For Immediate Release
Contact: Susan Preston
At the UMDNJ-School for Public Health
School Receives $1 million to establish Statewide Center for Public
The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ)-School
of Public Health has been awarded a $1 million federal grant to
establish a statewide Center for Public Health Preparedness.
The UMDNJ-School of Public Health is one of 22 university-based
programs selected to receive a broad award of this type, which
is funded by the Association of Schools of Public Health. through
its cooperative agreement with the federal Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention.
"This is a major accomplishment for our School of Public Health,"
said Dr. Stuart D. Cook, UMDNJ President. "Their success will
allow UMDNJ to further expand its existing portfolio of activities
designed to protect New Jersey residents from all manner of threats,
both old and new, to their health and well-being."
The UMDNJ Board of Trustees adopted a resolution at its October
29 meeting to designate the new entity as a formal statewide center
of the university, to be known as the New Jersey Center for Public
Health Preparedness at UMDNJ.
The focus of the Center for Public Health Preparedness will
be to improve the capabilities of local, city and county health
agencies to respond to any public health emergencies; to evaluate
protective gear requirements for those who respond to such emergencies;
and to develop a better
information system to alert public health and medical professionals
as well as the public about emerging natural and man-made threats
to public health, including potential terrorist incidents, disasters
due to weather conditions, industrial accidents and infectious
The center will be directed by Dr. Glenn Paulson, professor
of environmental and occupational health at the UMDNJ-School of
Public Health, and Mitchel Rosen, head of the school's Office
of Public Health Practice.
Dr. Audrey Gotsch, dean of the UMDNJ-School of Public Health,
said, "In its five years of existence, the research, educational
and community service activities of the School of Public Health
have already had a positive impact across the entire state. This
grant will allow the school to expand the range of its activities
into new areas, and deepen its impact even more."
"This success, particularly welcome in these tight budget times,
will help government agencies, private organizations and the general
public to recognize and act more quickly in response to both familiar
and new public health issues," Dr. Gotsch said. She noted that
the high level of concern about potential terrorist threats in
the last two years is only part of the story, pointing out that
SARS, West Nile and similar new developments are yet another aspect
"As New Jersey enhances its preparedness for health threats
related to terrorism, emerging infectious diseases, and natural
disasters, the UMDNJ-School of Public Health, which has already
been integrally involved, will play an even more critical role,"
said Dr. Clifton R. Lacy, commissioner of the Department of Health
and Senior Services. "We look forward to
working in partnership with the new Center for Public Health
Preparedness to support Governor McGreevey's plans for protecting
the health and safety of New Jersey's residents."
The center also will have a formal relationship with the State
Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), centered on chemical
and radiological environmental health issues. "The Department
of Environmental Protection takes very seriously its duty to prepare
our on-scene responders for any radiological or industrial health
threat or disaster," said Bradley M. Campbell, DEP commissioner.
"We look forward to joining forces with the newly formed Center
for Public Health Preparedness to protect New Jersey residents."