Dell, Marcus Foundation to Provide Computer Systems for CDC’s New Emergency Operations Center

The CDC Foundation has received a commitment from Dell Inc. and the Marcus Foundation to provide 229 workstations for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) new Marcus Emergency Operations Center. The workstations will be purchased through a grant from the Marcus Foundation. Through significant discounts, Dell will help the CDC Foundation save about $180,000 on the equipment.

CDC’s new Marcus Emergency Operations Center, scheduled to open in the fall of 2005, will become CDC’s primary facility for tracking and responding to disease outbreaks and public health emergencies. In 2002, the Marcus Foundation pledged $3.9 million to equip the operations center currently in use.

The agreement was announced yesterday during a visit to CDC by Dell chairman Michael Dell, who met with CDC director Dr. Julie Gerberding, CDC Foundation president and CEO Charlie Stokes and CDC’s chief information officer Jim Seligman.

“This is an extraordinary commitment from two groups that understand the importance of ensuring that CDC has the very best technology to respond to public health threats,” said Stokes. “Fortunately, the CDC Foundation can provide the flexibility to help CDC acquire top-of-the-line equipment and make partnerships like this happen.”

The new emergency operations center will be an information-rich control and coordination hub,bringing together audio, video and data feeds from scientists in the field to allow real-time analysis and decision-making. Like the current facility, it will be staffed around the clock to constantly monitor for potential threats to health and safety and prepare for rapid mobilization. During non-emergency times, emergency response center staff will train local, state and federal health officials in response and preparedness.

“The ability of information technology to defy geography is one of its greatest attributes,” Mr. Dell said. “The CDC saves lives by sharing information across great distances, and we’re proud of our role in helping make that possible.”

When Bernard Marcus, Home Depot co-founder and ex-chairman, announced the Marcus Foundation’s initial $3.9 million pledge, he called on corporate and philanthropic leaders to join forces to provide state-of-the-art technology for the operations center. Dell was one of the 16 corporations that donated or provided deeply discounted equipment for the facility.