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University of Iowa Release

May 19, 2003

Smallpox Health Care Response Team Honored

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics leaders today recognized the 38 Health Care Smallpox Response Team members who volunteered to help protect Iowans from a possible bioterror attack.

The team is one of 15 based at Iowa hospitals that participated in the Iowa Department of Public Health's (IDPH) Pre-Event Smallpox Immunization Plan. Team members received smallpox immunizations to enable them to care for any patients who might contract the disease in the future. The IDPH plan is a blueprint for managing and reducing the adverse impact of a bioterrorism incident involving smallpox in Iowa.

"We are proud of our faculty and staff," said Charles Helms, M.D., chief of staff at the medical center. "We are grateful to all those who volunteered to join us in this important effort to help protect the health of our citizens."

Team members received "Above and Beyond the Call of Duty" awards for their participation in the group. Helms also provided an update on the national and Iowa pre-event smallpox vaccination programs.

"These volunteers will be the first to care for Iowans with smallpox intensively should the disease make its way here," Helms said. "We took every step to ensure that the immunization process was as safe as possible, and now these volunteers are fully prepared to respond if the need should arise."

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at www.uihealthcare.com.

STORY SOURCE: Joint Office for Planning, Marketing and Communications, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room 8798 JPP, Iowa City, IA 52242-1009.

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Moore, 319-356-3945, thomas-moore@uiowa.edu.