Congressman Jose Serrano Champions Funding for University to Focus Scholarship on Terrorism Prevention And Best Practices for Emergency Responders New York University today announced that it has been selected to establish a new, federally-funded center to improve responses to major terrorist attacks and natural catastrophes. Some $7 million has been allocated by Congress for The Center for Catastrophe Preparedness and Response.

The Center will make use of NYU scholars to analyze “best practices” in preparedness and response and develop case studies and training materials for emergency personnel nationwide; to develop techniques and policies to enable health systems to respond well to large-scale emergencies and bio-terrorism; to develop and assess early warning systems to detect biological, chemical or radiological attacks; and to review the psychological and legal implications of terrorist attacks.

The Center for CPR was conceived in the months following the attacks of September 11 when NYU was approached by Congressman José E. Serrano. The Congressman envisioned one center in a critical location that could work closely with New York City and State, as well as the federal government, to look beyond the terrorist attacks and advise on how to best prepare for such future emergencies, catastrophes and disasters.

Congressman Serrano said, “In the year since 9/11, the urge to find some way to help has not abated; it has grown stronger. With this center our mission of ‘never again’ will become a reality. ”

“Our nation’s universities are the great storehouses of our intellectual capital. Just as we have mobilized our military and our law enforcement agencies, so, too, must we tap this resource. Our thinking will have to be far-reaching, imaginative, and incisive. I believe that the work done at NYU through this center – which can draw on established scholars and experts in biomedicine, computer science, and public management, among other areas – can better prepare us for the next attack, can minimize it, and may even prevent it.”

Dr. Robert Berne, NYU’s Senior Vice President for Health and the Center’s principal investigator, said, “In the days immediately following the September 11th attacks, our city’s emergency workers painted an indelible portrait of virtues: courage, resolve, indefatigability. They were a source of immense pride and steadfastness to us in an uncertain and difficult moment.

“As time provides more perspective, we need to turn a more analytic eye towards that day. The attacks of September 11th exceeded our darkest imaginings; no wonder, then, that they exceeded the planning and preparations of the finest emergency units in the world.

“NYU has formulated an integrated approach in its counter-terrorism studies that will have applications in the areas of health, biomedicine, mental health, public service and urban planning, information technology, public policy, infrastructure and telecommunications, and the law and individual rights. Consistent with the mission of the University, this cross-disciplinary approach will provide a comprehensive analysis of one of the greatest quandaries of our lives.

“Having now seen the scope of what terrorists can and are willing to do, we need to think of new possibilities and develop new plans. One of the roles that universities play is to try to find meaning and lessons from the senseless and mysterious. And that is the role NYU will play here: our outstanding scholars can shine on a range of issues that can leave our nation much better situated should we ever have to confront such a situation again.

“What do first responders need to know about our infrastructure, disease, trauma, and civil liberties? These are some of the issues our center will address with a focus on effective applications of the best conceptual and empirical analysis the University has to offer. We will partner with the U.S. Department of Justice to link state-of-the-art knowledge to a critical national need. Although the Center is in its earliest stages, the response of our scholars has been outstanding.”

John Sexton, NYU’s President, said, “This University was born of this city. It was founded with the very idea that an institution of higher education should not be isolated from cities, as so many are, but that it can draw strength from urban vibrancy, and it can give something in return. In the aftermath of 9/11, one of the chief characteristics by which we shall all be measured is the kind of contribution we make; this Center is an important demonstration of what NYU can give: we can turn our expertise and energies to a problem that we now all live with every day, and perhaps we can make living with it a little easier. I would like to thank Congressman Serrano for his long-standing belief in this University, and for his foresight on this issue.”

New York University, located in the heart of Greenwich Village, was established in 1831 and is one of America’s leading research universities. It is one of the largest private universities. Through its 14 schools and colleges, NYU conducts research and provides education in the arts and sciences, law, medicine, business, dentistry, education, nursing, the cinematic and dramatic arts, music, public administration, social work, and continuing and professional studies, among other areas.

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