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Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release # 184-07
Monday, June 11, 2007

CONTACT INFORMATION:
Stu Loeser / John Gallagher (212) 788-2958
Andrew Tucker (DOHMH) (212) 788-5290


MAYOR BLOOMBERG ANNOUNCES IMPLEMENTATION OF RECOMMENDATIONS OF WORLD TRADE CENTER HEALTH PANEL

WTC Health Coordinator Hired and Multi-Institutional World Trade Center Medical Working Group Created

Half of WTC Health Registry Enrollees Have Completed First Re-survey, but More Than 30,000 Have Not Yet Responded


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced the creation of the City’s World Trade Center Medical Working Group and the appointment of the World Trade Center Health Coordinator, both recommended in the City’s February 2007 report, "Addressing the Health Impacts of 9/11." The Medical Working Group is charged with reviewing – in consultation with outside experts and others when appropriate – clinical and research findings on the potential health effects of WTC exposure. The members will also review the adequacy of health and mental health services available to WTC-exposed persons, and will advise city government on approaches to communicating health risk information. The new World Trade Center Health Coordinator will work to promote consistency and coordination of WTC health policies; provide a central repository of WTC health information and ensure effective communication with those who may be experiencing 9/11-related health effects. The panel that issued the report and recommendations was co-chaired by Deputy Mayor Linda I. Gibbs and Deputy Mayor Edward Skyler.

"We will do whatever is needed to take care of those who came to our aid after the City’s darkest day," said Mayor Bloomberg. "The new health panel and the WTC Health Coordinator are just two of the recommendations in the 'Addressing the Health Impacts of 9/11' report that our administration completed in February. We will continue our efforts to implement the other recommendations, especially those that call on the Federal government to fully fund the programs that take care of the physical and mental health needs of those affected by 9/11, and those potentially affected."


The Medical Working Group is co-chaired by Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs and Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, and is made up of the following members:

  • Thomas Aldrich, MD, Pulmonologist,
    Department of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center
  • Lung Chi Chen, PhD, Environmental Health/ Toxicologist,
    Department of Environmental Medicine, NYU Medical Center
  • Kitty H. Gelberg, Ph.D., MPH, Chief,
    Epidemiology and Surveillance Section, Bureau of Occupational Health, New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Occupational Health
  • William Halperin, MD, Chair,
    Department of Quantitative Methods, UMDNJ School of Public Health
  • Eli Kleinman, MD, Supervising Chief Surgeon,
    New York City Police Department
  • Susan Klitzman, DrPH, Environmental Epidemiologist,
    Hunter College, City University of New York
  • Phil Landrigan, MD, Professor and Chairman,
    Department of Community & Preventive Medicine, Professor of Pediatrics, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
  • Richard Leinhardt, MD, Chief Surgeon,
    Facial Plastic Surgery/Otorhinolarngolgy, NYC Department of Correction
  • Randall D. Marshall, MD, Psychiatrist,
    Columbia University and the New York State Psychiatric Institute
  • Jorge Petit, MD, Psychiatrist, Associate Commissioner for Program Services,
    Division of Mental Hygiene, New York City Health Department
  • David Prezant, MD, Pulmonologist, Chief Medical Officer,
    Office of Medical Affairs, New York City Fire Department, Co-Director WTC Medical Monitoring & Treatment Programs, New York City
  • Ramanathan Raju, MD, Executive Vice President and Corporate Chief Medical Officer,
    NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation
  • Joan Reibman, MD, Director, WTC Environmental Health Center and Associate Director,
    Medicine & Environmental Medicine, NYU Medical Center, Bellevue Hospital Center
  • Michele S. Slone, MD, Forensic Pathologist,
    Office of the Chief Medical Examiner
  • Lorna Thorpe, PhD, MPH, Deputy Commissioner,
    Division of Epidemiology, New York City Health Department

The Mayor also announced the appointment of Jeffrey Hon as the City’s World Trade Center Health Coordinator. In keeping with the recommendations of the February report, Mr. Hon will coordinate information outreach and service delivery to all those with physical and mental health issues potentially related to the 9/11 attacks. Mr. Hon will work closely with the new Medical Working Group, the Health Department’s World Trade Center Health Registry, the Police Department and Fire Department, other city agencies, treatment centers and community groups to ensure that services are coordinated and that relevant health information is conveyed to affected populations and the public. Mr. Hon’s responsibilities include the following:

  • Meet regularly with community groups, residents, local businesses and other stakeholders to solicit feedback and suggestions regarding 9/11 health issues
  • Guide the development of a website where the public and people with potentially WTC-related health issues can find timely, reliable information
  • Serve as a liaison between City government and treatment and monitoring programs, ensuring coordination of outreach and services
  • Convene liaisons from City agencies to share information about WTC-related health issues and treatment programs.

Prior to this position, Mr. Hon served as Communications Director for the New York-based September 11 Recovery Program, which provided long-term services for people affected by the 2001 terrorist attacks. He also has more than 12 years of experience in the fields of substance and alcohol abuse and mental health services. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Columbia University.

The Mayor also announced today that more than half of the 71,000 adult enrollees in the World Trade Center Health Registry (WTCHR) have completed the first follow-up health survey, but more than 30,000 enrollees still need to update their health and mental health status. An initiative to get responses from the remaining half of enrollees is now underway.

"Although more than 35,000 registrants have completed the survey, it is critical for all 71,000 registrants to give us an update on their health and mental-health status," said Commissioner Frieden. "Every individual illness or death potentially associated with the attacks is tragic. Registry enrollees are critical to helping us understand the long-term effects of 9/11."

The Health Department is also sending out the first follow-up surveys to the parents and guardians of the 2,030 children and teens enrolled in the Registry. The adolescent survey will provide updates on enrollees’ physical and mental health, including respiratory symptoms, and will help identify health-care needs of children enrolled in the WTCHR.

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