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Frequently Asked Questions

CHDS Helpline
Phone: 831-656-3829
Fax: 831-656-2619

Heather Issvoran
Director, Strategic Communications
Contract Support for The Center for Homeland Defense and Security
Cell: 831.402.4672
image I decided to apply to the Center for Homeland Defense and Security Master' s program because I recognized the impact it had on other members of the FDNY who had taken it. CHDS alumni at the FDNY were very successful, in positions of influence, and spearheading positive change within the Department. Most notable among these was my mentor and friend Abdo Nahmod, who rose to the rank of Chief of EMS and was the first active member of the FDNY Bureau of EMS to graduate from the program. During conversations with him prior to, during, and after the program the breadth and depth of the education and the expansion of critical thinking as a result of it were plainly evident. The CHDS program was an opportunity to attain a master's degree from a highly prestigious and respected institution with the financial support of both my agency and the Department of Homeland Security. Participation in the CHDS Master's Program is truly a challenge, the workload and time commitment is tremendous, and the intellectual rigor is unmatched. The students are all extremely smart and bring a ton of experience from a plethora of disciplines to the intense and academically rigorous class work and often animated class discussion. The quality and variety of intellect and experience of all the instructors is surpassed only by their commitment to the success of the students. While the breadth of the knowledge gained is certainly a huge benefit of this program, I've found that the change in my critical thinking is even more significant. This program forces you to expand your perception, broaden your perspective, and continuously question the biases that influence the information you receive and how you perceive it. This has proven to be tremendously useful in how I approach all aspects of my position within the FDNY, with broader perspective and deeper understanding of the complexities and challenges it presents, allowing me more confidence in all of my decisions. The confidence I have gained in my critical thinking and ability to analyze complex situations and provide innovative and coherent ideas and solutions has also been beneficial to the FDNY, as I have subsequently risen to a position of significantly more influence than before I began it. I am proud to be the second active FDNY Bureau of EMS member to participate in the CHDS Master's program, and have already seen the significant positive impact it has made not only on the FDNY Bureau of EMS, but the Department as a whole.  

Jonathan Pistilli
EMS Division Chief, FDNY/EMS Manhattan Borough Commander
Graduated September 2013

Main Master’s Program Page