ALBUQUERQUE, NM UNM Health Sciences Center's Center for Disaster Medicine in the Department of Emergency Medicine received a critical injection of funds to train New Mexico healthcare professionals in detecting and medically responding to bioterrorist attacks.

The $1.14 million continuing education grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) will be used to help frontline healthcare officials throughout the state - including the Navajo Nation - recognize, treat and alert the public health system about a bioterrorism event in New Mexico.

"The program will provide training for primary care and specialty physicians, physician assistants, nurses, pharmacists, emergency medical service providers and others to recognize and respond to bioterrorism," explains Michael Richards, M.D., MPA, principle investigator  for the grant.

"We'll provide on-site training where practical and implement distance learning technologies, like the UNM Telehealth Network and the Internet, to ensure the medical profession is prepared statewide," Richards adds.

Other training opportunities will include a Medical Response to Terrorism Annual Conference and a Train the Trainer program to create groups of specially trained, local bioterrorism response experts across the state.

The $26.5 million in grants, awarded in 23 states, are the first in DHHS' Bioterrorism Training and Curriculum Development Program.

For more information on the continuing education program, contact UNM Health Sciences Center's Department of Emergency Medicine at 272-5062.

The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center's mission is to provide added value to health care through leadership in providing innovative, collaborative education; advancing frontiers of science through research critical to the future of health care; delivering health care services that are at the forefront of science; and facilitating partnerships with public and private biomedical and health enterprises. For more information on the UNM Health Sciences Center visit http://.hsc.unm.edu.

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Contact: HSC Public Affairs, 272-3322