NEW YORK CITY – December 14, 2006 – The New York City Health Department today announced that, in the past three weeks, more than 13,000 enrollees in the World Trade Center Health Registry (WTCHR) have completed a follow-up survey about their physical and mental health after 9/11. The Health Department urges all remaining enrollees to complete the re-survey as this is the first opportunity for enrollees to inform the Registry about their physical and mental health since 2004. The survey can be completed online or by returning a paper survey – depending on the contact information provided by enrollees. Data collection will continue for the next several months, and findings will be released to the public.
First established in 2003, the Registry monitors the symptoms and health conditions of many different groups affected by the attacks, including residents, rescue and recovery workers, office workers, people on the streets nearby, students and teachers in the area. The results should help health experts recognize and treat conditions potentially associated with exposure to the 9/11 attack and its aftermath. For example, in August 2006, the Health Department released clinical guidelines for NYC physicians that described optimal treatment approaches for respiratory and mental health conditions shown to be common in people exposed to the attacks (http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/chi/chi25-7.pdf).
"It is critical that all Registry enrollees participate in this short follow up survey to help us identify conditions that require further attention and to link people who need care to services," said Dr. Lorna Thorpe, Deputy Commissioner for Epidemiology and director of the Registry. "We thank all of our enrollees, for participating in the first survey. We are counting on your help again to learn as much as we can from this tragedy in order to help those affected."
How Enrollees Can Participate in the Follow up Survey
All enrollees who completed a 30-minute telephone interview during 2003 and 2004 are urged to participate in the follow-up survey. With a high response rate, the Registry will be able to better assess the health impact of 9/11 and determine how to help enrollees and others who were directly affected by 9/11. All enrollees who provided an e-mail address were sent an e-mail with a link to the on-line version of the survey. Those who did not provide an e-mail address were mailed a paper copy of the survey, which should be completed and returned in the pre-paid return envelope.
- Responses to the follow-up survey will provide an update on the current physical and mental health of 71,000 enrollees five years after the events of 9/11.
- The survey takes about 15-30 minutes to complete and is available in English, Spanish and Chinese. Other languages are available via a translation hotline.
- The follow-up survey includes many of the same health questions from the initial interview. It also includes new follow-up questions for specific groups in the Registry.
- The answers in this follow-up survey will be linked to the responses to the initial survey.
- Enrollee responses are protected by a Federal Certificate of Confidentiality. All information given will be kept strictly private and confidential.
- Enrollees are urged to keep their contact information updated so they can receive information about the Registry.
- In early 2007, a specialized pediatric follow-up survey will be sent to parents and guardians of enrollees under 18 years of age.
The Registry maintains a comprehensive directory of available resources and treatment options to benefit participants and others affected by the disaster at http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/wtc/wtc-resource.pdf.
The Registry is a collaborative effort between DOHMH and the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). It is the largest effort ever in the U.S. to systemically monitor the health of persons exposed to a large-scale disaster and a model for future or currently needed disaster surveillance efforts. For more information, please visit http://www.wtcregistry.org.