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Looking at Terrorism and Public Health

The events of 9/11 and the subsequent anthrax attacks of 2001 changed the scope of American public health work. In response to these terrorist acts, funding flooded public health departments so they could build their emergency preparedness infrastructure.
Looking at Terrorism and Public Health

This second edition features an article by NWCPHP's Director, Susan Allan.

November 18, 2011

The events of 9/11 and the subsequent anthrax attacks of 2001 changed the scope of American public health work. In response to these terrorist acts, funding flooded public health departments so they could build their emergency preparedness infrastructure. Almost over night, local and state public health departments were developing command systems and working with first responders. The goal was to be prepared to mitigate the impacts of future acts of terrorism.

In 2001, Susan Allan, MD, JD, MPH, Director of NWCPHP, was the Health Director for Arlington County, Virginia. During the events of that year, she and her staff navigated many challenges, including anthrax scares within her community (Listen to Allan's personal reflection about the events of 2001).

In the intervening years, Allan has watched public health develop its emergency preparedness identity and capacity. Some of her observations are found in a newly-released second edition of Terrorism and Public Health. Allan's article addresses the strengths and challenges of this rapid evolution of public health's role. She asks, "Has the net result of these changes been a distortion of public health priorities and funding? Or, alternatively, have these changes shocked public health departments into fundamentally reconsidering their roles and responsibilities and restructuring their programs to better serve their communities?"

The second edition of Terrorism and Public Health was released in November 2011 and is edited by Barry S. Levy and Victor W. Sidel.

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