|Homeland Security Chief Medical Officer warns grads of disease outbreak risks|
|January 09, 2006|
The U.S. government must deal with disease outbreaks just like a terrorist attack, the newly appointed chief medical officer of the Department of Homeland Security told graduates of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Public Health's Health Policy and Administration certificate programs.
Dr. Jeffrey Runge said the United States must now look at health in a "whole new way," including preparing for and responding to significant health events, such as a pandemic outbreak of the bird flu virus.
"We need to reorganize, not to protect buildings, but to protect people," said Runge.
The graduation ceremony was held Saturday in the Tate-Turner-Kuralt building for 33 graduates of the department's Community Preparedness and Disaster Management (CPDM) and Health Care Management (HCM) certificate programs. CPDM graduates were primarily North Carolina community leaders in emergency services and other health fields who took the 12-month program to enhance their knowledge of management systems used to combat national and man-made disasters. The HCM graduates were comprised primarily of new or recent healthcare managers.
Runge told the audience that the work that must be done to prepare for a natural disaster, terrorist attack or disease outbreak will begin at the local and state level, not in Washington.
"As a nation, we are only as prepared as communities are prepared," said Runge. "That means we must be prepared from the top to the smallest community. We are only as strong as the weakest link."
Prior to being appointed to his current position, Runge was the Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and assistant chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte.
Taught almost entirely online, the Community Preparedness and Disaster Management and Health Care Management certificate programs offered by the Health Policy and Administration department are designed for working professionals seeking to expand their knowledge and training in their respective fields. For more information about either one of these programs, call (919) 966-4228 or email@example.com.
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For further information please contact Ramona DuBose either by phone at 919.966.7467 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.