Feds Designate UAlbany a Center for Public Health Preparedness
Contact: Karl Luntta (518) 437-4980
The University at Albany School of Public Health has been designated
a regional Center for Public Health Preparedness, one of 15 named by
Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson and endorsed by
Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge.
The school's preparedness center, which serves the northeast, will
receive a portion of $20 million in 2002 funding for a nationwide network
of such centers. The funding is part of the $2.9 billion bioterrorism
appropriations signed by President Bush on Jan. 10.
The center's primary mission is to work with communities and local
health departments to prepare the nation's public health and healthcare
workforce to respond to terrorist incidents and other emerging health
threats. UAlbany's $1 million award will be used to bolster the area's
public health infrastructure and provide training for the public health
workforce to deal with health catastrophes.
"The University and the state's health department envisioned our Center
for Health Preparedness long before recent events in the country caused
many to focus on responses to potential widespread health disasters,"
said UAlbany President Karen R. Hitchcock. "This long-term planning
has prepared us to meet a great challenge, and with it we are reaching
out to serve and support not only our community, but the nation."
New York State Health Commissioner Antonia C. Novello, M.D., M.P.H.,
Dr. P.H. said, "The ability of the public health community to unite
as a cohesive force as we deal with bioterrorism will be essential as
we prepare to respond to previously unthinkable threats. In a very real
sense, public health is finally recognized as being on the front lines
of this battle. The University at Albany School of Public Health has
long been a valued partner in our work to protect the health of New
Yorkers. Governor Pataki and I believe that now, more than ever, that
partnership has become absolutely crucial."
In September 2000, the University and the Association of Schools of
Public Health, as well as state and local public health agencies and
other academic and community institutions, partnered with the Centers
for Disease Control (part of HHS) to begin developing a national system
of Centers for Public Health Preparedness.
"This is a great step forward for training and improving the capacity
of the public health infrastructure to deal with disaster and possible
bioterrorism," said School of Public Health Dean Peter J. Levin. "One
of our goals is to have an expert on bioterrorism in every county in
In addition to the University at Albany, 14 university schools of public
health will share this year's funding. Among them are Johns Hopkins
University's Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore and Harvard
University School of Public Health, Boston.
Established in 1844 and designated a center of the State University
of New York in 1962, the University at Albany's broad mission of excellence
in undergraduate and graduate education, research and public service
engages 17,000 diverse students in eight degree-granting schools and
colleges. For more information about this nationally ranked University,
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