Background The response to 9/11 continues into its 14th year. The World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP), a long-term monitoring and treatment program now funded by the Zadroga Act of 2010, includes >60,000 World Trade Center (WTC) disaster responders and community members ("survivors"). The aim of this review is to identify several elements that have had a critical impact on the evolution of the WTC response and, directly or indirectly, the health of the WTC-exposed population. It further explores post-disaster monitoring efforts, recent scientific findings from the WTCHP, and some implications of this experience for ongoing and future environmental disaster response. Findings Transparency and responsiveness, site safety and worker training, assessment of acute and chronic exposure, and development of clinical expertise are interconnected elements determining efficacy of disaster response. Conclusion Even in a relatively well-resourced environment, challenges regarding allocation of appropriate attention to vulnerable populations and integration of treatment response to significant medical and mental health comorbidities remain areas of ongoing programmatic development.
- World Trade Center
- disaster response
- environmental disaster
- post-disaster health surveillance