January 30, 2004

Emergency preparedness center lauded by CDC

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Dr. Christopher D. Lind, associate professor of Medicine in the division of Gastroenterology, holds the the new pH level monitoring device which is attached to a patient’s esophagus. Photo by Dana Johnson

Emergency preparedness center lauded by CDC

The National Center for Emergency Preparedness (NCEP) at Vanderbilt University Medical Center has been approved as a member of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Specialty Centers for Public Health Preparedness to coordinate national efforts related to terrorism and emerging public health threats.

The Centers for Public Health Preparedness program is designed to combine the principles of health care and disaster management with advanced learning theory and technology to train health care professionals to respond to and manage mass casualty incidents. Centers involved in the program will develop training materials using course work, fact sheets, and other resources to be delivered on-site and through distance learning.

“Our hard work is beginning to yield results. It is an enormous honor for the NCEP and VUMC to be recognized by the CDC as being very important to them in accomplishing their mission of disseminating model health curricula, providing information for education to support local efforts for public health preparedness and emergency response,” said Colleen Conway-Welch, Ph.D., Nancy and Hilliard Travis Professor and Dean of the School of Nursing.

“Dean Conway-Welch has provided the leadership necessary for the NCEP at VUMC and the Vanderbilt School of Nursing to become leaders in the area of health care and medical disaster management training and education,” said Stephen Guillot, director of the NCEP.

“The NCEP is also benefiting from the online curriculum skills of Betsy Weiner, Ph.D., senior associate dean for Educational Informatics, Jeffry Gordon, Ph.D., professor in Educational Informatics, and Patricia Trangenstein, Ph.D., professor in Nursing Informatics,” Guillot added.

The NCEP was established in 2002 with original funding from the U.S. Public Health Service, and operates out of the Vanderbilt School of Nursing. The NCEP was created to train healthcare providers and emergency responders in planning for and responding to mass casualty incidents and situations involving weapons of mass destruction. The mark of distinction from the CDC demonstrates that the NCEP is on the right track and making its mark in the national arena.

“This CDC Center also supports CDC’s strategic imperative for ensuring a competent and prepared work force,” Conway-Welch said.

The network of Specialty Centers recognized by the CDC includes schools of public health, medicine, and others from academic institutions, including: Emory University’s Southeastern Center for Emerging Biological Threats, The Center for Law and Public Health at Georgetown University and Johns Hopkins University, New York University’s Center for the Study of Psychosocial Aspects of Bioterrorism, Texas A&M’s National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center, and several other schools making contributions in the response to national terrorism and public health preparedness.