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World Trade Center health program gets $147 million grant for 9/11 patient care

Firefighters work at Ground Zero, the site of the World Trade Center attacks, on Sept. 11, 2001.
Mark Lennihan
Firefighters work at Ground Zero, the site of the World Trade Center attacks, on Sept. 11, 2001.

The Stony Brook World Trade Health Program received $147 million in federal funding to continue serving survivors of the 9/11 terror attacks.

This funding was provided by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, which is part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The money will be distributed over the next eight years.

“We were delighted to receive this funding,” said Dr. Benjamin Luft, director of the WTC Health Program. “We were funded in full for the work that we are doing.”

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The WTC Health Program follows 13,000 first responders who were at the World Trade Center site. Responders are being treated for an array of health conditions, including depression, PTSD, asthma and COPD.

“Over 75% of them continue to have active WTC related illnesses so this was really vital for us to receive this in order to be able to continue our services as well as to be able to expand upon them,” Luft said.

As the only center that serves both Long Island’s Suffolk and Nassau counties, Dr. Luft is aiming to expand the program’s clinical offerings and integrate services to support respiratory and psychiatric care.

Additionally, the new funding will support the use of state-of-the-art technologies that will result in increased telehealth capabilities, including artificial intelligence.

Lauren is a former news intern at WSHU.