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Bioterrorism: Public Health Leaders Respond.

American Public Health Association's Annual Meeting

Includes Sessions Preventing, Preparing & Responding to Terrorism

The newly-added session "APHA's Response to Terrorism" highlights the American Public Health Association's 129th Annual Meeting Oct. 21-25 in Atlanta. The afternoon session Oct. 22 includes New York State Health Commissioner Antonia C. Novello, M.D, M.P.H., Dr.P.H.; Jeffrey Koplan, MD, MPH, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); and APHA's Executive Director, Mohammad N. Akhter, MD, MPH, addressing the public health community's response to the latest anthrax and other bioterrorist attacks.

The world's oldest and largest gathering of public health researchers, practitioners and policy makers, the Meeting features more than 900 sessions and some 3,000 scientific papers scheduled for presentation. Entitled "One World: Global Health," the four-day program of scientific sessions, round- table workshops, poster presentations and panel discussions allows more than 12,000 attendees to explore trends and enhance their knowledge about public health implications in a global setting.

The American Public Health Association, the oldest and largest organization of public health professionals, represents more than 50,000 members from over 50 public health occupations.

Sessions on terrorism include:

Executive Board Special Session: APHA Response to Acts of Terrorism

Session 3099.1: Monday, October 22, 2001

New York State Health Commissioner Antonia C. Novello, M.D., M.P.H., Dr.P.H.; Jeffrey Koplan, MD, MPH, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); and APHA's Executive Director, Mohammad N. Akhter, MD, MPH, lead a discussion on the public health community's response to the latest bioterrorist attacks.

Bioterrorism as a New Global Environmental Threat

Session 3110.0: Monday, October 22, 2001

Eric Noji, MD, MPH, National Center for Infectious Diseases, CDC

Biological weapons represent a unique "environmental" hazard. The pathogens involved are natural in the sense that they are risks that naturally occur in our environment. However they are unnatural in the way in which they are inflicted upon society. This presentation will describe public health measures to protect, respond to, and defend against the adverse health effects of biological terrorism or disasters due to deadly pathogens.

Perspective on Bioterrorism Education and Training: Results from Infection

Control Practitioner Focus Groups

Session 3073.0: Monday, October 22, 2001

Terri Rebmann, RN, MSN, CIC, Brooke N Shadel, PhD, MPH, Bruce W Clements,

MPH, Brenda Arndt, RN, MPH, and R G Evans, PhD, MPH. Saint Louis

University, School of Public Health, Center for the Study of Bioterrorism

and Emerging Infections

Focus groups were conducted at the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) 2000 Annual Conference to define the perceived priorities for healthcare and public health (PHP) education and preparedness for bioterrorism. Participants reported that they felt that local public health departments should be the primary contact in bioterrorism events, and additional bioterrorism awareness and preparedness training is needed for all healthcare and public health worker groups.

Public Health Professionals' Risk Perceptions and Training Needs Related

to Bioterrorism and Emerging Infections: Results of a National Needs

Assessment Survey

Session 3221.0: Monday, October 22, 2001

Bruce W. Clements, MPH1, Brooke Shadel, PhD, MPH1, Terri Rebmann, RN, MSN,

CIC2, and R.Gregory Evans, PhD, MPH. (1) Center for the Study of

Bioterrorism and Emerging Infections, Saint Louis University, School of

Public Health, 3342, (2) Saint Louis University, School of Public Health,

Center for the Study of Bioterrorism and Emerging Infections

An intentional release of a biological agent by terrorists or a naturally occurring outbreak of an emerging infection may pose a momentous challenge to the US public health infrastructure. The rapid identification and management of these outbreaks will require highly trained public health professionals (PHPs). A needs assessment survey was developed to evaluate PHP educational priorities for bioterrorism and emerging infections as well as the best medium to deliver these materials. We plan to present the resulting analysis of the collected needs assessment data.

Assessing the Public Health Response to U.S. Bioterrorism Initiatives

Session: 3067.0: Monday, October 22, 2001

Robert Gould, MD, Physicians For Social Responsibility

Speaker will discuss the public health and other societal implications posed by the U.S. government's initiatives to combat bioterrorism. Among points to be covered will be a review of the U.S. military's vaccination program against anthrax from the time of the Gulf War through the present attempt to inoculate all members of the armed force against this disease, including the response of the soldiers. Issues of efficacy and safety of the vaccination program will be addressed. Plans for involving the public health community in the campaign against bioterrorism will be explored, including issues relating to: an objective characterization of the bioterrorist threat; alternatives for threat reduction and population protection; differentiation between "defensive" and "offensive" biowar capabilities; as well as the implications of the potential militarization of public health, including effects on civil liberties.

