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Building Academic–Practice Partnerships: The Center for Public Health Preparedness at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, Before and After 9/11

Morse, Stephen S.

Journal of Public Health Management and Practice: September-October 2003 - Volume 9 - Issue 5 - p 427–432

The Center for Public Health Preparedness at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health is part of a national network of academic centers established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to strengthen links between public health practice and academe, especially for public health workforce development. Since its inception in Fall 2000, the Center has been working in partnership with the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) on planning and competency-based training in emergency preparedness (including bioterrorism and infectious diseases) and evaluation. Initial programs with DOHMH included development of a 3-hour orientation to basic emergency preparedness for their workforce. In the wake of 9/11and the anthrax events, Center members gave over two dozen presentations at community forums, seminars, and clinical rounds, and over 100 press interviews, provided lay language information through community forum presentations and the School's Web site, and developed a database of volunteers for surge capacity. Subsequent programs include bioterrorism response training for clinicians and emergency medical services personnel, incident command for public health, and a study of evacuation from the World Trade Center on 9/11.

Stephen S. Morse, PhD, is the Director of the Center for Public Health Preparedness, and Associate Professor of Clinical Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York.

Corresponding author: Stephen S. Morse, Director, Center for Public Health Preparedness, Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health, 722 West 168th Street, New York, NY 10032 (e-mail:

This research was supported by CDC/ASPH Cooperative Agreement S1544–20/20 (November 2000-July 2002) and A1013–21/21 (from July 2002).

The author gratefully acknowledges funds for specific projects from the Achelis Foundation, Arts & Letters Foundation, NY Community Trust, and the Commonwealth Fund.

The author thanks Dr. Maureen Lichtveld, Centers for Disease and Control/Public Health Practice Program Office; colleagues Ayxa Calero-Breckheimer, Thomas Chandler, Paul Edelson, Wafaa El-Sadr, Kristine Gebbie, Robyn Gershon, Linda Young Landesman, Elliot Lazar, Jacqueline Merrill, Pat Molholt, Patrick S. Moore, Marita Murrman, Kristine Qureshi, Boaz Tadmor (Center for Public Health Preparedness); Isaac Weisfuse, Katherine Kaye, Marcelle Layton, Andrea Lyman, and John Egan (the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene); for specific projects, Carmen Ramos-Bonoan, Linda May, Linda Moskin, Mark Foggin, Richard Rosselli, Sue Blank, and George Contreras (the New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene), James Soto and Ed Wronski (New York State Department of Health Bureau of Emergency Medical Services); and Drs. Allan Rosenfield (Dean of the Mailman School), and Ezra Susser (Chair, Department of Epidemiology). All contributed of their time, vision, and skills with exceptional generosity and selflessness.

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.