The Science Behind Our Programs

The Scientific Advisory Council

The Council in the News

Learn More about the Council

Read Up on Council Research

Benefits from Science-based Training

Behind every American Red Cross health and safety training program stands a team of experts ensuring what is taught is based on the latest and best in emergency science. Their guidance has an impact on everything, from course content to how to respond when disasters strike. This team’s expertise is the reason why individuals and businesses alike choose the Red Cross for their training needs. It’s also the reason why millions of Americans know how to plan and prepare for almost every emergency.

The American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council is a 50+member panel of nationally-recognized medical, scientific, and academic experts dedicated to ensuring that the Red Cross is at the vanguard of best-science and best-practice.

With members from a broad range of professional specialties, the Council has an important advantage: a broad multidisciplinary expertise for evaluating new emergency response methods and techniques. And with on-the-ground experience, its members also bring the know-how for real-world emergencies. Whether it’s the best way to administer CPR to an unconscious co-worker or preparing your family and home for a hurricane, the Council is keeping you current.

The Subcouncils

Focusing on Areas of Expertise
Every recommendation to the Red Cross from the Scientific Advisory Council starts in one of five subcouncils where team specialists dig deep and share their findings. The subcouncils are:

Council Leadership

Council Chair

David Markenson, MD, MBA, FCCM, FAAP, FACEP, EMT-P
Chief Medical Officer, Sky Ridge Medical Center

Council Vice-Chair

Linda Quan, MD, FAAP
Pediatric Emergency Physician at Seattle Children's Hospital; Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine

Red Cross Aquatics Icon


Covering everything from water safety, swim instruction and life-guarding, this subcouncil is all about prevention of water emergencies, including rescue, resuscitation and transport.

Peter G. Wernicki, MD, FAAOS
Aquatics Subcouncil Chair
Associate Clinical Professor in Orthopedic Surgery at the University of Florida Medical School; Medical Advisor of the U.S. Lifesaving Association; Chair of the International Life Saving Federation’s Medical Committee

William Dominic Ramos, MS, PhD
Associate Professor at the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington

Joshua M. Tobin, MD
Director of Trauma Anesthesiology at the Keck School of Medicine at USC, Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve

Louise Kublick
Operations Manager, Aquatics, for Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in Toronto

Roy Fielding, MS, LGIT, WSIT
Senior Lecturer in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte; Vice Chair of both the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions’ Model Aquatic Health Code Technical Committee on Bather Supervision and Lifeguarding, and the Technical Committee on Recirculation and Filtering

Angela K. Beale, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Health Studies, Physical Education and Human Performance Science, Adelphi University

Teresa (Terri) Lees, MS
Aquatic Supervisor of the North Kansas City Community Center; Aquatic Coordinator at the Heskett Center for Campus Recreation at Wichita State University

Stephen J. Langendorfer, PhD
Professor of Exercise Science; Director for the School of Human Movement, Sport, and Leisure Studies at Bowling Green State University; Editor, International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education

Linda Quan, MD, FAAP
Pediatric Emergency Physician at Seattle Children's Hospital; Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine

CPR Icon


Studying cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), choking, and general resuscitation, this subcouncil also assesses defibrillation and the best use of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs).

Richard N. Bradley, MD
Resuscitation Subcouncil Chair
Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Chief of the Division of Emergency Medical Services and Disaster Medicine at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston

Sioban Kennedy, MA, ACP, CQIA
Manager of Paramedic Practice at Sunnybrook Centre for Prehospital Medicine

Michael G. Millin, MD, MPH, FACEP
Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Medical Director of both the BWI Airport Fire and Rescue Department

Stamatios Larakis, MD, PhD, FACC, FAHA, FASE, FASNC, FCCP
Professor of Medicine (Cardiology), Radiology and Imaging Sciences at Emory University School of Medicine; Professor of Medicine (Cardiology), Radiology and Imaging Sciences at Emory University School of Medicine; Director of Cardiac MRI and Interventional Echocardiography at Emory University Hospital; Adjunct Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Emory University and Georgia Institute of Technology

Wendell Jones, MD, MBA, CPE, FACP
Chief Medical Officer of the Veterans Integrated Service Network 17; Assistant Professor, Internal Medicine, at the University of Texas Southwestern

Joan E. Shook, MD, FAAP, FACEP
Professor of Pediatrics in the Pediatric Emergency Medicine Section at Baylor College of Medicine

Ira Nemeth, MD
Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine and Director of EMS and Disaster Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine; Assistant Medical Director for Ben Taub General Hospital’s Emergency Department

Joseph W. Rossano, MD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics/Cardiology at the University of Pennsylvania and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Rita V. Burke, PhD, MPH
Assistant Professor of Research Surgery and Preventive Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California and the Trauma Program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles; Co-chair of the Children in Disasters Working Group and the Pediatric Trauma Society Research Committee

First Aid

First Aid

Studying the emergency medical care of victims before they get to a hospital, this subcouncil assesses the training of bystanders and professional emergency responders, whether they are administering aid on land, near water or in the wilderness.

