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UNC School of Medicine Receives $3 Million for Emerging Pathogen Preparedness and Training | UNC-Chapel Hill

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and UNC Hospitals have been selected to be a Regional Emerging Special Pathogens Treatment Center (RESPTC) by the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR) of the U.S. Department of health and social services. UNC-Chapel Hill was one of three sites selected to expand beyond the 10 existing RESPTC sites across the United States.

Dr. William Fischer and Dr. David Wohl of the UNC School of Medicine, both fellows of the UNC Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases, will lead the new center, created with a $3 million ASPR grant. The other two new centers will be established at Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC and Spectrum Health System in Grand Rapids Michigan. ASPR also awarded $1.2 million to each of the initial 10 RCEEEs for a total investment of $21 million.

For several years, UNC Hospitals at Chapel Hill has been one of eight health care facilities in North Carolina designated as an assessment hospital to identify, isolate, and care for a patient infected with an emerging pathogen up to 96 hours before their onset. transfer to a RESPTC. Now, UNC will join Emory University as the only two RESPTCs in the Southeast.

These awards will strengthen the country’s preparedness and ability to respond to emerging pathogens during medical and public health emergencies. At UNC hospitals, the grant will enable critical care, infectious disease, and infection control experts to train and educate staff at UNC hospitals, other hospitals, and clinics in urban areas and rural communities across the country. South East.

Fischer and Wohl, who have both directly provided care for patients with special pathogens such as Ebola, Lassa fever, COVID-19 and human monkeypox here and abroad, will lead the setting. implement plans and protocols to quickly establish a special intensive care unit with capacity to care for two patients with specific pathogens. Their plans will also take into account the expansion of hospital capacities should the need arise.

“UNC hospitals have been at the forefront of infectious disease patient care for decades, beginning with the HIV epidemic in the 1980s,” said Wohl, professor of infectious diseases in the department of medicine. “This award is recognition of our ability to train clinical staff and care for people with new or concerning infections. There will be no better place to receive this special care than at UNC hospitals.

Fischer and Wohl are collaborating with UNC hospitals and campus leadership, the medical intensive care unit, as well as several UNC hospital infection control experts, including Emily Sickbert-Bennett, Brooke Brewer, Dr. David Weber and the all of their teams.

“Over the past two decades, we have seen an increase in the number of emerging and re-emerging infectious disease outbreaks. This award is an important opportunity to strengthen preparedness, response and recovery at local, regional and national levels,” said Fischer, director of the emerging pathogens program at the UNC Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases and professor Fellow of Pulmonary Diseases and Critical Care Medicine. “This has been a total team effort, including support from every state in our region, local public health officials and emergency medicine professionals.”

Wohl noted that North Carolina has a large military presence often stationed overseas and a population dedicated to overseas missionary and nonprofit work, where new pathogens have historically emerged.

“UNC-Chapel Hill is perfectly situated to take on this responsibility,” said Dr. Myron Cohen, founding director of the UNC Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases, Yeargan-Bate Professor of Medicine, Microbiology and Epidemiology and Vice – Associate Chancellor. for medical matters. “Our long history and dedication to treating special pathogen patients in Africa, around the world and at home, along with our strong partnerships with North Carolina public health leaders, have prepared us for anything that comes our way. could happen to us.

UNC-Chapel Hill is ranked 19e worldwide in the “Best University in Infectious Diseases” ranking by US News & World Report. Carolina, the only North Carolina university ranked in the world’s top 30, is ranked 7eamong American institutions.

“Drs. Fischer and Wohl are extraordinary, internationally respected clinicians and researchers who have proven expertise in this area,” said UNC Hospitals President Janet Hadar. “We are grateful for their leadership, for the dedication of their colleagues and our hospital staff, and for the local and state support, which greatly aided our grant application.”

In announcing the $21 million investment, HHS said RESPTCs are hospitals with increased capacity and capacity to treat highly infectious diseases and serve as regional centers for the National Special Pathogen System. These hospitals are continually ready and available to care for a special pathogen patient medically evacuated from overseas or diagnosed in the United States.

Here are the 13 RESPTCs:

  • Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts
  • New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation / HHC Bellevue Hospital Center in New York, New York
  • Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland
  • Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C.
  • Emory University Hospital and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta/Egleston Children’s Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia
  • UNC-Chapel Hill and UNC Hospitals, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • University of Minnesota Medical Center
  • Spectrum Health System in Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • University of Texas at Galveston Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas
  • Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska
  • Denver Health and Hospital Authority in Denver, Colorado
  • Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California
  • Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and Children’s Hospital in Spokane, Washington

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