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New Centers Launched Downtown

November 1, 1998

Judith Zwolak

Within one week last month, Tulane University Medical Center dedicated two new centers that will serve people in the New Orleans and Gulf South region. On Oct. 16, in a ceremony in the Garden for Women in City Park, the medical center launched the Tulane-Xavier National Center of Excellence in Women's Health.

On Oct. 21, U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher helped kick off the Environmental Diseases Prevention Research Center in the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine. The Center of Excellence in Women's Health is one of 18 national centers designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The center aims to provide "one-stop clinical services" for physical and mental health as well as promote research, education and community outreach in women's health.

"Our center focuses on promoting health and preventing and treating disease among greater New Orleans and regional women who have some of the highest rates of premature death and disability in the nation," says center director Judith LaRosa. "We are the only center in the Deep South."

Also the only center of its kind in the region, the Environmental Diseases Prevention Research Center is one of 22 prevention centers in the country funded by the Centers for Disease Control. The Tulane center will focus on environmental problems such as lead poisoning in the inner city, agricultural pesticide contamination of food and water supplies and the effects on communities living near hazardous waste sites.

The $1.8 million grant will support the center for five years. "We are committed to ensuring every child has the opportunity for a healthy start in life," Satcher said at the news conference in the J. Bennett Johnston Health and Environmental Research Building. "You can't have a healthy start if the environment is not safe."

Co-investigators of the research supported by the CDC grant are William Hartley and LuAnn White, both associate professors of environmental health sciences. Hartley and White say researchers will work directly with communities. "This is a true demonstration that the Tulane faculty have left the ivory tower and are down in the community doing things that public health professionals should be doing," White says.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 website@tulane.edu