FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 11, 2007
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:
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:
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.
Stu Loeser/Jason Post (212) 788-2958
Andrew Tucker (Health Department)