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New York Medical College Center of Excellence in Precision Responses to Bioterrorism and Disasters Awarded $925,000 In State Funding

The Center’s continued increase of funding highlights critical need for bioterrorism and emergency preparedness research and training

Date: April 25, 2019
NYMC Center of Excellence Awarded $925,000 In State Funding
NYMC Center of Excellence Awarded $925,000 In State Funding
Media Contact:

Jennifer Riekert, M.B.A.
Vice President of Communications and Strategic Initiatives
New York Medical College
(914) 594-4552

Valhalla, NY, – The New York Medical College (NYMC) Center for Disaster Medicine, the New York State Center of Excellence in Precision Responses to Bioterrorism and Disasters, will receive $925,000 from New York State, a major increase in funding for a vitally needed program. New York State increased its financial support for the Center from an initial annual pledge of $500,000 to $925,000, 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, provides training for mass casualty incidents, natural disaster events and terrorism situations. 

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

“It’s great to be here today to thank those responsible for the renewal of funding for NYMC’s Center for Excellence,” said Alan Kadish, M.D., president of NYMC and the Touro College and University System. “I wish we didn’t need this Center. I wish responses to bioterrorism and disasters were a thing of the past, but unfortunately what we’ve seen in several places in just the last few weeks—from cyclones to terrorist attacks and threats of bioterrorism—suggest that this Center is more important than ever, and the training we provide here is crucially important.”

“This vital facility is the only facility of its kind, teaching mass casualty medicine and response. This grant is an investment—an investment in public safety, an investment in jobs, an investment economic multiplier and an investment tin Westchester County,” said New York State Senator Peter Harckham. “The issues related to disaster preparedness are not going away and we do need to be prepared. 

“The announcement today is so important because the Center for Disaster Medicine is the only Center of Excellence in the Hudson Valley and the only one in New York State focused on public health and safety,” said Westchester County Executive George Latimer. “The Center provides hands-on training and expert guidance in the response to both natural and man-made disasters, including mass casualty incidents, terror events, accidental explosions, chemical spills, and biological releases—catastrophic events that we in government, public safety and health care must be prepared for. Additionally, NYMC is also an economic engine for Westchester County, providing employment opportunities of all levels while contributing significantly to the health and safety of our community. All of this, and more, make this announcement so welcome. I thank my partner in government Sen. Peter Harckham for his efforts to secure this funding.”

Edward C. Halperin, M.D., M.A., chancellor and chief executive officer of NYMC, said, “The increase of funding from NYSTAR will allow the Center to continue to be on the cutting edge of disaster medicine. This funding will ensure our first responders and healthcare providers that they have the training and resources needed to feel prepared.”

“This is a very significant milestone in the history of NYMC and its expanding Center for Disaster Medicine. One of our key missions is providing not only education and research but service to the citizens of Westchester and the Hudson Valley region, and New York State. We hope the training that occurs here will do much to reduce the impact of any type of community-wide disasters that may occur. We hope that we help protect today’s citizens as well as tomorrow’s citizens as that ripple effect from that training done here today moves out in all directions,” said Robert Amler, M.D., dean of the School of Health Sciences and Practice and vice president for government affairs. 

David Markenson, M.D., medical director of the Center for Disaster Medicine, said, “The recognition by New York State of the importance of the Center and the additional funding will enable us to provide expanded offerings and train even greater numbers of students to assure New Yorkers that their first responders, law enforcement officers, healthcare institutions and providers and schools are educated and prepared to respond to mass casualty incidents, natural disaster events and terrorism actions while serving as a national model for preparedness research and education.”

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 on its Valhalla campus that will provide additional space for classroom learning, disaster, MCI and terrorism simulation and real-world, scenario-based training. This capital renovation expands the Center’s existing training facility that includes a unique stimulation facility for the most severe and dynamic environments. This facility will also provide an additional space for "austere medicine" training facility to conduct sensory-immersion training to first responders—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 the New York State Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR) Program and is housed in NYMC Center for Disaster Medicine, an internationally recognized resource. 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. 

New York State has established and currently supports 11 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 opening of this 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 Markenson, M.D., at (914) 594-1750 or disastermedicine@nymc.edu.

Press Conference for the Center of Excellence in Precision Responses to Bioterrorism and Disasters

About New York Medical College
Founded in 1860, New York Medical College (NYMC) 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 23,500 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, the Touro College of Dental Medicine at NYMC and the Touro College School of Health Sciences’ nursing program at NYMC. NYMC provides a wide variety of clinical training opportunities for students, residents, and practitioners.