Donell Harvin

Dr. Donell Harvin is a homeland security and public health emergency subject-matter expert, and serves as faculty in Georgetown University’s Emergency and Disaster Management Masters Program and the Applied Intelligence Masters Program.

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Donell Harvin currently serves as the Chief of Homeland Security and Intelligence for the District of Columbia, Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (DC HSEMA), where his primary focus is to integrate emergency preparedness, and intelligence information collection, analysis, and dissemination throughout the National Capital Region (NCR).


As Chief of HSEMA's Homeland Security Division, he serves as the Executive Director of the National Capital Region Threat Intelligence Consortium (NTIC), the District’s Fusion Center. In this role he assures that his team provides tactical and strategic intelligence (collection, analysis and dissemination) to support local and federal law enforcement agencies, first responders, homeland security, emergency management, public health and the private sector stakeholders. Additionally, he chairs the District's School Safety Alliance, a consortium of safety professionals charged with the protection of students in public, charter, private and parochial schools. The Homeland Security Division also hosts the District's Interfaith Preparedness Group (IPAG), a multi-faith work group working towards the safety and security of houses of worship across the District.


Dr. Harvin was formerly the Administrator for Emergency Management and Health and Safety for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in the District of Columbia. In addition to overseeing routine occupational health and safety and forensic field operations for the office, he functions as the agency’s lead on disaster and emergency management-related planning and response. In this capacity he is the District of Columbia’s lead on mass fatality management planning and response. He is a subject-matter expert in response to large-scale disasters, continuity of operations and performing special and complex forensic death investigations.


As the former Chair of the Metropolitan Washington Council on Government’s (MWCOG) Fatality Management Workgroup, he led the regional effort for preparing for mass fatality incidents in the National Capital Region (NCR).


Prior to coming to DC, Dr. Harvin served for four years as the Deputy Director for the New York City (NYC) Medical Examiner’s Special Operations and Special Investigations Division, where he was tasked with overseeing disaster response, and special forensic operations. This includes overseeing multiple mass fatality incident responses, as well a several large-scale World Trade Center 9/11-related sifting operations for human remains.


Previous to this post, he was the Chief Industrial Hygienist for the NYC Department of Health (NYC DOH) Bureau of Environmental Emergency Preparedness and Response (BEPR), where he served as the lead scientist for the Radiation Response Unit and Environmental Response Group and served as the project lead on NYC's BioWatch program. He has a broad Hazardous Materials (HazMat) response, industrial hygiene, occupational health and safety and health physics background. He is also a leader in the fields of public health preparedness and EMS response, having served as a NYC paramedic for over 20 years, an Emergency Preparedness Coordinator for multiple NYC hospitals, and as a director for the NYC Pediatric Disaster Coalition.


Over a career spanning 30 years, Dr. Harvin has responded to numerous emergencies and disasters including the 1993 WTC Bombing, September 11th, the 2001 Flight 587 Crash, the 2009 Hudson River Mid-Air Collison, the 2010 Bronx Casino Bus Crash, Hurricane Sandy, the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting, and he led the death investigation at the Metro-North Commuter Train Derailment of 2013.


Dr. Harvin's academic and research includes several publications in EMS and emergency management, as well serving as the Program Director and full-time Assistant Professor for the Fire and Emergency Services degree program at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, where for over 15 years he taught graduate, undergraduate and non-degree courses in emergency management and emergency response. He also served as chair of the board of directors for the Regenhard Center for Emergency Response Studies (RaCERS), and has conducted extensive research for John Jay’s Center for Terrorism, including drafting the after-action report (AAR) for the Boston Bombing. He has served as faculty for the NYPD at the NYC Police Academy teaching emergency response to terrorism to both new cadets and executives. He currently serves as a subject-matter expert for the Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS) Executive Education Program of the Naval Postgraduate School


Donell Harvin holds a doctorate in public health (DrPH) from State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Medical School, specializing in Public Health Disasters. He completed his dissertation as a doctoral research fellow at Cornell Medical College-Institute for Computational Biomedicine. He also holds a master’s degree in public health concentrating in Environmental Science from Hunter College in NYC, a master’s in public administration concentrating in Emergency Management, a masters of arts certificate in Terrorism Studies and a bachelor's in Fire and Emergency Services Management from John Jay College in NYC.