LIJ Medical Center announced Tuesday the award of a five-year, $3.85 million federal contract to partner with the Queens World Trade Center Clinical Center at Queens College to increase access to medical and mental health services for WTC responders in Queens.
The funding is part of the recently enacted James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which provides $4.3 billion in federal funding to address the health crisis surrounding the WTC tragedy.
The center is now located at 163-03 Horace Harding Expressway in Flushing. It will move to Rego Park in the fall.
Dr. Jacqueline Moline, the center’s new director, and vice president and chair of population health at the North Shore-LIJ Health System, will lead the newly-merged center. Dr. Steven Markowitz, who directs the Center for the Biology of Natural Systems at Queens College, which has sponsored the Queens-based World Trade Center Health Program since 2003, will co-direct the program.
Previously, Moline served as the principal investigator and director of the largest WTC Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program, located at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. In late September 2001, she and her colleagues began treating first responders and other patients with immediate health consequences after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11.
“The recent federal funding that the Queens Clinical Center received guarantees that we will be able to continue to provide high-quality medical care and mental health services to WTC responders for the next five years, without interruption, as well as increased access to critical healthcare services,” she said.
First responders and others who served at the WTC site have developed health problems including lung disease, asthma and gastroesophageal disease. Responders also experienced mental health problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression.
The QCCE is one of five clinical centers in the New York/New Jersey area that provide medical monitoring examinations, diagnosis and treatment services for WTC-related health conditions.There are 5,563 responders enrolled in the monitoring treatment programs from Queens.
“I am delighted that the outstanding and multiple resources of the LIJ Medical Center will now be a full partner with the Queens World Trade Center Clinical Center at Queens College to expand health care services and programs for first responders who were affected by the terrorist attack on America,” said Borough President Helen Marshall.
“Increased access to quality medical care and services for first responders in Queens will provide more space, personnel, specialists and an entire network of care to cover a multitude of medical conditions of individuals and their families,” Marshall added.“The high quality care provided by LIJ Medical Center and the North Shore-LIJ Health System makes them an ideal candidate for this Clinical Center of Excellence.”
Access to mental health services will be strengthened through the services available at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, one of the specialty hospitals within the North Shore-LIJ Health System and part of LIJ Medical Center.
Patients served by the QCCE will also have access to North Shore-LIJ’s Rosen Family Wellness Center, which provides no-cost, confidential behavioral health services to law enforcement and military personnel and their families.
Through aJourney for 9/11grant, the center will provide behavioral health services to World Trade Center first responders.
The Rosen Center offers mental health and psychiatric evaluations and specializes in evidence-based cognitive behavioral therapies, including trauma-focused CBT, prolonged exposure therapy and other therapy to treat post-traumatic stress disorder.
For more information on the WTC program, call (718) 670-4147 or (888) 982-4748, or go online to the website cdc.gov/niosh/topics/wtc/.