Columbia University has been designated by Mayor Bill de Blasio to oversee the Pandemic Research Institute (PRI) to be built in New York.
The Ivy League school, alongside the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy (CUNY SPH) and other community partners, will be responsible for managing the institute to train and prepare New York for serious health emergencies and epidemics that could take place in the future.
The city has set aside up to $20 million in capital funding to support the institute, aiming to position the city as a global leader in public health response.
In April, New York City’s Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) chose Columbia to operate the PRI based on its compelling vision.
“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,” said Mayor Blasio.
Preparing for the Future
The research institute will work on various objectives, including building and strengthening real-time data collection and sharing technologies, researching public health innovation, and creating capacity to scale technological solutions in health emergencies.
Furthermore, PRI will initiate community-based partnership models and workforce training programs crucial in boosting emergency preparedness in local communities. It will also champion racial equity in all of its activities, such as response, initiatives, and infrastructure.
“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.
The city of New York aims to unite communities, academic institutions, nonprofit organizations, and local industries under the PRI to effectively coordinate public health emergency responses.
“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,” First Deputy Health Commissioner and Chief Equity Officer Dr. Torian Easterling remarked.
“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,” Easterling concluded.