In the war on terror, bio-terrorism is perhaps one of the scariest of threats we face. Attacks using Sarin gas, Anthrax and other bio hazards while uncommon, pose a serious threat to large portions of the population. Now the region’s residents can feel a bit safer. On Monday, officials gathered at New York Medical College in Valhalla to dedicate the new Center of -Excellence in Precision Responses to Bioterrorism and Disasters.
At the center the College’s researchers and physicians will use medical countermeasures and translate research findings to protect Americans from the threat of catastrophic bioterrorism, man-made disasters and public health emergencies.
“The breadth and reach of bioterrorism is terrifying. It is not if it is going to happen, but when. A bioterrorist can take something common that we come in contact with during the course of a day, such as the door handle of a cab, a fork, even a handshake, and turn it into a weapon,” said NYS Senator Terrence Murphy, who helped to secure funding for the center. “This center gives us a vitally needed local resource to fight terrorism, and potentially protect the lives of first responders and our families.”
Also speaking at the event were Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino; Assemblyman Tom Abinanti; Edward C. Halperin, M.D., M.A., Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer of New York Medical College; Keith Olson, President of the Affiliated Police Associations of Westchester County; and New York Medical College Dean Robert Amler, M.D., MBA.
Business Council of Westchester President and CEO Marsha Gordon, who attended the ceremony, said that the new center was another way in which residents were reaping the benefits of the burgeoning BioTech/LifeSciences Industry in Westchester. “The BCW has been a long-time supporter of growing this sector in Westchester,’’ she said. “Having these facilities here is not only contributing to the region’s economic health, but to the safety of its residents.’’