Center of Excellence in Precision Responses to Bioterrorism and Disasters Receives $1 Million in Funding
A press conference addressed the critical need for increased research and training bioterrorism and emergency preparedness
Elected officials gathered with New York Medical College (NYMC) and Touro College and University System (TCUS) leadership to announce $1,000,000 in increased funding for the Center of Excellence in Precision Responses to Bioterrorism and Disasters within the Center for Disaster Medicine (CDM). The funding is a major increase since an initial annual pledge from New York lawmakers of $500,000 in 2017 and $925,000 in 2019, a sum that is matched by NYMC in support of the expanding work and impact of the Center.
“We are here to thank members of the New York State Senate for their tremendous support and an unprecedented $1 million in this year’s budget in support of the mission of the Center for Disaster Medicine,” said Robert W. Amler, M.D., M.B.A., vice president for government affairs and dean of the School of Health Sciences and Practice.
New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a longtime supporter of NYMC, was in attendance along with Senators Peter Harckham and Anna Kaplan. Alan Kadish, M.D., president of NYMC and the Touro College and University System thanked the senators for their continued support of the CDM throughout the years and reiterated the importance of the Center.
“Despite everything we’ve accomplished as a society, disasters both natural and man-made still happen and that’s why the Center for Disaster Medicine is so important,” Dr. Kadish said. “Because regardless of where we think we are we know these challenges will happen in the future and the job of educating first responders, public health officials and the general public, about how to do better next time; how to respond better to the next pandemic is crucial for our society.”
Dr. Kadish called Senator Stewart-Cousins a “true friend” as she supports the Center even after no longer officially representing NYMC in the state senate. “Here we are in 2021 and we know there’s no typical emergency, we know that there’s no one way to handle anything that happens,” Senator Stewart-Cousins said. “We know that the responsibility of making sure that the public service and the public safety is secure falls on the government and falls on our health care system in a whole lot of ways.”
Senator Harckham, who represents the 40th Senate District which encompasses NYMC, said that after first seeing the Center he knew it was an initiative he wanted to support. “The medical college is on the frontline that guards the rest of us against the devastation and chaos of pandemics, mass casualty terrorism and the intensifying natural disasters that are ever-present today,” said Senator Harckham, “At a time when every resource is needed to fight the coronavirus pandemic, I am delighted that we could secure $1 million that will go to important programs, including additional training for first responders and hospitals, as well as new course offerings that teach pandemic preparedness and a safe return to school. This investment will not only help protect us but will also have a positive effect throughout our economy because the college is such an important economic engine.”
Senator Kaplan, who serves as chair of the Committee on Commerce, Economic Development and Small Business, reassured NYMC leadership that she truly believes in the CDM and how it can be an “economic engine,” for New York State while providing valuable training. “There are few programs in State government as effective or efficient as the Centers of Excellence and Centers for Advanced Technology, delivering a 25:1 return on investment, creating nearly 10,000 good-paying jobs and having a total positive economic impact of $2.6 billion,” Senator Kaplan said. “Beyond the numbers, these centers are literally changing the world by nurturing groundbreaking products, services and new technologies. That is why I was proud to join our Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Senator Pete Harckham in fighting to bring back $1 million for the Center of Excellence in Disaster Medicine, as part of a nearly $2 million increase for these programs statewide, so that we can continue to fuel local innovation and help build our economy back better from the pandemic.”
David S. Markenson M.D., M.B.A., medical director of the CDM, highlighted the importance of the training the Center does along with the role it played in advising institutions on safe ways to return employees or students to return to in-person activities. “Not only through a very trying budget year has our funding been maintained, but it has also been increased,” Dr. Markenson said. “We have many first responders here for training—without that funding, this training would not happen.”
The presentation concluded with remarks from Edward C. Halperin, M.D., M.A., chancellor and chief executive officer of NYMC, who also thanked the senators for their support. “We honor those who have chosen to lend their support to this Center,” Dr. Halperin said. “We express our thanks for senatorial support and we promise that at New York Medical College, great things are happening to make this world a safer place shielded from the ill stars.”