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CONTACT: DEBRA VENZKE
UI COLLEGE OF PUBLIC HEALTH
5203 Westlawn
(319) 335-9647
e-mail: debra-venzke@uiowa.edu

Release: Oct. 30, 2002

UI center receives grant to enhance Iowa's public health preparedness

The Iowa Center for Public Health Preparedness (ICPHP), based in the University of Iowa College of Public Health, has received a grant of nearly $1 million to expand its mission of training Iowa's public health workforce to respond to current and emerging health threats and emergencies. The one-year, $986,730 grant is provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through a cooperative agreement with the Association of Schools of Public Health.

"This funding is a major step in the development of the Iowa Center for Public Health Preparedness," said ICPHP director Christopher Atchison, (left) UI College of Public Health associate dean for public health practice and associate professor of health management and policy. "It allows us to provide timely, vital training for Iowa's public health workers. Such programs will help us to more quickly identify and respond to any bioterrorist threat we might face."

The ICPHP is one of 19 academic preparedness centers nationwide developed by the CDC. The centers link accredited schools of public health with state and local health agencies and other partners to train the front-line public health professionals who will respond to bioterrorist incidents and other emerging infectious diseases.

Support for the preparedness centers is part of the $2.9 billion nationwide bipartisan bioterrorism plan designed by U.S. Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and signed into law by President Bush as part of the final Defense funding bill.

The ICPHP, which was established in May 2001, completed a number of projects in its first year, including a Public Health Preparedness Grand Rounds series. The presentations, broadcast statewide via the Iowa Communications Network, provide public health workers with timely and practice-focused information on a variety of preparedness topics. Another Grand Rounds series is underway this fall and features presentations by experts from the CDC, World Health Organization, Iowa Department of Public Health and other health-related organizations.

The center also offers an eight-month train-the-trainer program in public health preparedness. Sixty-nine public health professionals from around the state of Iowa are currently participating in the training program. Once the participants have completed the program, they will return to their own communities to assist with continuing training efforts. A new group of participants will begin training in spring 2003.

The center's program partners include the Iowa Association of Local Public Health Agencies, Iowa Department of Public Health, Iowa Emergency Management Division, Iowa Hospital Association, Iowa Medical Society, Iowa Nurses' Association, Iowa Pharmacy Association, Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University Extension and the UI Hygienic Laboratory.

More information about the Iowa Center for Public Health Preparedness and its projects can be found on the web at http://www.public-health.uiowa.edu/icphp/index.html.