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Release: March 26, 2002

NOTE TO EDITORS: Reporters interested in attending this conference should call the UI Center for Conferences and Institutes at (319) 335-4141 or toll free (800) 551-9029.

UI to host public health preparedness conference April 8

How the state of Iowa can improve its readiness for bioterrorism and other public health threats is the topic of the conference, "New Models for a New Reality: Improving Iowa's Preparedness Capacity," to be held Monday, April 8, at the Iowa Memorial Union in Iowa City.

The conference will bring together leaders in health, education, government, law, finance and communications to share their experiences and knowledge gained from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and subsequent threats, and to discuss strategies for strengthening Iowa's preparedness capacity.

"We must build on the experiences our nation suffered last year to ensure that we are better prepared should another assault take place," said Iowa Center for Public Health Preparedness director Christopher Atchison, University of Iowa College of Public Health associate dean for public health practice and associate professor of health management and policy. "This meeting brings together those who can point out lessons we've learned with those who can help shape Iowa policy, and thereby help protect all Iowans in the future."

U.S. Rep. Jim Leach (R-Iowa) is scheduled to speak on the policy environment for preparedness, and U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) will address the conference via videotape. Other scheduled speakers include Armond Mascelli, senior director of disaster services, American Red Cross; Steven Garner, M.D., senior vice president and chief medical officer, Saint Vincent Catholic Medical Centers, Jamaica, N.Y.; and Anthony Moulton, director, public health law program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Leaders and administrators from Iowa's hospitals and other health care organizations, emergency management personnel, environmental health specialists, extension staff, law enforcement, firefighters, emergency medical responders, laboratorians, nurses, pharmacists, veterinarians, environmental health specialists, local and state government officials, and those with an interest in the state's preparedness capacity are invited to attend the conference.

The conference is jointly sponsored by the UI College of Public Health's Iowa Center for Public Health Preparedness through a grant received from the CDC; the Center for Health Policy and Research; and the UI Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy, in cooperation with the College of Nursing.

To register, contact the UI Center for Conferences and Institutes toll free at (800) 551-9029 or (319) 335-4141. A web site with conference and registration information is available at