HHS Awards $81 Million for 5-Year Health Screening of World Trade Center Rescue, Recovery Workers

The Department of Health and Human Services Secretary is awarding eight grants to fund an $81 million, 5-year health screening program of New York City firefighters and other workers and volunteers who provided rescue, recovery and restoration services at the World Trade Center disaster site.

The grants will allow the recipients to conduct three, free, standardized clinical examinations for each eligible individual over the next 5 years.

"[This]action will further assess the health of the brave men and women who worked day and night in the rescue and recovery at Ground Zero," HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson said. "These grants will assure that the health screening of the World Trade Center rescue and recovery workers will continue without interruption."

HHS awarded the grants to the New York City Fire Department, the Long Island Occupational and Environmental Health Center, the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, the New York University School of Medicine, the City University of New York's Queens College and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey's Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

Of the more than 40,000 workers and volunteers who were present at Ground Zero, all of the approximately 11,000 New York City firefighters and about 11,000 other rescue workers have already received initial examinations through previous funding from HHS.

HHS also awarded grants to the New York City Fire Department and the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine to develop data and to establish coordinating data centers. This supports the development of databases of information that will help determine the ongoing needs and priorities of the health-screening program.

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