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Awarded Grant - Acute Care

Behavioral Health Effects of September 11, 2001

FOA Number: CE04-001 - Public Health Research Awards
Project Period: 9/30/04–9/29/07
Application/Grant Number: 1-K01-CE000494-01
Principal Investigator: Charles DiMaggio, PhD, MPH
Director, Program for Healthcare System Preparedness
Columbia University, New York
722 West 168 Street, Room 1040
New York, NY 10032
Phone: 212-342-4131
Fax: 212-342-5160


The goal of this project is to identify opportunities for primary and secondary prevention of terrorist- and disaster-related behavioral health disturbances by assessing the effects of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the health of New York City's communities. The study will determine whether there was an increase among vulnerable populations in emergency department and outpatient visits for stress-related conditions. The study will also examine whether such increases are associated with an adverse affect on the overall health of the community.

The research plan includes the following components:

  1. Documenting past patterns of post-disaster medical visits in developed nations;
  2. Conducting an epidemiologic study of demographic, clinical, diagnostic, and socioeconomic variables associated with outpatient and emergency department use;
  3. Creating a geographic information system to compare observed versus expected base population rates of outpatient and emergency department visits for stress-related conditions;
  4. Testing the hypothesis that the post-impact period is an independent risk factor for the occurrence of anxiety-related outpatient and emergency visits among vulnerable populations by using epidemiologic surveillance-related statistical tools to calculate correlations and regression analyses; and
  5. Identifying spatial or temporal associations between the events of 2001 and deleterious effects on overall community health, as indexed by public, medical, social, and mental health indicators (such as the occurrence of intimate partner violence).

Research findings will aid practitioners in responding to post-disaster behavioral health needs, public health agencies in establishing baselines for surveillance and planning for surge capacity demands, and emergency management policy makers in educating and mobilizing their communities.