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Press Releases / 2004 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: APRIL 6, 2004

FDNY Awarded Multimillion Dollar Grant from NIOSH to Continue WTC Medical Monitoring

Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Long Island Occupational and Environmental Health Center, NYU School of Medicine, CUNY Queens College, and University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey's Robert Wood Johnson Medical School among grant recipients.

Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta today was joined by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) and Dr. Stephen Levin from the Mount Sinai Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine to announce the award of $81 million in grants from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Dr. Michael Galvin, Director of Extramural Programs for NIOSH was on hand to make the presentation and union representatives from the various agencies were also in attendance.

The eight grants will fund a five-year health-screening program of rescue workers involved in the rescue and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center. Of the total grant amount, the Fire Department will receive $25 million to monitor fire and EMS personnel. The other grant recipients for non-FDNY rescue workers include the Long Island Occupational and Environmental Health Center, the Mount Sinai Center for Occupational and Environmental Medicine at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, the NYU School of Medicine, the City University of New York’s Queens College and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey’s Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

“The ability to screen the long-term health of individuals who participated in the rescue and recovery effort at the World Trade Center is critical. Without this grant and the support of Senator Clinton, we would not have financial resources for this undertaking,” said Fire Commissioner Scoppetta. “Those individuals who selflessly dedicated themselves in the days and months after September 11th can rest assured that we will be able to identify any signs or symptoms that may indicate long-term illness as a result of their work.”

“This is a tremendous step toward fulfilling our promise to the firefighters, emergency workers and volunteers who labored at Ground Zero," said Senator Clinton. "Emergency response workers and volunteers risked their own lives to help save others on September 11th. This is evidence that America has not forgotten and a true expression of our moral obligation to the people who took care of us, on that terrible day and in the days that followed".

“Our Screening Program has found high rates of persistent respiratory and psychological problems among the WTC responders, even among those examined in recent months,” said Dr. Levin. “This underscores the importance of this long-term medical monitoring program for the 9/11 heroes: it will enable us to identify those men and women who have suffered persistent adverse health effects and the resources needed for their care. We’re grateful for the successful efforts of Senator Clinton and to the New York legislative delegation to secure the funding that makes this program possible.”

The funding will provide free, long-term medical monitoring of rescue workers who participated in the rescue and recovery work at the World Trade Center. The goal of the program is to identify any potential symptoms, injuries, or conditions that may indicate a long-term illness as a result of those operations. The Fire Department will provide in-house clinical evaluations to FDNY firefighters and EMS personnel including retired FDNY members. The remaining funding will go to the other grant recipients to monitor non-Fire Department personnel in a variety of locations throughout the metropolitan area.

HHS also awarded additional grants to the Fire Department and Mt. Sinai to develop and establish data centers that will coordinate between the various clinical sites performing the examinations. This information will help determine the ongoing needs and priorities of the health-screening program.

The agencies receiving funding from the grant will begin workgroup sessions this week and clinical evaluations will begin in the coming months.

Contact: Francis X. Gribbon / Virginia Lam (FDNY) (718) 999-2056

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