UW News

November 15, 2001

Nov. 27 community forum will discuss public health and bioterrorism

People can learn more about bioterrorism at a community forum featuring public health experts from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 27, in Room 110 of Kane Hall at the University of Washington, Seattle.

The meeting, coordinated by the UW School of Public Health and Community Medicine, is titled “Bioterrorism and Public Health: A Changing World and What You Can Do.”

“We’re hosting this meeting because recent events — including the anthrax scare — have provided public health with the opportunity to show what it does and why a strong local and state public health system is important,” said Dr. Patricia Wahl, dean of the School of Public Health and Community Medicine and a professor of biostatistics.

“Building the public health capacity to respond to bioterrorism serves the broader goal of having a good system in place to respond to natural disasters and events, which are much more likely to occur,” Wahl said.

That’s a point echoed by Dr. Mark Oberle, one of the speakers. He is associate dean for public health practice and a professor of epidemiology and health services.

“Bioterrorism is unlikely to affect people who will attend the meeting, but they have all the right reasons to be concerned, and to want to know more,” he said. “We hope to put some of the risk into perspective, and also talk about how individuals, families and the public health community can prepare for natural disasters that we almost certainly will face during our lives.”

Other speakers who are scheduled include:

– Dr. Alonzo Plough, director of the Seattle-King County Department of Public Health and a UW associate professor of health services. The topics he will address include how the local public health community and hospitals are working together to be prepared for all kinds of disasters.

– Dr. Patrick O’Carroll, affiliate associate professor of epidemiology and health services, who will talk about how federal and state officials and public health agencies prepare for disasters.

Additional speakers will address how people can manage their anxiety and worries during a period of uncertainty. There will be time for questions from the audience. There is no charge to attend. For more information, call (206 ) 543-1144.