PRI Allocated $20 Million in City Funding, Tasked with Preparing Communities Ahead of Next Pandemic
Today, Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), and New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) announced their selection of Columbia University to launch and operate the Pandemic Response Institute (PRI), with its key partner, the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy (CUNY SPH), and several community, research, and industry partners.
The PRI will be supported by up to $20 million in City capital funding for eligible costs and be dedicated to preparing New York City for future health emergencies and epidemics in a more effective and equitable manner, while positioning the city as a global leader to serve as a model for public health response.
“The Pandemic Response Institute, operated by Columbia University with key partner CUNY SPH, will play a critical role in preparing for future pandemics, and promoting equity in public health,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Born out of New York’s quick action during the early days of the pandemic, this institute will put our hardest learned lessons to work so that when the next public health crisis emerges, New York City will not only be prepared, we will be ready to lead these global fights.”
“The Pandemic Response Institute will serve as our City’s anchor as we invest and ensure we have the tools we need to confront—and prevent—future public health emergencies,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been. “We are grateful to our partners at Columbia and CUNY SPH for putting forth an ambitious and comprehensive vision for such an urgent need for New York City.”
“The experience of confronting COVID-19 and recent natural disasters has proven that we must work together to prepare and respond to public health emergencies with a focus on racial and social justice,” said First Deputy Health Commissioner and Chief Equity Officer Dr. Torian Easterling. “These investments will prepare us to fight future health crises and ensure a just recovery and the opportunity to establish New York City as the public health capital of the world.”
“One of the lessons we’ve learned over the last 18 months during the COVID-19 pandemic is the importance of a robust public health emergency response system,” said Emergency Management Commissioner John Scrivani. “The partnership with Columbia University and the other institutions will make the Pandemic Response Institute a hub of innovation, information and planning to better prepare us for the next health crisis. A dedicated institute to analyze and plan for future crises, along with resources and collaboration with City agencies, will help minimize the impact of future disasters and strengthen our public health responses.”
“Our commitment to building a recovery for all of us includes ensuring a robust public health response to any future emergency,” said the City's Senior Advisor for Recovery Lorraine Grillo. “We look forward to working with Columbia and CUNY to bolster our city's infrastructure so we are better prepared to swiftly and equitably address any threat to the well-being of our communities.”
“Columbia University with key partner CUNY SPH demonstrated to us a high level of expertise that was unmatched,” said NYCEDC President and CEO Rachel Loeb. “NYCEDC has every confidence these esteemed institutions and their partners will put New York City and all New Yorkers first. Keeping people safe and our economy open means we need an unprecedented public health response that is forward-looking and dedicated to addressing health disparities. NYCEDC is proud to help establish a Pandemic Response Institute that will be innovative and critical to our public health infrastructure.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has opened our eyes to the critical need for strong and vibrant multi-sector partnerships to effectively protect New Yorkers from emergent health threats,” said Wafaa El-Sadr, University Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health, and Director of ICAP and Columbia World Projects, who is leading the PRI. “The Pandemic Response Institute will create an unprecedented nexus for engagement, expertise, and resources from across our city and beyond that will enable us to equitably prepare, predict, prevent, detect, respond to, and recover from major health emergencies.”
“We are enormously excited to partner with Columbia University in this vital effort,” said Ayman El-Mohandes, Dean of CUNY SPH. “Our school’s primary commitment to health equity and social justice, coupled with existing strengths in health communication, systems modeling, and community outreach will help to shape and support this initiative to advance a new vision for the health of all New Yorkers.”
NYCEDC, DOHMH, and New York City Emergency Management reviewed and selected Columbia to launch this institute with a key partnership with CUNY SPH as well as other collaborators, following a Request for Proposals (RFP) in April. The university, through its Mailman School of Public Health, put forth an ambitious and compelling vision for the PRI, which was supported by an impressive and robust multi-sector group of partners, while looking to ensure all New Yorkers are prepared for future public health emergencies by having access to health solutions, information for decision-making, and the capacity to prepare and respond.
The PRI will specifically focus on:
· Building or strengthening technologies and systems to support real-time data collection and sharing
· Driving cutting-edge research on public health innovation and creating capacity to rapidly scale technological solutions in future public health emergencies
· Piloting community-based partnership models and workforce training programs that improve emergency preparedness and advance health outcomes across all communities
· Centering racial equity in all activities of the Institute and addressing gaps in health infrastructure that have disproportionately caused harm to communities of color and others facing structural inequities.
The PRI will bring together communities, nonprofit organizations, industry, and academic institutions, and coordinate with City agencies in activities related to and within the entire public health emergency cycle. These critical partnerships will help the institute to advance research, training, and innovation.
The Institute will begin activities this year and plans to launch a community-based location in each borough.