9:30 am-12:00 pm (Open)

    Contact Lida Mora, Moderator, NYC 9/11 Unmet Needs Roundtable
  • NYC 9/11 Case Management Coordination Meetings
    NYDIS hosts monthly Case Management Coordination meetings for service providers that are assisting 9/11 recovery workers and the general 9/11-affected community. These meetings are open to representatives from any service providers that wish to coordinate and share information about their services and the community's needs.
    • Thursday, February 21 - 9:00-11:00 am

    To RSVP, contact Lida Mora:
:: NYC 9/11 Recovery Resources

A comprehensive list of news, updates and resources for 9/11 victims and injured recovery workers, updated weekly:
:: Recovery Resources for Other NYC Area Disasters
:: Maloney and Nadler Speak Out about 9/11 Health before New York City Council

On February 6, U.S. Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jerrold Nadler testified at the New York City Council hearing about a resolution that would urge the House of Representatives to pass the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2007, written by Reps. Maloney, Nadler, and Vito Fossella. The proposed act would make sure that all people exposed to the toxins at Ground Zero—from recovery workers, to residents, to schoolchildren—have access to health monitoring and treatment. It also would ensure that this population receives compensation for their 9/11-related economic losses. In his remarks, Nadler expressed, “The Federal government must assume the responsibility of proper screening, monitoring and medical treatment for all those sickened by WTC toxins by increasing Federal funding to key programs and providing a comprehensive solution to address healthcare and compensation.” 

Read the Press Release from Congressman Nadler’s Office: click here
:: Children with Previous Trauma Affected More Strongly by 9/11

Researchers from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services in New York have published a new study about the effect that witnessing 9/11 has had on pre-school children. The study suggests that children who saw the 9/11 attacks or its victims are at a high risk of developing psychological problems, but only if those children had been exposed to other traumatic experiences prior to 9/11. More than 40 percent of children who meet these criteria exhibit signs of depression, sleep problems, or emotional disturbances, while children who did not face previous trauma generally do not demonstrate such outcomes.

Read the February 5 NY Times article: click here
:: Port Authority Finishes Excavating WTC Site

On February 17, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey finished excavating the World Trade Center site where two new office buildings will be built. Forty-eight days later than scheduled, they turned the land over to Larry Silverstein, the developer who will oversee the construction of these two skyscrapers, which he says will begin in the coming weeks. Port Authority paid Mr. Silverstein 14.4 million in late fees after working past the agreed-upon deadline. In the time it took to complete the task, the agency removed 400,000 tons of concrete and rock to create 80-foot-deep foundations for the towers that will be built.

Read the February 19 AP article in the NY Sun:
:: New Outreach Materials from the WTC Environmental Health Center

The WTC Environmental Health Center and developed new outreach materials to make the community aware of their free treatment program for people affected by 9/11. These materials include a brochure and a seven minute video available in four languages (English, Chinese, Spanish, and Polish). The brochure, which answers basic questions about 9/11 health issues and what to expect during an appointment at a WTC Environmental Health Center, will be distributed by more than 50 community organizations. The video outlines the health effects of 9/11 and includes interviews from patients and information about treatment.

Read the brochure and watch the video at the NYC Department of Health’s 9/11 Health site:

From Our Members & Partners

  • National Disaster Interfaiths Network (NDIN) Launches Membership Drive

    NYDISnetThe National Disaster Interfaiths Network (NDIN) is pleased to announce that it has been incorporated with the State of New York and now enjoys 501(c)(3) status. NDIN was founded in 2006 by a group of Executive Directors from local, regional, and state disaster interfaith organizations. The network was launched at the 2007 National VOAD Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico last summer. Its mission is to reduce disaster-caused human suffering through the exchange of information and cooperative support across the nation. On February 1st, NDIN released its corporate documents as well as its Program Profile and 2008 Membership Application. Its website, www.n-din.org, will be available in March. All local, regional, and state disaster interfaiths are invited to join.

