|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact:||HHS Press|
|Tuesday, July 10, 2001||Office|
HHS NAMES PHYSICIAN TO COORDINATE ANTI-BIOTERRORISM INITIATIVES
HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson today announced that Scott Lillibridge, a physician who has coordinated the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's bioterrorism response efforts, has been chosen to lead the department's coordinated bioterrorism initiative.
"In May, I told Congress about the need to strengthen the coordination of the nation's anti-bioterrorism efforts within the department and across the government," Secretary Thompson said. "I can think of no one better qualified for this critical responsibility than Dr. Lillibridge. He will provide leadership to ensure we can respond swiftly and decisively should some vicious act of bioterrorism be inflicted upon the American people."
As the Secretary's special assistant for bioterrorism, Lillibridge will coordinate anti-bioterrorism efforts across the department and will report directly to Secretary Thompson. A captain in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, Lillibridge also will support the Surgeon General's efforts to revitalize the Commissioned Corps and its readiness force.
Bioterrorism presents unique challenges since it differs dramatically from other forms of terrorism and national emergencies. While explosions or chemical attacks cause immediate and visible casualties, an intentional release of a biological weapon would unfold over the course of days or weeks, culminating potentially in a major epidemic.
President Bush's fiscal year 2002 budget proposes an investment in the HHS anti-bioterrorism initiative of $348 million, an 18 percent increase over fiscal year 2001 funding. The department's efforts are focused on coordination, surveillance, rapid response and prevention. As part of the federal response to a bioterrorism event, HHS has special responsibilities that include detecting the biological agent, investigating the outbreak, and providing stockpiled drugs and supplies.
Lillibridge has been with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since 1990, and has led the CDC's bioterrorism preparedness and response program since 1998. In 1995, he led the U.S. medical delegation to Japan after the gas attack that killed 10 people in the Tokyo subway. He participated in the federal public health assessment following the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. He has worked in 14 nations on epidemiology and other public health issues.
Prior to joining the CDC, Lillibridge served in the Indian Health Service in Oklahoma and Arizona. He served as chief resident while completing his training at Baylor College of Medicine. He is a graduate of East Tennessee State University and the School of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.
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