$4.5 Million CDC Grant Funds Yale Center for Public Health Preparedness
To ensure that the public health workforce in Connecticut and beyond is able to mount a swift, coordinated response to disasters, acts of terrorism and disease outbreaks, the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at Yale (EPH) will use a $4.5 million, five-year grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to establish the Yale Center for Public Health Preparedness.
The Yale Center is part of a network of 52 CDC-funded centers nationwide. The Center staff will assess the preparedness training and education needs of Connecticut’s public health workforce, develop and adapt continuing education curricula to meet those needs and, in collaboration with Connecticut’s state and local health departments, ensure that the necessary training is provided. The Yale Center will also collaborate with other CDC-funded centers to identify and fill gaps in preparedness training, and will increase the breadth and depth of the public health preparedness curriculum available to Yale M.P.H. and Ph.D. students.
“In the wake of hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma, public health preparedness and training for both our existing public health work force and our students is imperative,” said Brian Leaderer, Susan Dwight Bliss Professor, Interim Dean of Public Health, and Chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, who serves as principal investigator on the grant.
Leaderer said the grant will allow Yale students and the Connecticut public health community to be on the cutting edge of research and training and will allow Yale to become an important resource for preparedness education. “The Yale Center will collaborate with other CDC Public Health Preparedness Centers in order to maximize resources and disseminate new information pertaining to emergency preparedness and response.”
The Center’s director is Linda Degutis, associate professor of Surgery in the Section of Emergency Medicine at Yale University School of Medicine and associate professor of epidemiology in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences at EPH. Her joint appointment provides a critical link between the experts who will staff the Yale Center, housed in Yale EPH, and the emergency response resources of the School of Medicine and Yale-New Haven Hospital.
Degutis said, “Preparing for public health emergencies requires collaboration among not only public health professionals, but other partners in preparedness and response: clinicians, administrators, law enforcement, public safety, media and the community at large. Through the activities of the Yale Center, and its relationship to other Centers in the network, we will be able to work toward the goal of preparedness for all hazards.”
Public health preparedness has been a concern at Yale EPH for several years. In response to the events of September 11, Yale EPH added three courses on disaster preparedness and biohazards to its M.P.H. curriculum and has taken a highly collaborative approach to providing various kinds of preparedness training for public health professionals in the state. Through its academic and practice partnerships, over 100 courses have been delivered, representing over 3,000 participant contact hours.