    To become a member of NDIN, submit the Membership Application: click here

    To view the NDIN Program Overview: click here

    For more information, contact:
    Emily Stoneham, VISTA Member, NDIN
  • The Episcopal Church Runs Ministry for Returning Soldiers and Their Families

    The Rt. Rev. George E. Packard, Bishop Suffragan for Chaplaincies of the Episcopal Church, has created a program to reach out to individuals and families with relatives serving overseas in the military. Called the HoST (Home Support Team) Program, this initiative also provides support for returning soldiers who may be suffering from some form of post-traumatic stress. Bishop Packard encourages congregations to start HoST programs in their communities to support soldiers and their families, regardless of religious background.

    For ideas on starting a HoST ministry:


  • Faith Leaders Take an Active Role in Global Warming Prevention

    The National Council for Science and the Environment hosted a three-day conference in January that brought together scientists, policy makers, politicians, and activists to discuss plans for reducing the carbon emissions that contribute to global warming. Many faith communities have taken an active role in this work, as they are especially aware of the correlation between global warming and the natural disasters to which they frequently and energetically respond. Faith-based organizations that attended the conference included the Catholic Coalition on Climate Change, the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, the National Association of Evangelicals, the National Council of Churches, and the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the U.S.

    Read the January 16 Disaster News Network article:
  • UNITED SIKHS Advocates for Fair Identification Procedures

    UNITED SIKHS is working to ensure that no citizen faces religious discrimination when he or she applies for a driver’s license or other form of identification. Many states are changing their identification procedures to comply with the government’s new Real ID regulations, which were created to strengthen US security in a post-9/11 world. In the process, some misunderstanding about standards for biometric identification has arisen. In Washington, a Sikh man was not able to obtain a valid driver’s license because he declined to lift his turban to show his ears and hairline in the photograph. Turbans are part of Sikh men’s everyday appearance, however, and they do not obstruct facial features or interfere with identification. In response to incidences such as this one, UNITED SIKHS is actively working to inform Sikhs about their rights and speak out against discriminatory procedures.

    Read the February 8 Press Release:

    Report experiences about applying for identification documents:
  • NYCOSH Continues to Fight against Bill to Regulate Environmental Detectors

    The New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) continues to advocate against Intro 650, a proposed bill that would require all environmental detectors to have a permit from the New York Police Department (NYPD). This bill was initiated by the Department of Homeland Security through the Bloomberg Administration with the stated purpose of preventing public anxiety and false alarms. At a January 8 hearing before the New York City Council, NYCOSH, along with the New York City Central Labor Council (NYCCLC), spoke out against the bill, which they assert will compromise individuals’ and companies’ abilities to protect themselves and their employees. Since the hearing, City Council has received public opposition to the bill from organizations such as the New York State Public Employees Federation and the Mount Sinai-Irving J. Selikoff Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine. The proposed legislation has been revised twice since the hearing as a result, but opponents still have major problems with it.

    For more information, including letters of opposition, visit NYCOSH’s webpage:

Preparedness Initiatives

  • Institute of Medicine Names Research Priorities for Emergency Preparedness

    The Centers of Disease Control (CDC) requested that the Institute of Medicine (IOM) suggest research priorities for emergency preparedness and response, as the 2006 Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act requires. IOM’s recommendations will help define a research agenda and will affect the distribution of funding to public health research institutions. IOM’s priorities include optimizing the effectiveness of training, improving communications during emergencies, developing sustainable systems of preparedness and response, and creating ways to measure the efficiency of these systems.

    Read more and access IOM’s report:
  • NYDIS Preparedness Resources

    • NYDIS's Disaster Human Services Resource Library

      Located in NYDIS’s Lower Manhattan offices, our resource library houses our expanding collection of disaster human services and related faith-based books, reference materials, reports, and multi-media resources. The library covers a range of genres from research reports to guidebooks to personal reflections of first responders and victim impact statements. It is divided into two main sections: one with material that relates to 9/11 or other recent disaster recovery efforts, and one that focuses on a broad range of disaster preparedness topics for faith communities. A valuable hub of information relevant to disaster recovery and preparedness, the collection is available to anyone on request. Come share our resources and contribute your own.

