The mission of the WTC Health Program research includes the following broad areas:
- Physical and mental health conditions that may be related to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks;
- Diagnosing WTC-related health conditions for which there has been diagnostic uncertainty; and
- Treating WTC-related health conditions for which there has been treatment uncertainty.
Areas of Interest
Research mentioned in the Zadroga Act includes epidemiologic and other research studies on WTC-related health conditions or emerging conditions among (1) enrolled WTC responders and certified-eligible WTC survivors under treatment; (2) sampled populations outside the NYC disaster area, in Manhattan (as far north as 14th Street) and in Brooklyn; and (3) control populations, to identify potential for long-term adverse health effects in less exposed populations.
The WTC Health Program major areas of interest for research include, but are not limited to:
- Linking 9/11 exposure to health conditions:
- Cancers, multisystem or autoimmune, cardiovascular and neurologic disease (including age at diagnosis);
- Characterizing patterns of illness (age, gender, comorbidities, etc.); and
- Characterizing alterations in health and development for those exposed to 9/11 as children.
- Characterizing established WTC-related diseases and comorbidities:
- Identifying phenotypes, biomarkers, epigenetics; and
- Care models that address complex co-morbidities and other modifiable factors.
- Health services research and value-based care that addresses disaster-related injury and illness for chronic disease.
(NOTE: Health services research examines how people get access to health care, how much care costs, and what happens to patients as a result of this care. The main goals of health services research are to identify the most effective ways to organize, manage, finance, and deliver high quality care; reduce medical errors; and improve patient safety (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2002).)
- Characterizing the work-ability and occupational outcomes for those impacted by 9/11:
- Lessons learned in recovery:
- Identifying and operationalizing key elements of psychological resilience for disaster responders; and
- Establishing comparison groups for disaster-related research for key health indicators for first responders
(NOTE: Concepts of psychological resilience vary across disciplines with investigations addressing various outcomes ranging from reported levels of stress, burnout, compassion fatigue, and general indicators of well-being. Also proposed are interpersonal, intrapersonal and environmental factors that suggest a more stable and enduring personality trait impacting self-regulation.)
Relevant diseases or conditions include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Respiratory diseases
- Cancer (including detection/diagnosis of pre-malignant changes)
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Psychological resilience and well-being
- Persistent psychiatric conditions such as posttraumatic stress, anxiety and depressive disorders
- Cognitive changes
- Aging – the impacts of aging on those impacted by 9/11 illness and injury
- Neurological Diseases
- Aerodigestive health
- Multisystem or auto-immune diseases
- Gastro-esophageal disorders
- Gastrointestinal health
- Chronic musculoskeletal conditions resulting from acute traumatic injury and overuse disorders
The Research-to-Care Logic Model is used by the WTC Health Program to evaluate the effectiveness of the WTC research program.