Elizabeth Davis is an emergency management consultant specializing in Special Needs planning, disaster human services, and related issues through her firm EAD & Associates, LLC in New York.
Ms. Davis received her JD from Boston University School of Law and her EdM from Boston University School of Education with a degree in the Socio-Bicultural Study of Deafness and American Sign Language. She holds an undergraduate degree with a major in Sociology and a minor in Political Science from Barnard College at Columbia University.
After serving many years as an advocate in the disability community, she entered into public service following law school as Assistant to Counsel and Senior Policy Advisor with the NYC Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities. Due to her role as Incident Commander in the Deaf Mexican Nationals slave-ring case in Queens, she was transferred to the NYC Office of Emergency Management as Special Needs Advisor. There she was responsible for ensuring that all elements of planning, response, and recovery incorporated the unique needs of disability, senior, and medically dependent populations. In this capacity, she oversaw Board of Education Y2K planning; planned for city-wide sheltering operations; coordinated transit strike/disruption responses; and coordinated the public information lines during the West Nile virus outbreaks and throughout the events of September 11th.
Ms. Davis later became the first Director of the National Organization on Disability’s Emergency Preparedness Initiative, a position she later retired from. Today, she consults for public jurisdictions and agencies, private businesses, home based care agencies, and residential health care organizations.
In addition, Ms. Davis is an advisor to the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA, and she sits on several national advisory boards. She is the co-chair of the National Hurricane Conference Health Care/Special Needs Committee; chair of the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM) Special Needs Committee; and an appointed member of the FEMA National Advisory Council’s Special Needs Subcommittee, to list a few active roles she maintains. She also served a two-year term as appointed chair of the FCC’s CAC Homeland Security Committee.
As an accomplished public speaker with a reputation for creative solution development, Ms. Davis is considered one of the nation’s “go-to” sources for emergency management and special needs issues. Her firm was responsible for getting rapid assessment teams on the ground in four Gulf States after Hurricane Katrina and provided an immediate action report for the federal authorities regarding health and special needs impacts. This team model for communicating special needs information during a disaster is now being replicated across many federal agencies.
Ms. Davis has also served as a court appointed subject matter expert, participates in many major conferences and web forums, and has had materials published on the subject of Special Needs emergency preparedness. She has even been a guest instructor at several emergency management graduate programs and received several awards and commendations for her work and advocacy.
Ms. Davis grew up in San Francisco but now resides in Brooklyn with her husband and two young daughters, where she remains active in community affairs.