      Contact Alison VanBuskirk, VISTA Member, Communications:

  • Cold Weather Preparedness

    • Centers for Disease Control: Cool Tip of the Week
      “Eating well-balanced meals will help you stay warmer. Do not drink alcoholic or caffeinated beverages—they cause your body to lose heat more rapidly. Instead, drink warm, sweet beverages or broth to help maintain your body temperature.”

      For more winter weather tips from CDC:
  • Pandemic Flu Preparedness

    • Pandemic Flu Guide: Ministry & Hope During The Pandemic Influenza
      Developed for a May 2007 conference in Virginia for religious leaders held by the Fairfax County Health Department, Ministry & Hope During The Pandemic Influenza offers a pandemic flu overview and helpful guidance for faith communities as they create preparedness plans. The guide takes the emotional and spiritual aspects of pandemic preparedness into account to frame the readiness strategies it suggests.

      Read the guide: click here

We Recommend

  • Book Review: Disaster Spiritual Care: Practical Clergy Responses to Community, Regional and National Tragedy

    Edited by the Rev. Willard W. C. Ashley Sr., DMin, DH and Rabbi Stephen B. Roberts, BCJC, Disaster Spiritual Care: Practical Clergy Responses to Community, Regional and National Tragedy was written for religious leaders from all faiths who are involved with disaster preparedness, response, and recovery. Contributors from a wide range of faith traditions offer their perspectives and insight about their experiences working with disasters. They address topics that are relevant to congregations and faith-based organizations, including understanding the impact of disasters on communities, being aware of coping mechanisms, and recognizing compassion fatigue in caregivers. By integrating information about the physical aspects of disaster response with the spiritual and psychological aspects of people’s reactions, this book is a valuable and comprehensive resource for faith communities. It is published by SkyLight Paths Publishing and will be available in March at www.skylightpaths.com.

    View an informational flyer: click here

    Pre-order the book: click here
  • Book Review: Philip Shenon’s The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation

    In this January 2008 book, The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation, Philip Shenon presents a thorough account of his findings about the 9/11 Commission’s work and the circumstances and politics surrounding it. As the Washington-based NY Times reporter who covered the Commission’s investigation of the terrorist attacks, Shenon discusses ways that the Commission may have been compromised because of the close connections between its Executive Director, Philip Zelikow, and the Bush administration. He also considers other ways the government potentially manipulated the Commission and its findings through choices of staff and decisions about the organizations it investigated.

    Read reviews and order the book at Amazon: click here
  • PreventionWeb: Building the Resilience of Nations and Communities to Disaster

    With a focus on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), this website features comprehensive resources about disaster preparedness and management around the world. It is organized into sections based on particular regions of the world, ongoing themes and issues in disaster preparedness, and specific types of disasters. It also offers resources for disaster professionals about events and trainings, job openings, and opportunities for networking. The website is being developed by the secretariat of the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction.

    Visit PreventionWeb:

Save The Date

  • Empire State Day of Action

    Monday, February 25
    The Egg (Kitty Carlisle Hart Theatre), Albany, NY

    Join the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) on their Annual March on the New York State Capitol. The day begins with a continental breakfast, followed by speeches from government officials and community leaders. Then the group will march to the Capitol to urge the New York State Government to act on issues relating to immigrants’ access to health care, education, and affordable housing.

    To sign up, fill out and fax this form: click here

    To learn more, read the informational flyer: click here

    Visit NYIC’s website:
  • Urban Hazards Forum IV:
    Campus and School Security and Emergency Preparedness Conference

    February 25 and 26
    St. John’s University, Queens Campus, Taffner Field House
    8000 Utopia Parkway, Queens, NY 11439
    Cost: Free

    With just under 600,000 students attending 105 colleges and universities in New York City, campus safety is an important issue for individual schools as well as for our security as a nation. To address this issue, FEMA Region II is holding a conference to educate university personnel and emergency responders about campus security and emergency preparedness. Representations from all levels of the government will be present.

