UNT Health Science Center Joins Consortium to Provide Bioterrorism Training to Health Professionals in Texas

February 1, 2006

UNT Health Science Center has joined a consortium of seven colleges to create the Texas Bioterrorism Continued Education Consortium, providing bioterrorism preparedness training for the next three years.

The federal Health Resources and Services Administration is funding the consortium with $4.5 million over the three-year period. UNT Health Science Center will receive a little more than $416,000 over the three years.

The seven-school consortium will include UNT Health Science Centerâ??s Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine; the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houstonâ??s School of Public Health, Center for Biosecurity and Public Health Preparedness, and School of Nursing; Texas A&M Universityâ??s School of Rural Public Health; the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio; the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston; the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas; and the University of Texas Health Center at Tyler. The Center for Biosecurity and Public Health Preparedness at UTHSC at Houston will serve as the lead organization, with Scott Lillibridge, MD, serving as project director.

At UNT Health Science Center, Peggy Smith-Barbaro, PhD, assistant professor and director of the division of health-related programs in TCOM, will serve as the principal investigator for the health science center. In this capacity, she will coordinate various divisions at the health science center, including TCOM and the Office of Professional and Continuing Education.

â??This is a great opportunity for us to participate in this program to develop the knowledge and skills of the healthcare workforce throughout Texas to address the consequences of bioterrorism and other public health emergencies,â? Dr. Smith-Barbaro said.

After completing training, participants should be able to recognize a terrorist event or other public health emergency; meet the acute care needs of patients, including pediatrics and other vulnerable populations; rapidly and effectively alert the public health system of an emergency event; and participate in a coordinated, multidisciplinary emergency response.

â??Weâ??re excited to be participating in this important training grant,â? said Marc B. Hahn, dean of TCOM. â??Currently, our medical students are trained in ways to deal with terrorism and mass casualties through the core disaster life support and basic disaster life support courses, so we understand the importance of training healthcare professionals to identify and work through emergency situations. This grant will provide our school with the opportunity to expand this training to healthcare professionals, outside of our university system, who are already in the field.â?

Currently, UNT Health Science Center also offers bioterrorism training through the Texas Public Health Training Centerâ??s Public Health Law program.

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Contact: Kay Colley 817-735-2553, cell 817-980-5090, e-mail kacolley@hsc.unt.edu.

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