Coronavirus: Expert Resources for Journalists

March 27, 2020

By Kevin Krajick

[This list was last updated 2:58 pm, March 27, 2020]

The Earth Institute is home to leaders in public health and disaster response who are doing research and advising governments on the pandemic. We are examining fallout for environment, climate, the economy, energy and health systems, philanthropy, education, and more. Below, a guide for journalists.

For the latest, check the coronavirus section of our State of the Planet, where staff are writing daily on new research and perspectives. Also see our March 26 briefing with leaders in epidemiology, public health, and disaster response. More live briefings will be held soon.

For advice or help reaching our researchers, contact our press office:
Kevin Krajick | | 917-361-7766
Kyu Lee |

For more expansive sources on public health, contact the press office at Columbia University’s Mailman School for Public Health.

For queries directly related to clinical medicine, immunology, and pharmacology, contact the press office at Columbia University Medical Center.

Broadway/104th Street, New York City, 4:50 pm, March 24, 2020


Irwin Redlener, physician and director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness, is a leading thinker on emergency planning and response. He has been highly outspoken on how to organize and protect the U.S. health system during the pandemic. | Or contact chief of staff Eric Greenberg, | Redlener speaks with NPR

Jeffrey Shaman, an epidemiologist and head of the Climate and Health Program, studies the environmental determinants of infectious disease transmission, especially respiratory illnesses. He has been explaining to wide audiences what we know about the virus. | 212-305-3590 | Virus Is Hiding in Plain Sight, Shaman tells NY Times | Article in the journal Science

Yanis Ben Amor, executive director of the Center for Sustainable Development, is a microbiologist with long experience fighting Ebola, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. Working mainly in developing countries, he will now confront coronavirus. | 212-870-2763 | Profile of Ben Amor’s work

Maria Diuk-Wasser is an epidemiologist who studies the environmental and anthropogenic factors that drive the emergence and spread of diseases, including those passed from animals to humans, such as the coronavirus. | 212-854-3355

Robbie Parks, an environmental epidemiologist and Earth Institute fellow, studies how climate, weather, pollution, and other factors affect human morbidity and mortality–a field directly relevant to the prospective impacts of the outbreak. |How Fatal Injuries in the U.S. May Go Up


Jeffrey Schlegelmilch is deputy director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness. He has broad expertise relating to disaster policy and the implementation of response and recovery, both on organizational and individual levels. |646-845-2318 | Schelgelmilch on the lockdowns

Steven Cohen, Earth Institute professor and former executive director, has long studied how communities can make themselves more resilient to disasters and longer-term challenges; he has been writing on the pandemic. | 212-854-1214 | Cohen on the pandemic

John Mutter studies the long-term economic costs of catastrophes, from Hurricane Katrina to the Deepwater Horizon, and is author of the book The Disaster Profiteers. He is now writing about the pandemic. | 845-365-0716 | Mutter on preparing for the unthinkable

Peter Coleman is co-director of the Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict and Complexity. He studies how people deal with volatile situations including warfare and disasters, and has been writing on the pandemic. | 212-678-3112 | Coleman on surviving quarantine

Scott Barrett, an Earth Institute professor, is a leading scholar on addressing transnational and global challenges, including climate change and disease eradication. He studies how customary law and treaties can be used (or not) to promote international cooperation. | 212-851-5861

Benjamin Orlove, an anthropologist at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, studies the psychology and sociology of disasters, and how individuals prepare for and react to them. | 212-854-1543

Jackie Ratner, senior project manager at the National Center for Disaster Preparedness, studies how to make communities resilient against multiple potential disasters. | 646-845-2300


Michael Gerrard, a longtime leading environmental lawyer, directs the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. He is closely tracking the environmental and political fallout of the pandemic. | 212-854-3287 | Gerrard on the pandemic and prospects for a greener economy

Michael Burger is executive director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, and is also tracking the environmental and political fallout of the pandemic. | 212-854-2372

Jacqueline Klopp co-directs the Center for Sustainable Urban Development. She works at the intersection of transport, land use and energy, and has been studying how the pandemic might affect urban areas. | 212-851-2979 | Klopp on how the pandemic might affect cities

Scientists at the Center for International Earth Science Information Network map human interactions with the earth’s surface by combining satellite imagery with other data. Among other things, they can potentially map how the coronavirus is restricting human movement and other activities. Researchers include director Robert Chen, geographer Alexander de Sherbinin and political scientist Marc Levy. (Contacts in hyperlinks) | Chen discusses coronavirus at the UN

Amy Turner is a senior fellow at the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law specializing in urban environments, and is looking into how urban areas can deal with the pandemic. | 212-854-3268

Shahid Naeem leads the Earth Institute Center for Environmental Sustainability. An ecologist who studies global biodiversity, he will potentially examine how the pandemic could affect natural ecosystems, and our relationship with them. | 212-854-4499

Diverse scientists at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory are studying the effects of the economic shutdown on the environment. These include Róisín Commane, Dan Westervelt, Wade McGillis, who are tracking dramatic declines in air pollution. (Contacts are in the hyperlinks) | How the Shutdown Is Clearing the Air

Andrew Juhl is an aquatic ecologist and oceanographer at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory with broad interests in practical issues applying to coastal marine systems, estuaries, rivers and lakes. He can potentially comment on the pandemic’s effects on water. | 845-365-8837 | Antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the Hudson River

David Maurrasse is a research scholar at the Earth Institute who studies philanthropy, NGOs and sustainability. He is looking into how the private sector may aid in recovery. | 917-432-7449 | Role of philanthropy in the pandemic

Geoffrey Heal is an Earth Institute professor who studies environmental economics. He can comment on the potential effects of the outbreak on exploitation of natural resources and the wider environment. | 212-854-6459

Jeffrey Sachs is a world-renown economist, director of the Center for Sustainable Development, and former director of the Earth Institute. He is addressing wide-ranging questions about the economics and politics of the crisis. | 212-870-2762 | Why the U.S. Has the Most Confirmed Cases | Our Best Hope for Fighting Coronavirus


Scientists at the Center for Climate Systems Research have long studied the effects that national or regional climate shocks may have on global food security. Director Michael Puma is now doing analyses of Covid-19 food security. Further sources include senior scientist Cynthia Rosenzweig and postdoc Alison Heslin. (Contacts in hyperlinks) | Unforeseen Dangers to the Global Food System | How One Farm Shock Could Trigger Worldwide Shortages

Wolfram Schlenker, an environmental economist and Earth Institute professor, studies how weather, climate, pollution and other factors can impact agricultural yields and human morbidity.

Staff at the Center for Global Energy Policy (CGEP) study all aspects of energy, from electric grids and fossil fuel markets to renewable energy sources. They are intensively monitoring the fallout of the coronavirus across the world. Click here for CGEP press officers and a list of experts in all regions and sectors.

Media Inquiries: 
Kevin Krajick
(212) 854-9729