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Stony Brook WTC Wellness Program Receives $60 Million from NIOSH
The award ensures growth of collaborative care model and accessibility for nearly 10,000 WTC responders
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Dr. Benjamin Luft

Stony Brook, NY,  April 12, 2017   – The Stony Brook University WTC Wellness Program, led by Benjamin Luft, MD, the Edmund D. Pellegrino Professor of Medicine in the Stony Brook University School of Medicine, has received a five year federal grant totaling more than $60 million. Awarded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the grant comes at a time when the WTC Wellness Program continues to expand its medical services to patients and is relocating later this month to a larger clinical space in Stony Brook Medicine’s new specialty care facility in Commack, NY.   

As principle investigator of the new NIOSH award, Luft and his team will use the funds to support the operations and infrastructure costs necessary to run a large collaborative medical care model that serves nearly 10,000 of patients. Managed by the Research Foundation for the State University of New York, the WTC program screens 9/11 responders who may be eligible for care under the Zadroga Act and WTC victim compensation fund, and treats patients suffering from many conditions, including cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and numerous pulmonary conditions. 

“Stony Brook’s WTC Wellness Program has helped turn the tragedy of 9/11 for our courageous responders into a beacon of hope with healthcare experts and resources that make a real difference in their lives and well-being,” said Samuel L. Stanley Jr., MD, President of Stony Brook University. “This transformational grant will help to expand services for this important patient population and is a testament to the program’s long-term commitment and impact in caring for them.” 

“Stony Brook Medicine is built on the principle that a collaborative and multidisciplinary approach provides the best healthcare, which enables us to deliver care for our patients at the highest level of quality, and to make the greatest possible impact on our region,” said Kenneth Kaushansky, MD, Senior Vice President for the Health Sciences, and Dean of the School of Medicine. “The WTC Wellness Program is a shining example of just how important the collaborative and innovative work of our healthcare specialists can be, and this grant will help them reach higher levels in caring for 9/11 responders.” 

Dr. Luft explained the program follows a collaborative care model that integrates physician specialists from many areas, such pulmonology, radiology, oncology, psychiatry, and dermatology, along with other healthcare specialists, such as nurses and pharmacists, to  provide integrative and often a one-stop location approach for a population that has many growing health concerns. 

“This award is a remarkable commitment by NIOSH that enables us to help 9/11 responders who have multiple healthcare needs at every level, from their physical and mental health problems to monitoring the long-term effects yet to surface from exposures at ground zero,” said Dr. Luft. “I appreciate the confidence that the federal agencies and legislators have in our program, and that they continue to support our work to care for these patients who selflessly gave of themselves at the time of the 9/11 attacks and aftermath.” 

He added that the new facility also enhances the geographic accessibility for patients, as it is located centrally on Long Island and is convenient for most of the thousands of patients. 

“I am pleased that the CDC has recognized the critically important, life-saving work of Dr. Luft and everyone at Stony Brook University’s WTC Wellness Program by providing this $60 million grant,” said Senator Schumer. “These selfless first responders need our help, as they suffer from illnesses caused by the airport toxins at the World Trade Center and that’s why I fought hard to pass the Zadroga Act and WTC Victim Compensation Fund. Investing in Stony Brook’s WTC Wellness Program and all medical treatment and compensation programs for these first responders must be a top priority.”  

Congressman Lee Zeldin said, "I am proud to announce that this vital Stony Brook program has received $60 million in funding. This five year federal grant will go a long way in ensuring our 9/11 first responders receive the essential care and services they need and rightly deserve. We can never do enough to support these American heroes, who selflessly risked their lives at such an important time in our nation's history. This grant is an essential way to remember and honor the brave sacrifices made in the aftermath of the attack on our nation."

The NIOSH award will extend support for the program until March 31, 2022.

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About Stony Brook University

Stony Brook University is going beyond the expectations of what today’s public universities can accomplish. Since its founding in 1957, this young university has grown to become one of only four University Center campuses in the State University of New York (SUNY) system with more than 25,700 students, 2,500 faculty members, and 18 NCAA Division I athletic programs. Our faculty have earned numerous prestigious awards, including the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, Indianapolis Prize for animal conservation, Abel Prize and the inaugural Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics. The University offers students an elite education with an outstanding return on investment: U.S.News & World Report ranks Stony Brook among the top 40 public universities in the nation. Its membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU) places Stony Brook among the top 62 research institutions in North America. As part of the management team of Brookhaven National Laboratory, the University joins a prestigious group of universities that have a role in running federal R&D labs. Stony Brook University is a driving force in the region’s economy, generating nearly 60,000 jobs and an annual economic impact of $4.65 billion. Our state, country and world demand ambitious ideas, imaginative solutions and exceptional leadership to forge a better future for all. The students, alumni, researchers and faculty of Stony Brook University are prepared to meet this challenge.

 

Reporter Contact:  Greg Filiano
631 444-9343