University to battle bioterrorism

Daily Planet Wire Service
Friday September 27, 2002


BERKELEY – The University of California at Berkeley is working to be at the forefront of the battle against bioterrorism with the help of a new $2.8 million federal grant.  

The three-year grant will fund a new Center for Infectious Disease Preparedness at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. The campus will be host to one of four new academic centers for public health preparedness. 

The others – at the University of Michigan, University of Oklahoma, and the University of South Carolina – are all a part of the $2.9 billion bioterrorism initiative launched by President George W. Bush earlier this year. 

“The weaknesses of the nation's public health infrastructure were made clear in last year's anthrax attacks,” said Arthur Reingold, head of epidemiology at UC Berkeley School of Public Health. 

“We learned that we need to improve coordination and communication throughout the public health system, from the local to the national level. These centers for public health preparedness are a major step forward in reaching that goal,” he said. 

As part of this new initiative, these centers will provide public health and law enforcement workers with training in response to bioterrorism incidents and naturally occurring infectious disease outbreaks. 

Additionally, the UC Berkeley campus will strive to improve communications with the media, by collaborating with the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. A training program targeting journalists in local and regional news organizations will be part of this new program. 

"This is a primary example of the school's commitment to moving the knowledge base from publication of research to public action,'' said Stephen Shortell, professor and dean of the School of Public Health.