• Press Release

Mount Sinai Hosts WTC Health Program Symposium Examining Health of Responders and Survivors 15 Years After 9-11

  • New York, NY
  • (September 22, 2016)

{To watch the symposium’s research presentations, click here}  

Not only do World Trade Center responders and survivors continue to suffer elevated rates of airway conditions, cancer, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), compared to the unexposed population, but illnesses such as autoimmune disorders and cardiovascular disease are also of increasing concern for both groups. These are only some of the numerous health conditions facing those who responded to and survived the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai hosted scientific researchers, clinicians, members of the media, and other stakeholders for a conference at the New York Academy of Medicine on Wednesday, September 14, 2016, to learn more about the health impact of this disaster on a population that includes 90,000 responders and 400,000 community members.

Researchers from multiple World Trade Center Health Program Clinical Centers of Excellence—including the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Stony Brook School of Medicine, New York University/Bellevue, City University of New York, and the Fire Department of the City of New York—and the World Trade Center Registry presented their latest findings related to the respiratory, immunologic, and mental health of 9/11 responders and survivors.

John Howard, MD, MPH, JD, LLM, Administrator, World Trade Center Health Program and Director, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), gave the conference’s keynote address.

“Even while the disaster area still burned, an army of rescue recovery and cleanup workers—professional and volunteer—descended on the sites of New York and Virginia and Pennsylvania, or engaged in a supportive role to do what they could,” said Dr. Howard. “9/11 practitioners and scientists have provided valuable research findings that told the story of an exposed population whose health was adversely affected by the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.”

In December 2015, President Obama signed into law a bill reauthorizing the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010. This includes reauthorization of the World Trade Center Health Program for 75 years, ending in 2090, ensuring uninterrupted health care from the WTC Health Program in the future.

“All of the scientific endeavors and complex array of advocacy that occurred now ensure that 9/11 responders and survivors can receive the health care they need for a lifetime,” added Dr. Howard. “Thanks to all the researchers in this room for their contribution to promoting the health of 9/11 members and for being pivotal in ensuring that we are here today, 15 years later, looking forward to the future of 2090.”

Mount Sinai’s history of caring for 9/11 responders began in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. Recognizing the serious nature of the environmental exposures at Ground Zero, Mount Sinai physicians, in partnership with experts at regional occupational medicine clinics as well as with affected stakeholder organizations, developed a medical screening program to evaluate the health of 9/11 responders.

“We at Mount Sinai are honored to be the site of the largest WTC Health Program Clinical Center of Excellence as well as the responders’ Data Center,” said Robert Wright, MD, MPH, Chair, Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

“We hope that today will mark the dawn of a new era for the WTC Health Program, one in which the Program will become even better at treating and preventing illness. We hope that the findings of the research will assist not only the WTC responders, but also workers around the world who seek to blunt the impacts of disasters and terrorist attacks, and help us as health care workers to better understand over the long term how these events cause diseases that may not be evident for years.”

Closing remarks were given by Dori B. Reissman, MD, MPH, Associate Administrator and Medical Director, World Trade Center Health Program, Chief Medical Officer, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, NIOSH, CDC.

“So many of the people who have spoken today have been scientific pioneers, as well as caretakers,” said Dr. Reissman. “They are responders, survivors, clinicians, and human beings around this event. For most of us who work in this field, it’s personal, and it’s meaningful. We have to learn something here in order to have made it worthwhile to have lived through the experience.”

“Our presentations today demonstrate the enormous variety and gravity of health issues faced by WTC Health Program patients, and the many and varied efforts by clinicians and researchers to respond to those issues,” said Michael Crane, MD, MPH, Associate Professor, Environmental Medicine and Public Health, Icahn School of Medicine, and Director, The Selikoff Centers for Occupational Health and the World Trade Center Health Program Clinical Center of Excellence at Mount Sinai. “On behalf of all the Program’s directors, staff, and patients, we want to express our profound gratitude to NIOSH, particularly Drs. Howard and Reissman, for their advocacy, counsel and ongoing support of these efforts.”

Key presentations at the symposium included:

WTC Health Impact on FDNY Fire and EMS Responders – 15 Years Later, David J. Prezant, MD, Fire Department of the City of New York

Risk, Coping and PTSD in WTC Responders – 15 Years Later, Adriana Feder, MD, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

WTC-related Asthma: Risk Factors, Management, and Outcomes, Juan Wisnivesky, MD, DRPH, Icahn School of Medicine

Exposure to Inhaled Particulates at Ground Zero: Implications for Cardiovascular Risk, Mary A. McLaughlin, MD, Icahn School of Medicine

Lung Function, Small Airways, and Inflammation in the WTC Survivor Population, Joan Reibman, MD, New York University School of Medicine

Biomarkers and the Prostate Cancer Increase in the WTC Cohorts, Emanuela Taioli, MD, PhD, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

A Comparative Analysis of 9/11 and Other Major International Disasters Yields Indications for Lifetime Healthcare of Affected Populations, Roberto Lucchini, MD, Icahn School of Medicine

Qualitative Analysis of 9/11 Injury, Robert Brackbill, PhD, MPH, World Trade Center Health Registry

Perspectives on the Past and Future of WTC Mental Health Research, Evelyn Bromet, PhD, Stony Brook School of Medicine

Research to Care Paradigm, Dori B. Reissman, MD, MPH, Associate Administrator and Medical Director, World Trade Center Health Program, Chief Medical Officer, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

About the Mount Sinai Health System

The Mount Sinai Health System is an integrated health system committed to providing distinguished care, conducting transformative research, and advancing biomedical education. Structured around seven hospital campuses and a single medical school, the Health System has an extensive ambulatory network and a range of inpatient and outpatient services—from community-based facilities to tertiary and quaternary care.

The System includes approximately 7,100 primary and specialty care physicians; 12 joint-venture ambulatory surgery centers; more than 140 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and 31 affiliated community health centers. Physicians are affiliated with the renowned Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, which is ranked among the highest in the nation in National Institutes of Health funding per investigator. The Mount Sinai Hospital is in the "Honor Roll" of best hospitals in America, ranked No. 15 nationally in the 2016-2017 "Best Hospitals" issue of U.S. News & World Report. The Mount Sinai Hospital is also ranked as one of the nation's top 20 hospitals in Geriatrics, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Nephrology, Neurology/Neurosurgery, and Ear, Nose & Throat, and is in the top 50 in four other specialties. New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked No. 10 nationally for Ophthalmology, while Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Mount Sinai St. Luke's, and Mount Sinai West are ranked regionally. Mount Sinai's Kravis Children's Hospital is ranked in seven out of ten pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report in "Best Children's Hospitals."

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