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Mt Sinai J Med. 2006 Dec;73(8):1156-64.

Training needs of pediatricians facing the environmental health and bioterrorism consequences of September 11th.

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Stony Brook University School of Medicine, Stony Brook, NY, USA.



The September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks have been called "the worst environmental disaster in the history of New York City." As a result of the extensive nature of the destruction, our objective as pediatricians was to determine the experience and training needs of tri-state child health professionals in responding to the environmental health and bioterrorism-related demands placed on their practices.


American Academy of Pediatrics members in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey were sent either a web-based or a paper survey requesting demographic data and data about post-9/11 practice experience and perceived knowledge with regard to environmental health and bioterrorism.


Of the 1,396 respondents, 21% believed their practices to have been "very [much] affected" by the attacks. Eleven percent were often/very often asked by parents about air quality, 12.6% about environmental toxins, 4.3% about antibiotics for anthrax, and 4.2% about potassium iodide for nuclear events. Fifty-seven percent and 49.1% of respondents had patients present with environmental health and bioterrorism-related complaints, respectively. Most (86%) reported that their medical training had not sufficiently prepared them to meet these demands. Few considered themselves to be knowledgeable about bioterrorism (23.9%), local environmental issues (14%), air quality (11.4%), or environmental toxins (12.6%). Gender, race, practice setting, practice location, specialty, and level of training were associated with demands on practice. Location, age, years in practice, and gender were associated with level of preparedness.


Our results indicate that nearly all child health professionals would benefit from post-disaster education, especially trainees. A role for the pediatric associations in the dissemination of this crucial information is implied.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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