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HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson announced today that as a result of his meetings in New York with Governor George Pataki and Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was sending 35 members of its Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) to assist the New York City Health Department in the ongoing monitoring of public health matters.
The city is rightfully maintaining a close watch on public health conditions as the recovery effort continues. The CDC experts will provide additional workforce and expertise to state and local officials in this endeavor.
"Governor Pataki and Mayor Giuliani are rightfully making the public health and safety of New York residents the utmost priority, and this means vigilant monitoring of health conditions as the recovery effort continues," Secretary Thompson said. "The CDC workers will supplement local efforts in this regard and provide expertise in matters relating to public health. We're responding as rapidly as possible to any needs for resources the city and state need."
The EIS officers will be assigned to hospitals to assist New York health officials and physicians monitor diseases; conduct a medical and health needs assessment; identify existing health problems, such as dust or allergic reactions; and determine if there are new medical needs and if already deployed resources are better used elsewhere. The team will assist New York City hospitals 24 hours a day as directed by state and local health officials.
"During a disaster such as this, the normal public health challenges of a major city are still there and must be addressed. The CDC is offering its support to fill in wherever New York City public health officials believe they can be of most help," Secretary Thompson said. "After meeting with the Mayor and Governor and touring the disaster sites, it is clear the remarkable job these two leaders are doing. And the enduring efforts of law enforcement, firefighters, emergency workers and volunteers speaks tremendously to the resilient spirit of America."
The EIS is a unique highly competitive two-year, post-graduate program of service for health professionals interested in public health. Every year, CDC's Epidemiology Program Office selects 60-80 people to enter the EIS and pursue on-the-job training in applied epidemiology skills, acquiring skills vital to maintenance of public health. EIS officers continue to play a major role in the implementation of CDC's mission of preventing disease and injury and promoting healthy lifestyles. The EIS was established in 1951.
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