The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health (SRPH) has been awarded funding to establish the *USA Center for Rural Public Health Preparedness.* The five-year award, with $300,000 in initial funding from the federal *Centers for Disease Control and Prevention* (CDC), is part of a national CDC program to help ensure the ability of the public health workforce to respond to bioterrorism, emerging infectious diseases and other threats to the public’s health. The SRPH’s Office of Special Programs will administer the new center, which adapts the highly successful *Texas Training Initiative for Emergency Response* (T-TIER) for national application.
The USA Center for Rural Public Health Preparedness is one of 27 *Centers for Public Health Preparedness* (CPHP) programs nationwide. The CDC’s key priorities for these Centers’ activities in the coming year include collaborating with health and public health agencies across the nation to help them meet preparedness education and learning needs, maximizing outreach of existing preparedness materials and enhancing the evidence base for effective preparedness education.
SRPH’s specific center was proposed to study and support the development of skills and competencies for emergency response and preparedness in primarily rural states and rural portions of states across the country. This center the only one with a rural focus will work with rural communities in Texas and partner with state departments of health and other CPHPs to take training and other activities throughout the state. A new work plan focusing on the CDC’s key priorities will be written by July.
*Barbara Quiram, Ph.D.*, director of SRPH’s Office of Special Programs, will serve as the principal investigator of the center. The USA Center for Rural Public Health Preparedness is an exciting opportunity to adapt and share a wealth of expertise dealing with unique rural preparedness issues. Utilizing T-TIER content and other methodologies pioneered by the Office of Special Programs, the center will build knowledge, skills, and abilities to support emergency response and preparedness in predominantly rural areas.
“I am pleased that the school, through Dr. Quiram’s efforts, is able to receive funding for a this national center,” said *Ciro V. Sumaya, M.D., M.P.H.T.M.*, SRPH dean. “We are pleased to be part of a national program with other key academic institutions across the country.”

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