CDC Foundation Marks Katrina Anniversary With Celebration of Progress

One year after Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Gulf Coast, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Foundation is bringing together public health teams, state and local officials and philanthropic partners to celebrate progress made in restoring public health services in Mississippi communities devastated by the storm. The CDC Foundation is hosting a recognition ceremony and building dedication at the new Hancock County Health Department facility on Tuesday, August 29 at 1:30 PM.

With significant contributions from several donors, the CDC Foundation helped the Mississippi State Health Department acquire two specially designed modular public health clinics to replace destroyed health department facilities in Hancock and Jackson Counties. GE manufactures these modular clinics and generously agreed to donate the facility for Hancock County.

Both facilities are now fully operational. Teams of doctors, nurses and support staff, who previously were working from tents or mobile units, are now conducting business from these modular health facilities with specialized spaces for exam rooms, file rooms, reception areas and offices.

"We are extremely grateful to the CDC Foundation for coordinating this effort," said Dr. Brian Amy, Mississippi State Health Officer. “Mississippi's local health departments are the first line of defense in protecting the health and safety of our citizens. One year ago, our public health teams faced one of the largest disasters this country has ever experienced. With our partners' help, today we are recovering and can again serve our customers in a safe and accessible facility."

The donation of the two facilities was made possible by the CDC Foundation's Emergency Preparedness and Response Fund, which was established after 9/11 to provide CDC with immediate, flexible resources in a national public health emergency. On September 1, 2005, CDC director Dr. Julie Gerberding, asked the Foundation to activate the Fund to support the public health response to Hurricane Katrina and to expand the Fund to help meet the needs of CDC's state and local health department partners.

Kaiser Permanente provided a lead gift of $2 million, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation contributed $1 million. Hundreds of other individuals and organizations also made contributions.

These gifts to the Fund enabled the CDC Foundation to immediately respond to requests for help by providing grants to state and local health departments to purchase prescription medications for evacuees, and satellite phones, cell phones and laptop computers for responders on the frontlines. The Fund also helped cover some of the costs of travel, meals and lodging for local and volunteer health teams. After many of these immediate needs were met, the Foundation helped state and local health agencies address some of the longer-term health needs of evacuees living in temporary communities or returning home to devastated homes and neighborhoods.

In addition to the two modular health facilities in Mississippi, the Fund helped support crisis lines and health information services in Louisiana, Alabama and Georgia; a program to deliver primary and preventive health care to evacuees living in transitional communities in Louisiana; the development and delivery of important health messages to at-risk populations in New Orleans; and mental health services for many communities affected by Katrina.

"The gifts to the Emergency Preparedness and Response Fund allowed the CDC Foundation to give public health teams what they needed most - the resources and flexibility to get the job done,” says Charles Stokes, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation. “In addition to meeting immediate health needs, these donors helped rebuild the public health infrastructure at the local and state levels that is vital to protecting the long-term health and safety of our citizens.”