For Immediate Release
Contact: Kaylyn Kendall Dines
of Public Health
UMDNJ Hosts Town Meeting To Discuss Bioterrorism Preparedness
The "Biodefense: Is Newark Ready?" forum will take
place on Friday, May 16, at 2 p.m.
The University of
Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) will host a town
meeting to discuss the City of Newark's emergency preparedness
plan on managing and responding to bioterrorism, biological and
chemical attacks. The town meeting will be held on Friday, May
16, from 2 p.m. to 3:15 p.m., at the UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical
School,185 South Orange Avenue, Newark.
The forum, entitled
"Biodefense: Is Newark Ready?", will take place as part of a day-long
health conference that is being sponsored by the Institute for
the Elimination of Health Disparities at the UMDNJ-School of Public
Services (EMS) personnel, police, fire and health officials will
speak and answer questions from the public about Newark's plan
to combat biological and natural disasters. The town meeting will
also highlight measures the public can take to reduce panic and
cope with the psychological effects of terrorism that may involve
biological weapons such as anthax and smallpox.
Dr. Diane Brown, executive
director of the Institute for the Elimination of Health Disparities
at the UMDNJ-School of Public Health, said, "We are hosting this
town meeting on biodefense to educate the public about what our
individual and collective responsibilities are in case of a potential
terrorist attack involving City of Newark. The town meeting will
focus on up-to-date citywide preparedness plans from leaders in
local government, health and emergency agencies."
The Honorable Sharpe James,
mayor of the City of Newark, said, "More than 300 hospital workers,
primarily emergency department personnel, received training in preparedness
and response for bioterrorist events, mass casualty and weapons
of mass destruction events. As a result of this collaboration between
the hospitals, particularly UMDNJ, the State of New Jersey Police
and the Newark Department of Health and Human Services, the City
of Newark is better prepared to provide for the health and safety
of residents and visitors."
director of training and education at UMDNJ's Center for Biodefense,
said, "The town meeting is intended to be a great benefit to the
residents of Newark and it is important to let them know we are
here for them. This face-to-face contact gives us an opportunity
to interact with residents who may not have access to computers
or other technology-based resources."
health director for the City of Newark's Department of Health
and Human Services, said, "The city's Department of Health and
Human Services' role as lead agency for Newark's domestic preparedness
can only be successful with the continued collaboration of UMDNJ
and other hospitals that care for Newark residents. That UMDNJ
provides quality health care every day testifies to the institution's
continued commitment to the citizens of Newark."
The town meeting is
being funded by a grant from the federal Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC). Town meetings on biodefense also will be
held in Camden and Trenton.
In addition to the
town meeting on biodefense, the health conference also includes
topics such as asthma, diabetes, glaucoma, oral health, obesity,
participation in clinical trials, hypertension, immunization and
"The information we
gather from workshop presenters will be compiled to create a public
health policy document," Dr. Brown said, "which we hope will be
useful for legislators who need a blueprint for improving the
health and wellness of New Jersey citizens."
The health conference
is one event taking place during Newark Health Renaissance Weekend,
which begins on Thursday, May 15, and continues through Sunday,
May 18. The city-wide collaborative venture is designed to promote
health, physical fitness and proper nutrition. Additional activities
include a kick-off celebration, health festival, and an opportunity
for men, women and children to participate in an Electric Slide
dance-a-thon to establish a ranking in the Guinness Book of World
Records. Faith-based organizations will also host health fairs,
panel discussions and health screenings. For more information
about the health conference at UMDNJ, call 973-972-7289 or visit
the following Web site www.umdnj.edu/comreweb/comm_part/index.htm.
For additional information about Newark Health Renaissance Weekend
activities, call 973-733-5354.
The University of
Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey comprises the state's only
three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school
of biomedical sciences, school of health related professions,
school of nursing and a school of public health on campuses in
Scotch Plains, Camden and Stratford. UMDNJ also operates
in Newark and University Behavioral HealthCare. It is affiliated
with more than 200 health care and educational institutions throughout