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PO Box 360
Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
June 17, 2008

Heather Howard

For Further Information Contact:
Thomas Slater

DHHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response to Visit Camden, Trenton on June 18


(Reporters are invited to attend either or both events described in this advisory. Contact Tom Slater at 609-203-9736 at DHSS or Lori Shaffer at 856-469-3207 at Cooper)


Rear Admiral W. Craig Vanderwagen, M.D., Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), will tour Camden and Trenton on Wednesday, June 18 and discuss federal and state preparedness activities with New Jersey health and emergency preparedness officials.


Admiral Vanderwagen directs DHHS activities relating to protecting the United States from acts of terrorism and other public health and medical threats and medical emergencies. He also provides leadership in the coordination of activities for public health and medical emergency preparedness


Admiral Vanderwagen will visit the Camden Medical Coordination Center (MCC) at Cooper University Hospital, Camden, at 9 a.m. and then tour the Department of Health and Senior Services’ (DHSS) Health Command Center in Trenton at 1:30 p.m.


At the Camden MCC, Admiral Vanderwagen will tour the facility and receive an overview of the MCC program. Currently, nine MCCs are located in hospitals throughout the state. An integral part of the DHSS’ emergency response capability, each facility provides regional planning, training, exercise and coordination of medical and medically related activities in preparation for a health emergency.


Admiral Vanderwagen will also tour the Health Command Center in Trenton with Health and Senior Services Commissioner Heather Howard, Senior Assistant Commissioner Dave Gruber, and Director of New Jersey’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness Richard Canas.


The Health Command Center is a $1.8 million facility from which the Department can respond in real time to a full spectrum of health emergencies, including infectious diseases, natural and manmade disasters. It is among the first of its kind in the nation for a public health agency, a facility equipped to be the focal point of communications and operations for the entire network of public health response partners in New Jersey.


DHSS staff will brief Admiral Vanderwagen on Hippocrates, a web-based software program that integrates dynamic and static data from the Department’s nine Medical Coordination Centers, local health departments, acute care facilities and healthcare systems into a common situational awareness picture.


The Admiral will also be briefed on the activities of the Burn Consortium, a collaboration among burn centers along the North Atlantic region and the Burn MCC, which is located at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston.


The Burn MCC coordinates all planning, training and coordination of medical resources for responses that involve treatment and care of a large number of burn patients.




To Camden MCC: Direction to Cooper University Hospital can be found at this link: Reporters should park in parking garage adjacent to hospital and meet in main lobby to be escorted to the event.


To Health Command Center: The Health Command Center is located in the Health and Agriculture Building on the corner of Warren and Market Street. Directions can be found at




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