New Law Funds Nursing's Role in Bioterrorism Response

  1. American Journal of Nursing - August, 2002 - Volume 102, Issue 8
    By Christopher Donnellan

    The ANA establishes the National Nurses Response Team.

    A new law provides funding to train health care professionals, including nurses, to prepare for and respond to bioterrorism. The Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Response Act of 2002, signed into law by President Bush on June 12, authorizes the spending of $4.3 billion to improve public health preparedness, enhance controls on deadly biological agents, and protect the nation's food, medication, and drinking water supplies.

    "The United States faces a grave and growing threat from bioterrorism. This legislation will improve our ability to respond to a bioterrorist attack," noted Senator Bill Frist (R-TN), a physician who cosponsored the bill in the Senate with Ted Kennedy (D-MA).

    Specifically, the law will address the three components needed to effectively combat bioterrorism: detection, treatment, and containment. The law authorizes more than $1.5 billion in grants to states, local governments, public health care facilities, and other entities to improve planning and preparedness activities, enhance laboratory capacity, educate and train health care personnel, and develop new drugs, therapies, and vaccines. Money is also allocated for hospital equipment and the training of health care workers, including nurses, to deal with bioterrorism.

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