New York State Assemblyman Thomas J. Abinanti joined with New York Medical College (NYMC) leadership to present a $250,000 grant for the Center of Excellence in Precision Responses to Bioterrorism and Disasters within the Center for Disaster Medicine (CDM). The funding will support the Center’s training of local health care professionals, emergency responders and law enforcement in emergency preparedness for disasters, terrorism and public health emergencies.
“Today we are here to acknowledge and give thanks to the state legislature for an additional appropriation to make the first step in becoming a national center for disaster medicine,” said Salomon Amar, D.D.S., Ph.D., vice president for research at NYMC, and senior vice president for research affairs for the Touro College and University System (TCUS).
Robert W. Amler, M.D., M.B.A., vice president for government affairs and dean of the School of Health Sciences and Practice, moderated the event and thanked Assemblyman Abinanti, for his longstanding supporting of NYMC and the Center. “Tom has been our friend from his days as a county legislator, and now in his role as our assembly member, supporting us in the area of disaster medicine,” Dr. Amler said.
Assemblyman Abinanti spoke on the progress he has seen at NYMC and the CDM and reinforced how vital the research and training conducted by the Center has been. “For the past 15 years, this Center has really been unique in serving the role of conducting interdisciplinary research, training, technical assistance and educational activities all related to emergency preparedness,” he said. “To see how far NYMC has come is just amazing.”
David S. Markenson M.D., M.B.A., medical director of the CDM, highlighted the impact the Center has had on regional emergency preparedness and how new facilities are needed to facilitate the increased demands for the Center’s services.
“The Center has really had a platform to prepare for all hazards. To be creative, to be forward-thinking, whether it’s training hospitals for mass casualties, but not training them in the standard approach, but breaking down the standard approach and saying, nice, orderly arrival isn’t what happens. We have chaos at the scene.” Dr. Markenson said. “Another [training] the Center does in economic development is not only to prepare [businesses] but talk about continuing operations and how they can continue to operate through these events.”
Richard G. Wishnie, commissioner of the Westchester County Department of Emergency Services, gave his vision for the CDM as not only a prominent center for research in New York but throughout the country. “We believe that an expanded mission for the Center will make it a national attraction that requires a modern facility, that will then attract students from around the nation,” said he said.