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UNC receives $8.5 million for new public health preparedness research center
Date:10/9/2008

CHAPEL HILL The North Carolina Institute for Public Health has been awarded an $8.5 million, five-year grant to create a new research center focused on helping protect the state from a wide range to disasters and threats.

The institute, part of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health, was selected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to head up one of seven new Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Centers.

The new center will be known as the North Carolina Public Health Preparedness Systems Research Center. Edward L. Baker, M.D., the institute's director and professor of health policy and management in the public health school, was principal investigator of the grant proposal.

The center will focus on conducting research related to public health preparedness and emergency response in North Carolina. Researchers will evaluate disease surveillance and reporting systems, emergency alerting systems, regional response systems and the effects of health department accreditation on preparedness and response capacities.

"What will come out of this center will improve the quality of preparedness and response to all hazards, from hurricanes to contagious diseases to suspected terroristic acts," Baker said. "I believe one of the reasons we secured the grant is that North Carolina is seen as a laboratory for practice research due to its innovative public health preparedness surveillance and response systems."

Several state leaders were involved in helping bring the center to North Carolina, including State Health Director Dr. Leah Devlin and U.S. Sen. Richard Burr.

"Being prepared for any hazard is central to the public health mission in North Carolina," Devlin said. "Clearly evaluating our state and local efforts and answering critical research questions will help us to continually strengthen our system of preparedness and response."

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Contact: Patric Lane
patric_lane@unc.edu
919-962-8596
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Source:Eurekalert

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