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Archive for Thursday, April 11, 2002

Dean testifies before congressional panel in favor of emergency preparedness proposal

April 11, 2002

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The Kansas University School of Medicine should partner with the federal government to form a regional center to fight bioterrorism, a KU official said Wednesday.

Deborah Powell, the school's executive dean, testified before the U.S. House Veterans Affairs subcommittee Wednesday in favor of a bill that would create four medical emergency preparedness centers to research, diagnose and treat the results of chemical, biological and radiological attacks.

The centers, under the direction of the Department of Veterans Affairs, also would distribute information to other hospitals and health departments.

While Powell said she supported the effort no matter who was involved, Powell said the KU Med Center would be a good place for one of the centers.

"It would be wonderful to have one in the heartland," she said in a telephone interview after testifying.

Among her reasons for supporting KU's involvement:

l The Med Center already works with VA hospitals in Kansas City, Mo., Wichita, Topeka and Leavenworth. About 125 medical students receive a month of internal medicine training at the VA hospital in Kansas City.

l Collaborations with Kansas State University.

"Certainly issues of bioterrorism in its multiple forms also must involve the agricultural community, and those relationships with our other educational partners and with our state are already in place," she said.

l Kansas is one of only six states with a combined Department of Health and Environment.

Also Wednesday, Powell said she was unsure whether she would continue as a candidate for the dean position at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine.

She is one of five announced candidates for the position, but a University of Minnesota spokeswoman said more candidates were likely. Powell on Monday and Tuesday was in Minneapolis touring the campus.

"I'm not sure if I'm really a candidate or not at this point, personally," she said. "I'm just checking it out."

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