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U-M to lead disaster aftermath research center
Date:10/25/2007

ANN ARBOR, Mich.---The University of Michigan is the lead research institution in a $3.89 million grant to fund a consortium to study the health consequences on victims in disasters.

The consortium, called the National Center for Disaster Mental Health Research, includes researchers from U-M, Dartmouth Medical School, Medical University of South Carolina, Yale University and the University of Oklahoma. The center is funded by the National Institutes of Health.

"We know that disasters have a substantial influence on population health. We need to understand the health consequences of disasters much better than we do now in order to mitigate them," said Sandro Galea, associate professor at the U-M School of Public Health and co-principal investigator.

The center is the first to be established with the explicit goal of having the money and infrastructure in place to allow researchers to respond immediately after a disaster happens, he said. The center is also expected to be the leader in the field of disaster research, in many ways setting the research agenda in the area.

"One of the biggest challenges is that disasters happen when you don't expect them. Setting up research takes time and it has been very difficult to rigorously study disasters. What we now have is a funding method and infrastructure in place so we can launch a study in a very short time after an event hits," Galea said. "We aim to be in the field within a month after a large event. Without this center that would have been impossible."

Much of the research and data collection will take place at U-M's School of Public Health and the Institute for Social Research. Dartmouth is the grant administrator and Fran Norris, research professor of psychiatry at Dartmouth Medical School is the center director and the principal investigator on the project.

"We're going to capitalize on the expertise of professionals around the country to establish a ce
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Contact: Laura Bailey
baileylm@umch.edu
734-647-1848
University of Michigan
Source:Eurekalert

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