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College Center of Excellence in Precision Responses to Bioterrorism and Disasters Awarded $1 Million

Increase in Center’s funding demonstrates the critical need for increased research and training in COVID-19 response, bioterrorism and emergency preparedness

Date: April 13, 2021
Center for Disaster Medicine receives $1 Million Grant
Center for Disaster Medicine receives $1 Million Grant
Media Contact:

Jennifer Riekert, M.B.A.
Vice President of Communications
and Strategic Initiatives
New York Medical College
(914) 594-453

Valhalla, NY – The New York Medical College (NYMC) Center of Excellence in Precision Responses to Bioterrorism and Disasters will receive $1,000,000 from New York State, a major increase in funding for a vitally-needed program. New York State has continued to increase its financial support for the Center from an initial annual pledge 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.

In 2017, NYMC and New York State, with the support Westchester County’s key state legislators and policymakers, took a giant leap toward making New Yorkers safer by creating the Center of Excellence in Precision Responses to Bioterrorism and Disasters within the NYMC internationally recognized Center for Disaster Medicine. The Center of Excellence in Precision Responses to Bioterrorism and Disasters, the first of its kind in New York and a unique civilian resource nationally, conducts research, informs the public, and provides training for mass casualty incidents, natural disaster events and terrorism situations. It is funded through the New York State Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR) Program. This program, administered by Empire State Development, is designed to provide innovative and technologically advanced training and education to the workforce in New York State. 

The Center of Excellence in Precision Responses to Bioterrorism and Disasters combines NYMC’s expertise in disaster medicine and medical countermeasures and works with partners across New York State to increase the capacity of first responders, law enforcement, hospitals, health care systems, schools and businesses to respond to disasters, acts of terrorism and public health emergencies.

“After an unprecedented year that continues to challenge individuals and communities, emergency preparedness has never felt more vital,” said Robert W. Amler, M.D., M.B.A., dean of the School of Health Sciences and Practice and vice president of government affairs. “The Center’s rapid response to COVID-19 with its weekly public bulletins and regular technical webinars demonstrate s the importance of facilities like this. We are grateful that New York State has recognized this. The increased funding enables us to ensure New Yorkers are properly informed and our first responders and healthcare providers are equipped with the training and resources they need to feel prepared.”

“I am proud of all the work being done at New York Medical College’s Center for Disaster Medicine, the only Center for Excellence in the Hudson Valley, and thank my colleagues in the Senate for joining me to help fund this vital institution,” said New York State Senator Pete Harckham. “The Center teaches state of the science strategies to address natural, chemical and biological threats, which it has shared with countless collaborative partners in the region. Its disaster training programs benefit medical professionals and first responders across the state, making our communities safer as a result.”

This increased financial support will allow NYMC to expand the training programs for hospitals, health systems, law enforcement and first responders throughout New York State. The school has committed funding for the renovation of a new state-of-the-art dedicated training facility with additional space for classroom learning real-world, scenario-based simulation training. The Center’s unique simulation facility prepares responders and providers for the most severe and dynamic environments including "austere medicine" and “sensory-immersion” training— particularly SWAT teams and their medical components — a resource unmatched anywhere in the United States outside of the military and specialized federal government facilities.

The Center of Excellence in Precision Responses to Bioterrorism and Disasters at NYMC received its designation in 2017 as a Center of Excellence by New York State has established and currently supports 11 NYSTAR Centers of Excellence throughout the State. Three such centers exist in Rochester, two each in Buffalo and Long Island, and one in Syracuse, Albany and Binghamton. Prior to the designation of the Center in Valhalla, the Hudson Valley had no such designation.

For more information on this and other training programs offered by the Center of Excellence in Precision Responses to Bioterrorism and Disasters at NYMC, please contact the medical director, David S. Markenson, M.D., M.B.A., at (914) 594-1750 or disastermedicine@nymc.edu.

About New York Medical College

Founded in 1860, New York Medical College is one of the oldest and largest health sciences colleges in the country with nearly 1,500 students and 330 residents and clinical fellows, more than 2,600 faculty members and 23,200 living alumni. The College, which joined the Touro College and University System in 2011, is located in Westchester County, New York, and offers degrees from the School of Medicine, the Graduate School of Basic Medical Sciences, the School of Health Sciences and Practice, a School of Dental Medicine and a School of Nursing. NYMC provides a wide variety of clinical training opportunities for students, residents, and practitioners.