Training needs of pediatricians facing the environmental health and bioterrorism consequences of September 11th

Yue Yung Hu, Richard E. Adams, Joseph A. Boscarino, Danielle Laraque

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Objective: The September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks have been called "the worst environmental disaster in the history of New York City." As a result of the extensive nature of the destruction, our objective as pediatricians was to determine the experience and training needs of tri-state child health professionals in responding to the environmental health and bioterrorism-related demands placed on their practices. Methodology: American Academy of Pediatrics members in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey were sent either a web-based or a paper survey requesting demographic data and data about post-9/11 practice experience and perceived knowledge with regard to environmental health and bioterrorism. Results: Of the 1,396 respondents, 21% believed their practices to have been "very [much] affected" by the attacks. Eleven percent were often/very often asked by parents about air quality, 12.6% about environmental toxins, 4.3% about antibiotics for anthrax, and 4.2% about potassium iodide for nuclear events. Fifty-seven percent and 49.1% of respondents had patients present with environmental health and bioterrorism-related complaints, respectively. Most (86%) reported that their medical training had not sufficiently prepared them to meet these demands. Few considered themselves to be knowledgeable about bioterrorism (23.9%), local environmental issues (14%), air quality (11.4%), or environmental toxins (12.6%). Gender, race, practice setting, practice location, specialty, and level of training were associated with demands on practice. Location, age, years in practice, and gender were associated with level of preparedness. Conclusions: Our results indicate that nearly all child health professionals would benefit from post-disaster education, especially trainees. A role for the pediatric associations in the dissemination of this crucial information is implied.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1156-1164
Number of pages9
JournalMount Sinai Journal of Medicine
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • Bioterrorism
  • Children
  • Disaster preparedness
  • Environmental health
  • September 11
  • Toxins


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