BIOTERRORISM -- THE MEDICAL AND
PUBLIC HEALTH RESPONSE
WESTERN REGIONAL CONFERENCE
The Western Regional
Conference on BioTerrorism: The Medical and Public Health Response will be held
from February 3 through 5 at the La Jolla Marriott Hotel in San Diego,
California. Panelists are available
for interviews prior to and during the conference.
Conference Contact: (858) 534-3940
Media Contact: Eileen Callahan
(619) 543-6163 firstname.lastname@example.org
The threat of terrorist events such as the release of the nerve gas sarin
in a Tokyo subway in 1995 has led to a heightened awareness of the possibility
of a terrorist biological attack in the U.S.
“BioTerrorism: The Medical and Public Health Response” is
a western regional conference for medical care providers, emergency medical
services, public officials and community members scheduled for February 3
through 5 in San Diego, California.
“Now is the time to devise a plan for responding to a bioterrorist
attack with the collaboration of medical care providers and emergency medical
services, and to heighten public awareness to the threat of bioterrorism,”
said Harold J. Simon, M.D., Ph.D., FACP, Chief of International Health and Cross
Cultural Medicine, and Professor of Family and Preventive Medicine at University
of California, San Diego (UCSD).
The conference will focus on preparations underway and those that still
need to be made in the Western United States, Western Canada and Northern
Mexico, bringing representatives from local, state and national agencies
together to discuss plans to deal with an attack.
This conference will help to facilitate coordination and cooperation
between agencies and organizations that have very different missions and
philosophies, according to conference sponsors.
“As a military city located on the world’s most traversed
international border, it is critical that we have in place a comprehensive
strategy to defend against and respond to a bioterrorist assault on our
region,” said San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts.
Represented agencies include the Departments of Defense and Health and
Human Services; Federal Bureau of Investigation; FEMA; the Healthcare
Association of San Diego and Imperial Counties; University of California, San
Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine; Center for Counterterrorism Technology and
Analysis; Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC); San Diego
Police Department; San Diego County Board of Supervisors; the State of
California; and The Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Studies.
In the event of mass casualties, local and state medical care facilities
would potentially be overwhelmed. Conference
sessions will include the nature of the bioterrorism threat, and address
international, federal, state, and local agencies’ preparedness.
Panelists will discuss how a large metropolitan city with an
international border, major military installations and a large population of
tourists should prepare for detection of a threat, examine options and make
decisions during time of crisis, mobilize effective responses, and undertake
“To remain unprepared is to invite disaster,” said D.A. Henderson,
M.D., M.P.H, Director, The Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Defense Studies.
Henderson, who led the worldwide eradication of smallpox, is now focusing
his efforts on mobilizing health workers and the government against bioterrorism.
The conference will feature experts on three main topics: 1) education of
medical care providers and emergency medical services about early diagnosis, the
epidemiology, and appropriate responses to the most likely agents; 2)
understanding institutional and appropriate response roles, identifying
resources and limitations; and 3) public education on bioterrorism facts versus
A panel discussion on a scenario of the release of a smallpox virus will
cover medical community needs; public health monitoring and surveillance;
treatment and containment concerns; pharmaceutical, vaccine, and equipment
needs, and quarantine, decontamination and ongoing medical care.
Another panel discussion on “Operational Considerations: Responding to
the Threat” will cover inter-organizational coordination efforts, preparation
and plans for strengthening a response plan in the event of a bioterrorism
The final panel session will discuss informing the media and the public
about protection, accessible resources, bioterrorism preparedness and how
response objectives can be met.
The conference is sponsored by the County of San Diego, University of
California, San Diego, School of Medicine, and The Johns Hopkins Center for
Civilian Biodefense Studies in association with Science Applications
International Corporation (SAIC).
The UCSD School of Medicine, designates this educational activity for a
maximum of 16 CME hours in category 1 for credits towards the AMA Physician’s
Recognition Award. Each physician
should claim only those hours of credit that he/she actually spent in the
educational activity. For
registered nurses under the BRN guidelines, this course is accredited for 16
hours of nursing credit. For
further information or to register for the conference contact the University of
California, San Diego Continuing Medical Education, at (858) 534-3940.
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