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ATLANTA -- Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy G. Thompson today dedicated the Marcus Emergency Operations Center at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The new center will promote quicker, better-coordinated responses to public health emergencies across the country and around the globe.
"CDC's new state-of-the-art facility enables us to employ an integrated response to any public health emergency and better protect the American public," Thompson said. "The emergency operations center allows us to more efficiently track and respond to disease outbreaks. I would like to thank Bernard Marcus for his generous contribution and efforts to make this center a reality."
The new center cost $7.1 million to complete; over $2 million was contributed by The Marcus Foundation, Inc. and other corporate donors.
The 7,000-square-foot secure communications hub supports, organizes and manages all emergency operations at CDC and allows for immediate communication between the CDC, the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as federal intelligence and emergency response officials, the Department of Homeland Security, and state and local public health officials.
"The nation's public health community had an urgent need and Bernie Marcus and other corporate donors stepped up to the plate and made it happen," said CDC Director Dr. Julie L. Gerberding. "CDC now has a world-class operations center equipped to handle any public health emergency, whether it's a bioterrorism attack or an outbreak of a new disease. "
The Marcus EOC has 85 workstations, nine team rooms, and central command station, as well as high-frequency radio support and geographic information system (disease mapping) capabilities.
The EOC has already proved to be an invaluable resource to the CDC during the first few months of operation. It was activated after the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster in February to communicate with state and local public health officials about possible health hazards from shuttle debris. More recently, CDC activated the Marcus EOC within hours of learning about the global spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). Teams immediately had the resources to develop databases of sick and exposed patients and screening questionnaires, and to communicate around the clock with health organizations and scientists in Geneva and Hong Kong.
CDC protects people's health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible information on critical health issues; and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships with local, national and international organizations.