Frequently Asked Questions

Why is CIAG affiliated with the University of Virginia and its School of Medicine?

That question can best be answered in terms of our geography and history. As the founder of the University, Thomas Jefferson was the architect of its “academical village,” located about 100 miles southwest of Washington D.C.

Jefferson designed the university to be a place where collaborative learning would inform future leaders. In order to do this, Jefferson contacted scholars in Europe and America, yielding international perspectives in philosophy, foreign languages, science, law, medicine and the arts.

It is also a history of leadership, crisis and public preparedness. Although central Virginia produced three founding fathers who went on to become U.S. presidents, Charlottesville has been a witness to enemy detainees in Hessian barracks, a British attack on Monticello, and wounded Confederate soldiers who arrived by train within hours of the First Battle of Bull Run.

CIAG was established in the School of Medicine by Dean Robert Carey in 2002 when he appointed Gregory Saathoff MD Associate Professor of Research in what is now the Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences. Due to Dr. Saathoff’s appointment and essential elements within CIAG’s scope, which deal with emergency response capacities as well as with elements of human behavior during crises, CIAG resides within the University of Virginia School of Medicine.  Because the School of Medicine shares a keen interest in medical aspects of crisis, CIAG has benefited from working on projects that include the American National Red Cross.

The mission of the University of Virginia’s Critical Incident Analysis Group – to ‘periodically examine the events and the incidents that really affect our democracy, that affect the bonds of trust between government and the public’ – might have been written by our founder, Thomas Jefferson.

While CIAG’s focus on bioterrorism, violence in the schools, and other contemporary threats to our democracy would not have matched Jefferson’s list of concerns, the group’s guiding principles are very similar to his own: preservation of life and the pursuit of truth. – John T. Casteen, III, President, University of Virginia, 1990 – 2010