HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson today announced the awarding of eight grants to fund an $81 million, five-year health screening program of New York City firefighters and other workers and volunteers who provided rescue, recovery, and restoration services at the World Trade Center disaster site. The grants will allow the recipients to conduct three, free, standardized clinical examinations for each eligible individual over the next five years.
“Today’s action will further assess the health of the brave men and women who worked day and night in the rescue and recovery at Ground Zero,” HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said. “These grants will assure that the health screening of the World Trade Center rescue and recovery workers will continue without interruption.”
HHS awarded the grants to the New York City Fire Department, the Long Island Occupational and Environmental Health Center, the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, the New York University School of Medicine, the City University of New York’s Queens College, and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey’s Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
Of the more than 40,000 workers and volunteers who were present at Ground Zero, all of the approximately 11,000 New York City firefighters and about 11,000 other rescue workers have already received initial examinations through previous funding from HHS. These additional free, long-term examinations will help employers and public health professionals identify symptoms, injuries, or conditions that may indicate long-term illness as a result of the World Trade Center rescue and recovery operations, so that interventions can be pursued.
HHS also awarded grants to the New York City Fire Department and the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, New York, N.Y, to develop data and to establish coordinating data centers. This will assure good, ongoing coordination between the various clinical sites that will perform the examinations. This will also support the development of databases of information that will help determine the ongoing needs and priorities of the health-screening program.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) will administer the grants