Chemical and biological terrorism is a real, ever-present threat. Rapid advances in genetic engineering have opened the door for small terrorism groups to tailor and easily turn biological viruses into weapons. Test tube terrorism has sadly become part of the norm. On March 20, 1995 in Japan, members of a cult movement released sarin in the Tokyo subway system during rush hour, killing 12 people, severely injuring 50 and causing temporary vision problems for nearly 5,000 others. On September 18, 2001, one week after the September 11 attacks, letters containing anthrax spores were mailed to several news offices and two U.S. Senators, killing five people and infecting 17 others with another 30,000 forced to undergo treatment.
Senator Murphy, who led the way in securing funding for the Center, was among the speakers at the event announcing the Center’s opening, which included Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino, Assemblyman Thomas Abinanti, and Keith Olson, President of the Affiliated Police Associations of Westchester County. Dean Robert Amler, M.D., MBA, Vice President of Government Affairs at NYMC, served as moderator. Staff and guests included Dr. Sherlita Amler, Commissioner of the Westchester County Department of Health; Jay P. Goldsmith, D.M.D., President and Dean of The Touro College of Dental Medicine (TCDM) at New York Medical College; Marsha Gordon, President and CEO of the Business Council of Westchester; and Amy Allen, Vice President of the Westchester County Association.
“Since our founding in 1860, New York Medical College (NYMC) has educated women and men in the health professions to enable our graduates to help society respond to urgent community health-related threats. Contemporary threats include previously unexperienced bacterial and viral diseases, hurricanes, flooding, terrorist attacks, and toxic environmental pollution,” said Edward C. Halperin, M.D., M.A., chancellor and chief executive officer of NYMC. “This Center of Excellence in Precision Responses to Bioterrorism and Disasters allows us to expand our research on preparedness planning, training, and response strategies for community-wide emergencies, and help protect us all against biological and chemical threats.”
Edward C. Halperin, M.D., M.A., chancellor and chief executive officer
Robert W. Amler, M.D., M.B.A., dean of the School of Health Sciences and Practice and vice president for government affairs
Michael J. Reilly, Dr.Ph. ’10, M.P.H., Director of Center for Disaster Medicine, Associate Professor of Environmental Health Science, and Associate Professor of Clinical Emergency Medicine