9/11 - A Decade Later

September 6, 2011

As the country reflects on the tragic events of 10 years ago, Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health hosted a special conference to look back at the lessons learned and not learned from 9-11,  and what we should know and do to prepare for another terrorist attack or large-scale disaster. The conference explored the disconnects between what researchers have found and recommended and what policy makers have thus far enacted.

Hosted by the National Center for Disaster Preparedness (NCDP) and the Department of Epidemiology, the September 8th meeting brought together a unique combination of scientists, policy makers, and practitioners with expertise in planning for and responding to disasters.

Keynote speakers Dr. Margaret Hamburg, FDA Commissioner, and Dr. Nicole Lurie, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, discussed public health policy, reducing risk, and communications during catastrophic events.

At the conference, the NCDP made public the results of a dramatic new survey exploring public opinion on the state of national and individual readiness and whether recent events have made us feel less or more secure than in the past. (See Wall Street Journal article.)

The Center also released a new report underscoring the deep cuts in preparedness and response budgets across U.S. Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services.  These include dramatic cuts in public health training for disasters, research funding in the field, and hospital readiness programs.

Sandro Galea, MD, MPH, who chairs the Mailman School epidemiology department discussed his extensive research on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and other mental health consequences of 9-11 tragedy among rescue workers and for those living and working near Ground Zero.

A webcast of the conference will be available soon. Check back for details.

See conference agenda.