The Centers for Disease Control and prevention will provide $8.5 million over the next five years to establish the .
The institute will be part of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health.
Emory University in Atlanta also received funding for a center.
The centers are two of seven set up by the CDC as what the agency titles Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Centers.
“This is yet another way to expand the efforts by our nation’s schools of public health to enhance state and local emergency preparedness efforts,” said Richard Besser, director of CDC’s Coordinating Office for Terrorism Preparedness and Emergency Response. “These research centers will connect public health with scientists involved in business, engineering, legal, and social sciences to incorporate multiple perspectives into preparedness and response research which can be used to strengthen our nation’s response capability.”
Researchers will focus on evaluating disease surveillance and reporting systems, emergency alerting systems and other matters related to emergency response capacity.
"What will come out of this center will improve the quality of preparedness and response to all hazards, from hurricanes to contagious diseases to suspected terroristic acts," said Edward Baker, a professor of health policy and management at UNC. Baker, who was the principal investigator for the grant, will serve as the center’s director.
"I believe one of the reasons we secured the grant is that North Carolina is seen as a laboratory for practice research due to its innovative public health preparedness surveillance and response systems,” Baker said.
Researchers from several other universities will also participate in the center’s research efforts.
The seven schools, first-year funding and research priorities are:
- Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia – Create and Maintain Sustainable Preparedness and Response Systems, $1,562,676
- Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts – Generate Criteria and Metrics to Measure Effectiveness and Efficiency, $1,717,286
- Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland – Preparedness to Address the Risks of Vulnerable Populations, $1,495,398
- University of Minnesota, Minneapolis – Enhance the Usefulness of Training, $1,470,307
- University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill – Create and Maintain Sustainable Preparedness and Response Systems, $1,695,189
- University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – Create and Maintain Sustainable Preparedness and Response Systems and Generate Criteria and Metrics to Measure Effectiveness and Efficiency, $1,701,845
- University of Washington, Seattle, Washington – Improve Communications in Preparedness and Response, $1,270,632