A facility opens tomorrow in Iowa City that aims to arm health care workers statewide with information about new and emerging infections. Christopher Atchison is the director of the new Iowa Center for Public Health Preparedness. He says they’ll be looking at things such as infectious disease and trying to link up experts with those on the front lines, such as emergency workers.Atchison is associate dean for public health practice at the University of Iowa. He says the U-of-I’s College of Public Health won a federal grant to create the new center as a part of the Centers for Disease Control, based in Atlanta, Georgia. Atchison says the center’s mission will be to give doctors and other “first responders” immediate access to the experts in whatever area of concern arises. This center has been in the planning stages for years, he says, and its opening now — on the heels of anthrax scares — is coincidental. He says the C-D-C has been working for a long time to acquaint the public with the need for a better way to more quickly respond to health threats. He says the recent incidents of bioterrorism add another and more tragic dimension to public health concerns.
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