FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, May 8, 2002
Contact: NIEHS Press Office
(301) 402-3378
SAMHSA Press Office
(301) 443-8956

HHS AWARDS $10.5 MILLION FOR TRAINING, RESEARCH TO ADDRESS
HEALTH CONCERNS RELATED TO WORLD TRADE CENTER ATTACKS


HHS Also To Award More Than $2 Million For Services To Sept. 11 Rescue Workers

HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson today announced 12 grants worth $10.5 million to fund research and training to address health concerns in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

In addition, Secretary Thompson announced the availability of more than $2 million in special grants for mental health and substance abuse services for firefighters, police and other rescue workers who responded to the terrorist attacks. These funds will be awarded to as many as six applicants serving public safety workers in New York and others states affected by the Sept. 11 attacks.

"When the terrorists attacked, we turned to firefighters, police officers and other rescue workers to save lives and help America recover," Secretary Thompson said. "These grants will help fulfill our obligation to these brave men and women by supporting needed research, training and health services to protect their health and well-being."

"The New York City Fire Department is grateful for the continuing support from the federal government and the Department of Health and Human Services," said New York City Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta. "The availability of funding for substance abuse and mental health services and hazardous materials training will ensure that the Fire Department is able to provide its members with the highest level of protective and preventive care in the aftermath of Sept. 11."

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), which is part of HHS' National Institutes of Health, is funding six training grants and six research grants to address immediate and long-term worker and community health protections arising from the World Trade Center attacks.

A total of $6 million will support education and training efforts, including training new and current hazardous material teams for the New York City Fire Department, environmental remediation workers, site cleanup workers and hazardous material teams on response to weapons of mass destruction. The awards are as follows:

In addition, a total of $4.5 million will support research organizations' efforts to conduct exposure assessment, epidemiology, and community outreach in the Lower Manhattan area. These awards are as follows:

"When we saw the bravery of rescue workers on television on Sept. 11 and thereafter, we rushed to get them the best safety equipment possible," NIEHS Director Kenneth Olden said. "We hope those efforts helped minimize future health problems, and now we are following up with studies of these heroes — as well as with safety training for the future."

In addition, HHS' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) also will award as many as six grants to support services for public health workers in states that were directly impacted by the Sept. 11 attacks — New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia — and in nearby states — Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island. The grants will total more than $2 million in the first year and could be extended up to three years.

"Trained to cope with fear and stress and to act effectively in emergencies, rescue workers are more familiar with danger and loss of life than many," SAMHSA Administrator Charles G. Curie said. "However, our experience with the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing warns that these workers are also among the most vulnerable to long-term emotional and substance abuse problems. These grants will sustain our initial efforts to support the front line at home."

Eligible applicants for the SAMHSA grants include community-based mental health providers, nonprofit employee assistance programs, occupational health organizations, and voluntary organizations, including faith-based organizations, as well as states themselves, local governments, private nonprofit agencies, and Indian tribes and tribal organizations.

The deadline for receipt of applications for these grants is June 19, 2002. Interested parties can request an application kit for the Public Safety Workers Mental Health Program (SM 02-006) by calling 1-800-789-2647 or by visiting http://www.samhsa.gov.

###


Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are available at http://www.hhs.gov/news.