Andrew MacPherson, MD, CCFP-EM
First Aid Subcouncil Chair
Emergency Physician, Victoria, BC; Medical Consultant, British Columbia Emergency Health Services

David C. Berry, PhD, ATC, EMT-B
Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Athletic Training Clinical Education at Weber State University

Sarita A. Chung, MD
Director of Disaster Preparedness, Division of Emergency Medicine, Children’s Hospital, Boston

Robin M. Ikeda, MD, MPH, USPHS
Deputy Director for Noncommunicable Diseases, Injury and Environmental Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Deborah C. Mandell, VMD, ACVECC
Adjunct Associate Professor, Emergency and Critical Care Medicine, Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania; National American Red Cross Pet Care Advisor

Jeffrey L. Pellegrino, PhD, WEMT-B/FF, EMS-I
Director of Strategic Initiatives and Assessment of Undergraduate Studies at Kent State University; EMS-Instructor and EMT/Firefighter for the City of Hudson

S. Robert Seitz, M.Ed, RN, NREMT-P
Assistant Professor in the Emergency Medicine Program of the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
L. Kristian Arnold, MD, MPH, FACEP
Chief Medical Officer, ArLac Health Services; Medical Director of the Boston Police Department’s Occupational Medicine Unit

Adelita Gonzales Cantu, PhD, RN
Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Community Health Systems at University of Texas Health Science Center

Jeffery S. Upperman, MD
Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Southern California; Attending Surgeon and Director of the Trauma Program at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles

Lewis J. Kaplan, MD, FACS, FCCM, FCCP
Associate Professor at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvnania in the Division of Traumatology, Surgical Critical Care; Director of the SICU at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center

Edward McManus, MD
Infection Disease Specialist at St. Claire’s Health System

Tod Schimelpfenig
Curriculum Director, NOLS Wilderness Medicine Institute

Eunice (Nici) Singletary, MD FACEP
Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Virginia

Nursing and Care-Giving

Nursing and Care-Giving

The focus of this subcouncil is on the knowledge and skills necessary for health and safety when providing person-centered, culturally sensitive care to others.

Susan M. Heidrich, PhD, RN
Nurse Scientist at the Middleton Memorial Veterans Administration Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin; Helen Denne Shulte Emeritus Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Nursing

Samir K. Sinha, MD, DPhil, FRCPC
Director of Geriatrics at Mount Sinai and the University Health Network Hospitals in Toronto; Peter and Shelagh Godsoe Chair in Geriatrics at Mount Sinai Hospital
Deanna Colburn Hostler, DPT, CCS (ABD)
Clinical Assistant Professor in the Physical Therapy program at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York

Tener Goodwin Veenema, PhD, MPH, MS, FNAP, FAAN
Associate Professor and Pediatric Emergency Nurse Practitioner at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing; President, CEO of Tener Consulting Group, LLC


Preparedness and Disaster Health

Covering the best ways to prepare for emergencies of every kind, from those that occur in the home to regional disasters, this subcouncil studies how to train people to be more resilient after hardship and how to keep communities whole and businesses operating. It also addresses how to give acute and chronic medical and mental care to disaster victims and the emergency staff caring for them.

James A. Judge II, EMT-P, CEM, BPA
Preparedness and Disaster Health Subcouncil Chair
Emergency Management Director for Volusia County, Florida

Tener Goodwin Veenema, PhD, MPH, MS, FNAP, FAAN
Associate Professor and Pediatric Emergency Nurse Practitioner at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing; President, CEO of Tener Consulting Group, LLC

Scott C. Somers, PhD, EMT-P
Member of the Phoenix, Arizona Fire Department; Certified Emergency Paramedic; Hazardous Materials Specialist with FEMA Urban Search and Rescue

Thomas D. Kirsch, MD, MPH, FACEP
Director of the Center for Refugee and Disaster Response and Associate Professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, School of Medicine and Whiting School of Engineering

Senior Business Continuity Manager in the Interactive Entertainment Business, Microsoft

John P. Hirdes, PhD
Professor and Ontario Home Care Research and Knowledge Exchange Chair in the School of Public Health and Health Systems, University of Waterloo; Senior Canadian Fellow and Board Member of interRAI

Steven Jensen, PhD
Advisor in Emergency Management and Lecturer at California State University at Long Beach

John R. Lindsay, MCP
Assistant Professor in the Applied Disaster and Emergency Studies Department at Brandon University

Frederick (Skip) M. Burkle, Jr., MD, MPH, DTM, FAAP, FACEP
Senior Fellow and Scientist in the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Harvard School of Public Health; Senior International Public Policy Scholar, Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars; Senior Associate Faculty Member, Department of International Health at Johns Hopkins University Medical Institutes

How the Council Works

Putting Science into Action

Making sure Red Cross programs and guidance are up-to-date and fine-tuned is serious business. When considering making a recommendation, the Council will perform rounds of rigorous scientific review using only the most reliable evidenced-based sources. The Council will then vote on whether to make a recommendation. If approved, recommendations are incorporated into Red Cross training and guidance.

Watch the Council

Keeping Everyone Informed and Prepared
Bring the experts into your own home with this sampling of health and safety videos by Council members on the following subjects:

Disaster Safety

Weather Safety

Children's Safety

Water Safety