Upstate News

November 16, 2003
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

Emergency Medicine chief appointed to head CDC division

Richard Hunt, M.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at SUNY Upstate Medical University, has been named director of the Division of Injury and Disability Outcomes and Programs in the National Center for Injury Preventions at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The division analyzes injuries and their outcomes to identify ways to reduce injury, improve disabilities of people who are injured and help injured people get medical care immediately. Hunt begins work at the CDC Jan. 25.

“It is an honor to serve as director of this division, whose mission is to ‘coordinate a national public health approach for the prevention and control of injuries,’” said Hunt. “Injury is the leading cause of death and disability among children and young adults.”

SUNY Upstate President Gregory L. Eastwood, M.D., applauded the choice of Hunt for the CDC post. “We are very proud of Dr. Richard Hunt’s selection as a division director at the Centers for Disease Control,” he said. “This national appointment recognizes Dr. Hunt’s remarkable contributions both to Upstate Medical University and to our country.” Eastwood said that Hunt will retain his faculty position at SUNY Upstate.

Since joining SUNY Upstate in 1998, Hunt has played a lead role in not only strengthening SUNY Upstate’s emergency medical services, but also in enhancing emergency preparedness and response in Central New York and statewide.

In the hours immediately following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, Hunt convened a group of officials from the county, armed forces, area hospitals, law enforcement and emergency response agencies to address the possibility that Syracuse hospitals may need to take casualties from the attack. Since then, Hunt has worked to ensure that Central New York’s medical community has the resources necessary to respond and care for victims of bioterrorism or other attacks. To that end he has led the planning to develop a mass casualty medical complex at the New York State Fairgrounds and has established the Center for Emergency Preparedness at SUNY Upstate, which collaborates with government agencies to assess the community’s terrorism and disaster preparedness training.

Under his leadership, SUNY Upstate received a nearly $1 million federal grant to develop a statewide enhanced 9-1-1 emergency notification system. Recently completed, the plan has helped communities across the state secure the necessary wireless technologies to enable 9-1-1 call centers to locate cellular phone users who call 9-1-1.

Hunt has held numerous leadership positions with national organizations. As president of the National Association of EMS Physicians (2001 to 2003), he led a joint effort to develop the new national Basic Medical Response to Terrorism course. Hunt remains active in the national leadership of emergency medicine and emergency medical services, currently serving as the president of Advocates for EMS. Hunt is a Diplomate of the American Board of Emergency Medicine and the National Board of Medical Examiners and a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians.

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