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Center for Strategic Public Health Preparedness

Col. Michael Smith, Director

The Center on Strategic Public Health Preparedness (formerly the Center on Terrorism and Public Health) serves as a resource for the education of health professionals and the public in the area of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Bioterrorism.

The mission of CSPHP is to actively support national priorities for public health preparedness through the following activities:

  • Applied Research
  • Assessment & Evaluation
  • Education & Training
  • Technical Assistance
  • Policy Development

Prevention Research

A number of pre-event issues related to terrorism in the public sector will require further research. In order to minimize the potential for further terrorist acts, for example, vaccination of the public against some of the most likely bioterrorist weapons such as anthrax, smallpox and plague has been suggested. Yet, little is known about the willingness of the public to be vaccinated, or about how such a mass vaccination program would be best accomplished. Similar questions have been raised about the adequacy, distribution and acceptance of programs to stockpile antibiotics and antiviral compounds for possible use in terrorist acts. The Center has the expertise to develop study protocols and carry out community or population-based studies on these and other unanswered social and public health questions.

Response

Physicians, nurses, emergency responders, communities and the general public need to be formally evaluated and monitored in regard to their ability to respond to acts of terrorism once they occur. As recent events in Florida and throughout the U.S. suggest, the ability of individuals and community organizations to respond varies greatly. Formal research is needed in the areas of competencies and preparedness on matters of terrorism for each health professions group, as well as hospitals and public health systems as a whole. The Center will assess the current understanding and capabilities of these diverse parts of the health-care system and work with local and state governments to recommend and implement opportunities for sustained improvement. The assessment of response will not only include the public health system, but law enforcement, environmental hazards, and even economic fallout.