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New York City Seal
Press Release
New York City Department of Health
Office of Public Affairs
CONTACT: Ed Skyler / Jordan Barowitz / Jerry Russo
Sandra Mullin (DOH) / Frank McCarton (OEM)
Monday, June 24, 2002
(212) 788-2958
(212) 788-4748 (DOH)
(718) 422-4888 (OEM)


Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Agency Commissioners, and Federal and State partners today participated in a bioterrorism tabletop exercise organized by the New York City Department of Health (DOH) and the City's Office of Emergency Management (OEM) at OEM headquarters. The exercise focused on the decision-making, interagency coordination, and communication to the public that would be critical in the City's response to the intentional release of a biological agent. The exercise was moderated by Michael Osterholm, M.D. PhD., MPH, Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center School of Public Health and an advisor consultant to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on public health preparedness for bioterrorism.

Participants included Deputy Mayor Marc Shaw, DOH Commissioner Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, OEM Commissioner John T. Odermatt, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta, Health and Hospitals President Benjamin Chu, MD, Chief Medical Examiner Charles S. Hirsch, MD, Environmental Protection Commissioner Christopher O. Ward, Corrections Commissioner William Fraser, Department of Transportation First Deputy Commissioner Judith Bergtraum, and senior officials from the City's Law Department, and the Greater New York Hospital Association. Also participating were representatives from the Federal Bureau of investigation, the New York State Department of Health and other key State and Federal agencies.

"This tabletop exercise demonstrates how the City of New York is continuing to prepare for any possible contingency," said Mayor Bloomberg. "By bringing together the City's commissioners, their expert staff, and leaders from our State and Federal sister agencies, today's exercise represents an important step and one of the many preventive strategies that New York is undertaking to enhance our capacity to effectively respond to a bioterrorist attack."

The exercise reviewed a number of decision points that would be critical if an event were to occur. Examples of these include identifying where an event/exposure may have occurred, providing rapid medication distribution and care to those at risk and coordinating transportation and possible quarantine issues.

The City has conducted several drills and tabletop exercises over the past several years to prepare for the possibility of a bioterrorist attack, these drills were key to the effective interagency response during last fall's anthrax and World Trade Center attacks. Last month, OEM and DOH conducted TRIPOD, a drill that tested the City's capability of rapidly providing medication to large numbers of New Yorkers. Additionally, a $26 million grant received by DOH from HHS earlier this month will greatly enhance the City's capacity for bioterrorism preparedness.

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