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Awarded Grant - Acute Care

The Study of the Impact of a Terrorist Attack on Individual Trauma Centers

FOA Number: CE05-100E - National Foundation for Trauma Care/Earmark
Project Period: 9/01/05–8/31/06
Application/Grant Number: 1-R49-CE000792-01
Principal Investigator: Connie Jean Potter
National Foundation for Trauma Care
230 Commerce, Suite 210
Irvine, CA 92602


Trauma Centers have historically functioned as critical medical resources and communication hubs for both natural and human-caused catastrophes. They were organized so that injured patients are rapidly triaged, assessed, and treated, as tested in the 1993 and 2001 World Trade Center terrorist attacks, the attack on the Oklahoma City Murrah Building, and natural disasters of all types nationwide. This capability will vary where trauma systems are not developed or fully implemented, or where trauma centers are economically threatened or have few resources. Despite their role in disaster/terror response, a 2004 NFTC survey of EMS/trauma systems identified only two states (FL, NC) that had provided any direct fiscal support for trauma system preparedness for terror attacks, and those amounts allocated were meager. There has been no national evaluation of the effect of a terrorist blast attack on a trauma center. Therefore, they lack practical examples to help them prepare for the resultant mass casualties and will benefit from information from highly performing trauma systems that can be adapted to any trauma center’s unique circumstances.

This project addresses the “Healthy People 2010” focus area(s) of Injury and Violence Prevention and will occur in two phases. During Phase I, researchers will develop and conduct a survey of all known verified, designated, or functional level I and II trauma centers to identify the degree to which they meet key characteristics of a well prepared trauma center in the event of a blast-type terror attack, including one with the potential for biological, chemical, nuclear agents and other hazards. Researchers will visit selected trauma centers, that will provide appropriate documents, and participate in a summary review of their preparation for a blast-type terror attack as defined in the grant as part of Phase II. Trauma centers need templates from highly performing trauma centers and best practices for preparedness to meet the needs of the public in the event of a blast-type terror attack.