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Oral History Project

Benjamin Luft, MD, the Edmund Pellegrino Professor of Medicine at Stony Brook University School of Medicine and Director of the Stony Brook WTC Wellness Program , has announced the donation of the first installment of a collection of oral histories provided by 9/11 World Trade Center responders to the Library of Congress’ American Folklife Center . The Center will become the permanent home of the collection, known as the “Remembering 9/11 Oral History Project.” Dr. Luft, along with colleagues, established the project by recording the histories of responders who attended the Stony Brook WTC Wellness Program, which cares for some 6,900 responders.

Dr. Luft’s oral history project,  Remembering 911 , was featured on a special edition of the CBS news program  60 Minutes, aired on the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Over the past decade, Dr. Luft has worked to document the experiences of 9/11 first responders in their own words. The first responders interviewed in the television program are currently being followed in the WTC Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program (WTCMMTP) at Stony Brook under Dr. Luft, and took part in the oral history project. During the interview with anchor Scott Pelley, the responders recalled their emotional and chilling experiences during the attack, and in the aftermath. The segment also featured Pelley’s one-on-one interview with Dr. Luft, the Edmund D. Pellegrino Professor of Medicine at Stony Brook University School of Medicine, and Medical Director of the WTC Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program at Stony Brook. Dr. Luft and colleagues have cared for approximately 6,000 responders, including police officers, firefighters, paramedics, and construction workers, since immediately after 9/11. 

Dr. Luft talked about his work as a physician treating the responders at Stony Brook’s WTCMMTP during the years after the attacks. Stemming from this work and the oral history project, Dr. Luft executive produced 9/11: An American Requiem , a film featuring first responders, and a new book,  We’re Not Leaving. The movie and book are part of a larger Stony Brook project that includes the development of School of Medicine courses designed to inspire and train aspiring physicians on specific patient care related to disaster and aftermath medicine. 

The WTCMMTP is a federally funded program largely supported by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), an arm of the Centers for Disease Control. With an annual budget of more than $8 million, the program follows 6,000 9/11 responders and continues to grow. The WTCMMTP is expanding its clinical center of excellence to satellite locations at Winthrop University Hospital in Nassau County and SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY.  The expansion enables the program to care for thousands more who were exposed to toxic chemicals and who continue to suffer conditions related to the environment at Ground Zero. More »

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