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9/11 Health Research and Care

(Part I)

September 11th marks 21 years since 9/11. Yet, there are thousands of people who need ongoing healthcare monitoring and treatment following their exposure on and in the months following 9/11. The World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program provides this healthcare and supports health research efforts. Research improves our understanding of 9/11 health impacts and can lead to better healthcare among those impacted. Learn more about role of research for members of the 9/11 community and how you can help this community.

Research Began Early and Continues Today

Doctor and patient by Getty Images

The events of 9/11 created harmful dust, debris, smoke and other hazardous conditions. Many responders, workers, volunteers, residents, students, and others were exposed. The traumatic events took a major physical and emotional toll, as many became sick because of their exposure. Research began early to understand the serious effects on the well-being of those exposed.

Many scientists and clinicians who responded in the wake of those attacks still contribute to research today. Decades of partnership between scientists, clinicians, and research participants support the WTC Health Program’s ability to provide care for its members.

Research is Central to Member Care

In 2022, more than 38,000 members receive treatment in the WTC Health Program. Treatment is available for several major categories of physical and mental health conditions. The Program covers conditions including, but not limited to:

  • post-traumatic stress disorder,
  • airway and digestive disorders, such as asthma and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD),
  • acute traumatic injuries,
  • and many types of cancer.

Research provides insight on these often complex health conditions, and can identify innovative treatments.

Members have the option to be included in research. Those who choose to participate, pave a path for scientific discovery and help researchers learn about WTC-related health conditions and find ways to improve healthcare for not only the research participants but also fellow Program members.

Much of the WTC Health Program research is conducted by the physicians and other healthcare professionals who treat patients within the Program. These familiar faces understand WTC-related health conditions and how best to treat them. Researchers collaborate across institutions and organizations with the help of Program data centers. Everyone involved in the research process must follow strict rules to uphold patient privacy as healthcare data is sent to Program. To learn about how information is kept safe, visit the Privacy Practices page.

Why Research and Representation Matters

Good research uses representative samples for accuracy. This means that researchers look for participants who are diverse in age, gender, race, among other physical traits and behaviors in ways that reflect the population under study. This ensures that study results are accurate for everyone affected. When studies are representative of the 9/11-exposed group, research leads to effective treatment, equity in care, and improved understanding of WTC-related health conditions.

How Can You Help the 9/11 Community?

  1. If you think you may be eligible for the WTC Health Program, review eligibility details before you apply.
  2. If you are already a member, your Program clinic will provide you the option to participate in the available research studies.
  3. If you have loved ones who may be eligible, learn more about the WTC Health Program by visiting the website or calling the call center at 1-888-982-4748.
  4. If you would like to stay up to date on the latest in 9/11-related news, follow the WTC Health Program on Facebook and Twitter.

Stay tuned for our second article on how 9/11 health research leads to specialized care for WTC Health Program members.

More Information

World Trade Center Health Program Research

Health Effects of 9/11: An Online Exhibition