Administrator’s Statement on the 5th Anniversary of the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program
Today’s fifth anniversary of the World Trade Center Health Program offers an opportunity to reflect on our past, present, and future. In two months, we will observe the 15th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. These attacks were an unparalleled human and environmental disaster, with health effects that continue to this day.
The WTC Health Program strives to provide the highest quality monitoring and treatment services to those who were there 15 years ago. Between July 2015 and June 2016 we enrolled over 2,500 new people, bringing our total membership to nearly 75,000. We delivered over 30,000 monitoring or screening exams and served over 23,000 members with medical treatment (April 1, 2015-March 31, 2016).
The Clinical Centers of Excellence (CCEs) and the Nationwide Provider Network remain committed to delivering compassionate and expert healthcare for our members. This year we shared our clinical experience through a series of web trainings offered through Medscape. This innovative project has increased the awareness of 9/11 health among the medical community. To date, over 40,000 clinician learners from across the country have participated in the online trainings.
In addition to clinical work, the WTC Health Program supports scientifically rigorous research to answer critical questions about 9/11-related physical and mental health conditions. In fiscal year 2015, the Program awarded seven new cooperative agreements for research. These projects will examine topics such as PTSD, cognitive health, clinical characteristics of WTC sarcoidosis, and childhood health. Additional funding opportunities for research projects were announced in February 2016.
Finally, we mark this anniversary with an eye to the future. On December 18, 2015, President Obama signed a law to extend funding for the WTC Health Program through 2090 under the reauthorization of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. This milestone ensures that members can continue to rely on uninterrupted healthcare from the WTC Health Program.
We remain committed to supporting high quality, compassionate healthcare and a sustained investment in research. I’d like to thank all of those who support our mission today and look forward to serving 9/11 responders and survivors in the future.
If you have any questions about the WTC Health Program, please call us at 1-888-982-4748 or email us at WTC@cdc.gov.
John Howard, M.D.
Administrator, World Trade Center Health Program