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September 19, 2000

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Awards Johns Hopkins School of Public Health $300,000 For The Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies 

Research Focuses on Public Health Implications of New and Emerging Infections

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has awarded a $300,000 grant to The Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. The money will be used to launch an educational initiative that will focus on the public health implications of new and emerging infections. The project will analyze both the natural outbreak of deadly infections and the potential risks of man-made epidemics through the use of biological warfare.

"The world has already seen some very dramatic and serious infections that have wiped out millions of people. It is crucial that experts in the public health and medical community work together to develop tools that would create a response system to epidemic problems, including those caused by terrorists. We hope to help facilitate that progress- it is a crucial component to the well-being of the global community," said project co-director Donald A. Henderson, MD, MPH, director, The Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies, Johns Hopkins University, Schools of Public Health and Medicine.

The project will analyze the medical and public health capacities that are critical in responding effectively to epidemics and look at policy recommendations at the state and local levels that would help in developing the response systems.

"Public health agencies at the municipal, county, state, and federal levels are central in recognizing and responding to infectious disease outbreaks," said project co-director Tara O'Toole, MD, MPH, deputy director of the Center. "It is obvious that the time it takes a community to diagnose and react to a disease outbreak is directly linked to mortality rates, morbidity, and the spread of disease."

The project will begin in the fall of 2000 and will continue for 12 months. During the first phase of the project, researchers plan to work with experts in hospital management and policy to create a map of policies and actions needed to prepare hospitals to respond to epidemics. The second phase will include an analysis of critical elements of community-wide epidemic response systems in order to identify any significant gaps which should be addressed.

Public Affairs Media Contacts for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Tim Parsons or Kenna Brigham @ 410-955-6878 orpaffairs@jhsph.edu