Campus: CSU Los Angeles -- March 10, 2004

Cal State L.A. Students to Study Terrorism and Public Health

The events of September 11 and recent terrorism alerts have brought to light the importance of disaster preparedness and public health awareness.

In order to prepare future public health professionals, California State University, Los Angeles, will offer a new health science course, entitled “Terrorism and Public Health,” this coming spring quarter. The HS365 course—taught by Rania Sabty-Daily, assistant professor of health science at Cal State L.A.—will provide students an overview of the history of terrorism, the possible means that terrorists may use to affect the public’s health, and the role of public health in the face of terrorism threats and attacks.

This four-unit course will also examine the roles of public awareness and communication, balancing public safety and civil liberties, and personal awareness and preparedness in effectively mitigating terrorist threats. As part of the class, guest lecturers from local health departments and the UCLA Center for Public Health and Disasters will speak on related topics.

According to Sabty-Daily, principles adopted by the American Public Health Association in November 1991 underlined the importance of educating the general public as well as heath professionals to better identify, respond to, and prevent health consequences of terrorism. The more prepared the public, the less potential impact of terrorist acts on the public’s health.

Sabty-Daily indicates, “Biological and chemical terrorism and the potential for mass destruction have been a subject of increasing concern. Terrorist incidents in the United States and elsewhere have involved bacterial pathogens (e.g. anthrax), nerve gas, a lethal plant toxin (i.e., ricin) and explosives.”

Stressing the early detection of and response to terrorism as crucial, Sabty-Daily adds, “Without special preparation at the local and state levels, a large-scale attack with the airborne release of biological microorganisms, chemical or radioactive agents, contamination of food supplies with biological, chemical or radioactive agents, and the contamination of water supplies could overwhelm the local and perhaps national public health infrastructure.”

Rania Sabty-Daily, who received her master’s degree in public health and Ph.D. in environmental health sciences from UCLA, is a registered environmental health specialist. Her research focuses on the assessment of exposure to airborne chromium and the impact of aerosol particle size on airborne exposure assessment. Her career background includes experience as an environmental health consultant and an industrial hygiene and safety specialist in private industry.

The HS365 class will meet every Tuesday, 4:20-8:10 p.m., in the King Hall building, Wing B, room 1009, during the spring quarter (March 29-June 12). For more information on the course, contact Rania Sabty-Daily, Health Science department, Cal State L.A., at (323) 343-5867.

Contact: Margie Yu, Public Affairs Specialist, (323) 343-3047


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