January 24, 2003

The Association of Academic Health Centers has named Ronald R. Blanck, DO, president of the University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth, to its new Biodefense Council.

Comprising 12 current and former chief executive officers of academic health centers nationwide, the council is examining how academic health centers are participating in the development and operation of defenses against bioterrorism and other defense-related threats.

"Academic health centers need to be in the forefront of preparing for the consequences of weapons of mass destruction and particularly biologic agents because of the expertise on our campuses," said Dr. Blanck, a retired lieutenant general and former Army Surgeon General. "We are uniquely positioned to facilitate the coordinated planning of the various organizations who have responsibilities in this area."

"I am pleased that so many academic health center leaders will be engaging in this strategic planning effort to address critical national concerns. Academic health center leaders bring a wide range of expertise and experience in emergency preparedness issues that will make an invaluable contribution to policies and practices that will affect the health and well being of the entire nation," said Roger J. Bulger, MD, president of the AHC.

Heading the council is Gregory Eastwood, MD, president of the State University of New York Upstate Medical University, and past chair of the AHC board of directors. Biodefense activities were initiated by Dr. Eastwood who took office as chairman of the board soon after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

"Biodefense is a priority issue for the board of directors; the council is an outgrowth of our post-September 11 actions and highlights our commitment to protecting the nation"s health and well being in the many realms of academic health center responsibilities," Dr. Eastwood said.

The Association of Academic Health Centers is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the health of the people by advancing the leadership of academic health centers in health professions education, biomedical and health services research, and health care delivery. About 100 institutions are members of the national, non-profit association.


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