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News :: Environment
Simmons College Prez-Select & Bioterrorism Research
14 Feb 2006
Modified: 11:54:54 PM
The recently-named new president of Simmons College, Susan Scrimshaw, has apparently been involved in helping to set up "bioterrorism" research laboratories in U.S.
In July 2006, University of Illinois of Chicago School of Public Health Dean Susan Scrimshaw will be taking over as Simmons College president in Boston. Yet, according to an article that was posted a few years ago on the www.homeland security-foundation.org website, Scrimshaw--as chair of the ASPH (Association of Schools of Public Health)--was apparently involved after 9/11/01 in launching a "new inititiatve to confront bioterrorism."

Following is the text of the article on "bioterrorism" labs that contains a reference to Simmons College's new president:

"Under the leadership of Dr. Susan Scrimshaw, dean of the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health and chair of ASPH, the 31 deans of the accredited schools of public health at the ASPH annual meeting launched a new initiative to confront bioterrorism. Key elements of the ASPH response are described below.

"Expanding Existing Public Health Capabilities
Centers for Public Health Preparedness (CPHPs), located in schools of public health, are key entities in preparing front line public health workers to respond to bioterrorism. Seven academic CPHPs, funded by the Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC), currently exist and eight additional CPHPs have been approved by CDC, but not funded. Efforts are underway to promote and expand the number of CPHPs to a much-needed national network.

"The CPHPs assure a well-trained and prepared national public health workforce, well-informed health care providers, an educated and alert citizenry to protect the public and to provide homeland security against terrorist threats. Just days before September 11th, the Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University CPHP, in close partnership with the NYC Department of Health, and other regional partners, finished training over 800 public health nurses in emergency preparedness, using an integrated curricula for public health practice. Many of these nurses were among the first to respond to victim’s needs at the World Trade Center site. Now these nurses are poised to respond to acts of bioterrorism.

"Producing A Well-Trained Public Health Workforce
ASPH member schools provide a critical link to training and enhancing the capacity of the public health workforce at the state and local level to respond to natural and intentional disasters. Training programs, which include short courses, seminars, and workshops, are available on-site and through distance learning for public health practitioners, clinical health professionals, media, and the general public. For example, ASPH recently released Disaster Preparedness in Schools of Public Health, a curriculum that can be used by schools of public health and others involved in training programs for emergency preparedness.

"ASPH is beginning to develop a collection of case studies based on the lessons learned from the terrorist attacks. The case studies, which will be available through distance learning, will focus on the management of a crisis, coordination of response, distribution of vaccines/medicine, mental health issues related to terrorism, and other critical issues. The educational resources will be valuable to the public health workforce, as well as partners involved in responding to bioterrorism such as mental health experts, first-line responders, clinicians, and law enforcement officials.

"Disseminating Timely and Accurate Advice
Faculty and deans from schools of public health are unique resources, increasingly called upon by the government, private organizations, and media for expertise in areas of surveillance, epidemic spread, case detection and management, environmental assessment and clean-up, prophylaxis and protection, air quality and purification, infectious disease and antimicrobial resistance, vaccine development and testing, legal issues, and population behavior and disaster management. Furthermore, experts at CPHPs have agreed to serve on a “24-7” basis as key advisors to the CDC on bioterrorism training for front-line preparedness.

"In addition, ASPH acts as a communication hub on bioterrorism and disaster preparedness. For example, resources to better train the public health workforce are currently listed at www.asph.org. The CPHP websites also provide needed information to both health professionals and the public. ASPH collaborates with the U.S. Public Health Service to co-publish the bi-monthly peer-reviewed journal, Public Health Reports. A supplemental issue on bioterrorism will be published in December 2001. In addition, schools of public health are preparing to act as resource centers and provide hotlines to address questions and concerns from health professionals and the general public.

"Expanding Essential Research and Policy for Rational Action
In response to years of research, work within schools of public health has produced recommendations for appropriate governmental response for medical and public health measures to be taken following attacks of terrorism. Governmental agencies rely on these experts to provide accurate and useful, detailed recommendations to stem injury, sickness and death in the event of disease outbreaks and national disasters.

"Emphasizing Collaboration and Coordination
ASPH is working closely with the CDC, in particular through the ASPH/CDC/ATSDR cooperative agreement, on training and research projects related to biological and chemical activities. ASPH members work with other federal agencies such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), to train public health professionals to respond to environmental terrorist acts and to conduct research into the public health related aspect of air quality and water system safety and protection. These activities contribute to current activities, as well as prepare the public health workforce for the future.

"Finally, ASPH is responding to the urgent need to assemble the public health community to share ideas and explore opportunities for coordination and collaboration. ASPH is convening members from the public health practice communities and various health professions to share information on how each group is responding to the threats in order to facilitate coordination of a united interdisciplinary response.

"The recent terrorist attacks and anthrax exposures demonstrate the urgent need to strengthen the nation’s public health infrastructure to help assure homeland security. Schools of public health remain strong in their capacities to train the public health workforce, however, more will need to be done in the coming months to ensure that we can adequately serve the needs of the public health workforce and ultimately, the needs of the American public. "

--------------------

*The Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) is the national organization representing the deans, faculty, and students of this nation’s 31 accredited schools of public health in the US and Puerto Rico. These schools have a combined faculty of over 3,000 and educate more than 15,000 students annually. The 31 schools of public health constitute a primary source of comprehensively trained public health professionals and specialists in short supply to serve the federal government, the 50 states, and private sector.

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