ByGeorge! Online

March 4, 2003

GW To Share $5 Million Congressional Appropriation For First Responder Training Center at Virginia Campus

Appropriations Bill Establishes Response to Emergencies and Disasters Institute; University’s Partners to Include George Mason and Shenandoah Universities

By Barbara Porter

GW will spearhead an effort to create a first responder training center on its Virginia Campus with funding recently approved by Congress. The $5 million appropriation will establish the Response to Emergencies and Disasters Institute (READI) to train firefighters, EMS personnel, law enforcement, and other healthcare providers in an integrated approach to major emergencies including terrorism. READI will focus on providing emergency responders with a thorough understanding of the health and medical requirements of emergency preparedness while developing and demonstrating “best practices” for emergency personnel nationwide. Partnering with GW in this project will be George Mason University and Shenandoah University.

“This is an opportunity to showcase the academic expertise that distinguished us even before Sept. 11, 2001, in the area of emergency preparedness,” says GW President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg. “Our campus in Loudoun County is a vibrant and growing research community where such a training center can thrive and meet the challenge of developing programs for preparedness and homeland security with our other academic partners.”

John F. Williams, MD, EdD, provost and vice president for health affairs, notes that funding is just the beginning of a long-range collaboration. “Since the tragic events of Sept. 11, we have worked tirelessly to advocate ‘best practices’ in the healthcare response to terrorism. This funding enables us to work quickly to implement training programs that are needed by our first responders as they are confronted with a variety of emergency challenges including terrorism.”

“This initiative connects well with our overall academic and research mission to become a world-class leader in safety and security,” says John S. Wilson, executive dean of the Virginia Campus. “We already have significant strength in generating and transferring the knowledge needed to make our transportation systems more safe and secure, and READI provides us with a significant medical and public health complement to that.”

Rep. Frank Wolf (R–VA) says, “Each university brings something to the table. By combining the talents of George Washington’s medical school and school of public health, George Mason’s nursing school, and Shenandoah’s pharmacy school, the center has the potential to become a premier training facility.”


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