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September 16, 2003

New Institute for Global Health and Security

The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health announces the formation of the Institute for Global Health and Security. The new Institute brings together the School’s diverse biodefense and public health preparedness research and training initiatives, which are supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Resources and Services Administration, National Institutes of Health, and public and private philanthropy.

“There is a burgeoning need in the nation for science and leadership development in the fields of biodefense and public health preparedness. Over the past year we have been discussing ways to best organize our biodefense and public health preparedness activities. The new Institute for Global Health and Security will create synergy between the School’s many research, training, and policy initiatives in these areas,” said Alfred Sommer, MD, MHS, dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The Institute will encompass biodefense programs and activities already under way at the School of Public Health, which include the Center for Public Health Preparedness, MidAtlantic Public Health Training Center, Risk Sciences and Public Policy Institute, Center for Excellence in Community Environmental Health Practice, Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies, and newly funded global health research activities. The Institute will also coordinate the School’s activities as a member of the Middle Atlantic Regional Center of Excellence for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases Research (RCE), which will work to develop new and improved vaccines, diagnostic tools, and treatments for biological agents and infectious diseases, such as anthrax bacillus, smallpox, and Ebola and West Nile viruses. Donald Burke, MD, director of the School’s Center for Immunization Research, is co-principal investigator of the RCE and a member of its executive leadership committee. This new institute will continue to grow its collaborative ties with Johns Hopkins’ Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR) and with the University's Applied Physics Laboratory, (APL) with its unique defense planning capacity.

Together, over the past two years, the School’s centers have sponsored training seminars for law enforcement, public health, and government officials on public health preparedness against terrorist attacks, “dirty bombs” or radiological accidents, bioterrorism in the workplace, and relevant research and policy initiatives.

The School's SWAT (Scientists Working to Address Terrorism) team will also be a part of the Institute for Global Health and Security and continues to provide expertise on public health preparedness matters and conduct research. Since its establishment in September 2001, the SWAT team has worked with the American Postal Workers Union to develop safe practices for dealing with potential biological agents in the mail, advised government officials on the efficacy of using anthrax vaccine as a preventive measure after exposure to spores, provided evidence for alternative smallpox vaccination strategies, and published several studies on the use of antibiotics in preventing anthrax.

One of the School’s major missions is training leaders in public health and biodefense who can grow to lead programs in academia and in the public or private sectors. Beginning this September, the School of Public Health began offering a degree concentration in public health preparedness and biodefense for students enrolled in its Masters in Public Health program.

Dean Sommer also announced that two accomplished faculty, D.A. Henderson, MD, MPH, and Tara O’Toole, MD, MPH, who were involved in the School’s earliest biodefense policy efforts, will be joining the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Center for Biosecurity.

“The University of Pittsburgh will benefit from these two talented individuals who I’m delighted will remain in Baltimore. We look forward to continuing our close collaboration,” said Dean Sommer.

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