In 2002, a team of scientists, business leaders, doctors, security professionals and others formed the New England Collaborative for Public Health Preparedness to bring a regional focus to local planning against bioterrorism and other biological threats to public health and safety.
The Third Sector New England, a Boston nonprofit that supports the work of other nonprofits (and served as the project's fiscal sponsor), supported the establishment of the New England Collaborative for Public Health Preparedness.
- The collaborative sponsored a conference entitled "Understanding the Problems and Discussing Realistic Solutions to the Surge Capacity Deficit," in July 2002 in Boston. Approximately 50 people attended the meeting from such organizations as the Boston Public Health Commission and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
- With funds provided through the Harvard School of Public Health, the collaborative awarded seven mini-grants to advance local public health preparedness efforts. The mini-grants averaged around $7,000. Examples of funded projects included:
- A manual written by staff at the University of Massachusetts to train directors of homeless shelters on appropriate procedures in the event of a national emergency.
- A CD-ROM, produced by staff at the University of Massachusetts and local boards of public health, to train public health officials (in localities ranging from small to large) on what to do in national emergencies.