Ten years ago, the September 11th and anthrax tragedies shook the country to our core.
All of us at the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) wanted to take the anniversary to remember those we lost and their loved ones — and to commemorate those who worked tirelessly and heroically to respond and protect us.
This project features first hand accounts from public health professionals who were pivotal in the response efforts — and these stories reveal the selflessness and bravery of these individuals, as well as illustrating the vital role that public health plays in protecting the health and safety of Americans. We know these memories are tough ones.
The stories range from the steps health officials took on September 11th in the face of uncertainty to practitioners who diagnosed and treated anthrax victims to lab directors who tested thousands of potential anthrax samples in rapid response time.
The contribution that public health makes in preventing, detecting and containing threats is often overlooked and underappreciated.
At TFAH, we believe every community in the United States should be prepared to meet the threats of bioterrorism, infectious disease outbreaks and natural disasters.In 2001, we experienced the unimaginable.
In 2011, we know we need to expect the unexpected.Over the past decade, we learned a lot of hard lessons about what it means to be adequately prepared for diseases, disasters and bioterrorism. We’ve made smart, strategic investments,and there’s been a lot of progress to show for it. We can be proud of the improvements that have been made. Of course, there is a lot left to be done, which will require further effort and investment. But, regardless, the field of public health preparedness was forever changed 10 years ago, and we should never forget why.
The top lesson we learn and relearn in each tragedy and emergency is that being prepared means we must sustain enough resources and vigilance so we can prevent what we can and respond when we have to.
TFAH would like to extend our thanks to all of the public health professionals who work unwaveringly to help keep us healthy and safe – and our thanks to all of the individuals and organizations who participated in this project, including the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, the National Association of County and City Health Officials, the Association of Public Health Laboratories,the American Public Health Association,the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), the Center for Biosecurity of UPMC,and numerous state and local health officials.
Governor Lowell Weicker, Jr., is a former three-term U.S. Senator and Governor of Connecticut and President of the Board of Directors of TFAH