CDC names Anderson to national task force
(Oct. 27, 2004)
Alice Anderson, an assistant professor of environmental health sciences and safety at East Carolina University, has been selected as one of 20 "Emerging Leaders in Public Health" by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
After attending a weeklong conference in Louisville, Ky., that focused on bio-terrorism preparedness and prevention, Anderson was chosen to attend the national leadership institute. In January she will join a small group of scientists, legislators, military and environmental health officials from across the country to develop strategies to help communities incorporate environmental public health in their emergency response and bioterrorist management plans.
"It will be interesting to learn from people in different organizations from across the United States," Anderson said. "One of the problems for environmental health is that public health officials haven't been systematically involved in emergency response planning in the past. We need to offer our help and expertise during the planning stages. Being involved in planning emergency response will also give environmental health officials a better concept of the whole bioterrorism/emergency response picture, to improve our effectiveness."
The CDC-sponsored national group will meet every few months during the coming year in different parts of the country. Anderson said she hopes to share the knowledge she will glean from her CDC leadership experience with both her students and the community. She also hopes ECU students who intern at public health departments in the region will take information with them about the skills that environmental health practitioners can bring to emergency response.
"Environmental health specialists do surveillance for air pollution problems, vector borne disease and waterborne disease," she said. "Since we're talking about prevention, we must have continuous surveillance for these potential bioterrorist agents. If not, we won't know if there is anything new or unusual. We also have to get in on the planning stages of emergency response and have a stake in it to ensure that this critical aspect of bioterrorism response, using trained professionals, is included in preparedness programs nationwide."