Preparing for the worst: Enhancing daily public health capacity through

local preparedness planning

Session 3133.0: Monday, October 22, 2001

Scott Wetterhall, MD, MPH, William Dyal, Robert Blake, Darren Collins,

Erich Daub, Sara Forsting, Kim Taylor, Richard Quartarone, and Ariane

Reeves. DeKalb County Board of Health, Center for Public Health

Preparedness

Emerging threats such as West Nile virus, pandemic influenza, and bioterrorism place local public health practitioners squarely in the center of preparedness planning. Although these threats may divert resources from other pressing daily public health concerns, they present unique infrastructure- building opportunities. We report on two years of activity emphasizing regional bioterrorism preparedness planning but more broadly directed toward increasing local public health capacity.

War and public health

Session 3067.0: Monday, October 22, 2001

Barry S. Levy, MD, MPH, Barry S. Levy Associates, and Victor W. Sidel,

MD, Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

This session will feature presentations (including question-and-answer periods) on subjects of current importance concerning war and public health. Topics to be covered in this session are: (1) assessing the public health response to U.S. bioterrorism initiatives; (2) war and human rights; (3) an update on the Taliban's war on women; and (4) conflict in the former Yugoslavia and the Palestinian Territories.

Using Hazardous Substances: Emergency Events Surveillance data for

counter-terrorism

Session 4028.1: Tuesday, October 23, 2001

Maureen F Orr, MS, Gilbert S Haugh, MS, Wendy E Kaye, PhD, and Deana M

Manassaram, MPH. Division of Health Studies/Epidemiology and Surveillance

Branch, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry

Terrorists use common industrial chemicals to create improvised explosives, incendiaries, and toxic agents. Common chemicals are attractive because military agents or biologics are more difficult or dangerous to manufacture, access, or disperse. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry maintains a Hazardous Substances Emergency Events Surveillance (HSEES) system in 16 participating states to collect information on acute releases of hazardous chemicals and subsequent public health outcomes. This presentation will demonstrate how HSEES data can be used for counter-terrorism efforts.

Using local-global health connections to shape U.S. foreign policy

Session 4042.0: Tuesday, October 23, 2001

Chuck Woolery, World Federalist Association

Events, conditions and trends on the global level influence every aspect of health in the United States. Globalization is making these impacts more rapid, complicated and significant. The air we breath, food we eat, medicines we use, jobs we work at and the oil we need for our transportation and industry -- are all increasingly interconnected with health and well-being of people we will never meet in nations we may never visit. Current U.S. defense policy, foreign policy and political relations with the United Nations are inadequate and insufficient for effectively preventing potentially catastrophic costs associated with the spread of infectious diseases, terrorism, pollution, species extinction, genocide, poverty, high birth rates, refugees, drug abuse, prostitution, trafficking, climate change, corruption, poverty and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Preventing Genocide: Rules for Bioterrorism and Genetic Engineering

Session 4208.0: Tuesday, October 23, 2001

George J. Annas, JD, MPH and George J. Annas, JD, MPH. Health Law

Department, Boston University School of Public Health

Bioterrorism is increasingly seen as a legitimate public health concern that calls for cooperation with police and military officials. Genetic engineering (including gene transfer experiments, use of viruses to modify cell function, cloning, and germline genetic alterations) on the other hand is generally viewed as a beneficent medical activity. From a public health perspective, these two projects have many more similarities than differences, and international bans and regulatory structures that are developing to prevent bioterrorism have direct applicability to genetic engineering as well. Using a human rights and health perspective, I will compare these two projects in terms of potential disaster to populations and means to prevent that disaster, and suggest ways in which legal tools can be used to reduce the risks to the human species.

Global Perspectives in Bioterrorism

Session 5230.0: Wednesday, October 24, 2001

Gene Matthews, JD, Legal Advisor, Centers for Disease Control and

Prevention

This presentation will discuss legal aspects pertaining to preparedness for and responding to bioterrorism events, beginning with review of international bioterrorism experiences, and then focusing on common public health control measures.

CONTACT: American Public Health Association, Press Office, Hilton Atlanta, Rockdale Room, +1-404-572-6471 (effective Oct. 20, 2:00 PM).
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