The Florida State University College of Medicine has established a Center on Terrorism and Public Health that will serve as a resource for educating health professionals and the public on how to deal with weapons of mass destruction and bioterrorism.

The center received approval Monday from the Florida Board of Education.

Dr. Robert G. Brooks, associate dean for health affairs and professor of family medicine at the FSU College of Medicine, will be the center's director. Brooks joined the medical school in September after serving from January 1999 to August 2001 as Secretary of Florida's Department of Health.

"The goal of this new center is to help local, state and federal government in its quest to protect the public," Brooks said. "Our current health care system has little in the way of prepared materials and training modules on weapons of mass destruction and terrorism for practicing health professionals. To remedy that, the center will focus on the development, dissemination, and evaluation of educational materials and programs."

Besides educating doctors, nurses and emergency workers, and the institutions in which they practice, the center will study ways to educate the general public. It will seek to assist city and county governments with public information and awareness efforts, and to educate the public directly through Web sites, e-mail, printed materials and other methods.