    Register here:
  • Homeland Security Grant Application Training

    Wednesday, February 27
    11 am – 1 pm

    Learn about the grant application and process from representatives of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the New York State Office of Homeland Security.

    R.S.V.P. Required:
    Call 212.983.4800 x152
    Email info@jcrcny.org
    Subject line: Reservation for 2-27 Homeland Security Grant Workshop
    Include name, organization, phone number, and email address
  • Emergency Preparedness Forums for Local Faith Leaders

    • Staten Island:
      Tuesday, March 4
      8:30 am- 4 pm

    • The Bronx:
      Monday, March 10
      8:30 am- 4 pm

    • Manhattan:
      Thursday, March 13
      8:30 am- 4 pm

    • Queens:
      Monday, April 7
      8:30 am- 4 pm

    Free Registration
    Breakfast and Lunch Included

    Sponsored by the NYC Citizen Corps Council, these forums help prepare local faith leaders to be resilient in case of emergencies. Each one includes information and programs available to participating faith leaders to better serve their congregations before, during, and after disasters. NYDIS is supporting this initiative by providing outreach, faculty, and innovative resources for the event.

    Register for any of these events:

  • Institute for Disaster Mental Health Conference

    Friday, April 11
    SUNY at New Paltz, NY

    The Institute for Disaster Mental Health’s 5th annual conference, “Healing the Scars of War,” is for spiritual leaders and mental health professionals who provide services to veterans. Morning keynote speakers will highlight several approaches to assessment and treatment of service personnel and their families. Afternoon workshops will provide mental health practitioners and spiritual care providers with in-depth information, guidance, and training.

    For more information:

    Online pre-registration begins January 15:
  • Annual National VOAD Conference

    May 5 – 8
    Little Rock, AR

    The 16th Annual VOAD Conference, “Pathways to Partnership," will hold pre-conference meetings Monday and Tuesday, and Kick-Off events start Tuesday night. Responding to attendee feedback, there will be more opportunity to network with “Talkshops,” facilitated discussions around topics of interest. It will take place at the Peabody Little Rock at 3 Statehouse Plaza.

    For more information:

Job & Volunteer Opportunities

  • NYDIS, Office Volunteers

    NYDIS is seeking office volunteers to support the finance and disaster preparedness/training departments, and to answer phones and perform administrative duties for 20 hours per week. Positions begin immediately.

    To apply, please email your Cover Letter and Resume to:
    pgudaitis@nydis.org or fax to 212.669.6101.

    • International Civil & Human Rights (ICHRA) Advocate
      UNITED SIKHS is looking for an attorney admitted to the New York Bar with experience in civil and human rights law to fill the International Civil & Human Rights (ICHRA) Advocate position. The position involves developing a program for promoting and protecting the rights of minority communities through measures including advocacy, education, and investigation.

      See the complete job description:

    • UNITED SIKHS Operations Manager (North America)
      The position of Operations Manager involves providing operational support for human rights, multifaith, and education projects; overseeing publicity initiatives, editorial management, and personnel management; and interacting with international organizations including the UN.

      See the complete job description:

    • Internships for 2008
      The United Sikhs is seeking candidates for a wide range of internship opportunities for 2008. These positions are ideal for law students, other undergraduate and graduate students, and anyone who wants experience in an international non-profit humanitarian organization.

      For detailed descriptions of these positions:

Make a Gift to NYDIS
  • Support NYDIS - Donate Online

    NYDISnetIf you'd like to make a donation to assist NYDIS in its mission of providing faith-based disaster services, click here, or send a check to NYDIS at 22 Cortlandt Street, 20th Fl., New York, NY 10007. NYDIS is a 501(c)(3) corporation and contributions are 100% tax deductible. It is a great way to honor or memorialize someone and we will send an acknowledgement of your gift.

    To donate online, go to the NYDIS homepage and click "Make a Donation":


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