EPA Grant Awarded to Pueblo

EPA Grant Awarded to Pueblo

Colorado State University-Pueblo and Health Department collaborate to carry out the three-year study

Pueblo, CO-The Pueblo City-County Health Department announced today the receipt of a $375,000.00 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency. Over the next three years, the two agencies will work together to develop effective risk communications after a large scale biological incident.

“Pueblo is one of two communities in the nation awarded this grant,” stated Mark Korbitz project manager for the grant and regional coordinator, South Region Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Program at the Pueblo City-County Health Department.

The Pueblo City-County Health Department will work with Professor David Malet, Ph.D., director of the Center for the Study of Homeland Security at Colorado State University-Pueblo, to investigate communication after a biological event.

The project, Risk Communication for Biological Decontamination, consists of research
for the development of effective risk communication strategies after a decontamination incident and clearance activities associated with an intentional biological environmental contamination.

In partnership with CSU-Pueblo (Professor of Political Science, David Malet), the Emergency Preparedness and Response Program at Pueblo City-County Health Department intends to pursue research over the three year period of October 2011-September 2014 in order to determine best practices with regard to communicating with both community leaders and the public during the clean-up phase of an incident involving the intentional release of biological agents. Publication of the results of the study and presentation at national conferences are the expected outcomes.   

 Mark Korbitz is the Regional Coordinator for Emergency Preparedness and Response. Korbitz served as regional epidemiologist for southeastern Colorado and as an intelligence analyst for the Federal Bureau of Investigation before working on preparedness issues with the citizens, institutions and agencies in the Pueblo area. Korbitz completed intelligence training at the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Academy in Quantico, Va., an organizational response to bioterrorism course at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Advanced Leadership Program at the Regional Institute for Health and Environmental Leadership, courses through Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Emergency Management Institute, the Nuclear Isotope Identification Spectroscopy course at Los Alamos, and earned a certificate in Terrorism Studies from St. Andrews University, Scotland.  Korbitz is a Terrorism Liaison Officer for the State of Colorado Information Analysis Center.  Korbitz serves as team leader of the Pueblo City-County Health Department Threat Assessment Team, team leader for the Southern Colorado Sampling/Weapons of Mass Destruction Task Force, and is responsible for supervising the Health Department’s Biosafety Safety Level III Laboratory.

Dr. Malet is the founding director of Center for Study of Homeland Security, and Assistant professor of political science at CSU-Pueblo. One of his key areas of research is the impact of biotechnologies on national and international security. He has recently written a manuscript on this subject at the invitation of Johns Hopkins University Press, and had another article on biosecurity published earlier this year in The Journal of Diplomacy. Malet has published on related topics in various peer-reviewed journals, including Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, and the Social Science Journal. Malet’s research on this subject is influenced by personal experience: He was working as a staffer in the office of Senator Tom Daschle when the 2001 anthrax attack occurred. Improving public risk communications strategies during biological attacks and remediation is therefore of strong personal and professional interest. 

Colorado State University - Pueblo is a regional, comprehensive university emphasizing professional, career-oriented, and applied programs. Displaying excellence in teaching, celebrating diversity, and engaging in service and outreach, CSU-Pueblo is distinguished by access, opportunity, and the overall quality of services provided to its students.