Pharmacy Personnel Needed for Bioterrorism Response Teams
To meet part of that need, the Joint Commission of Pharmacy Practitioners has agreed to sponsor one National Pharmacist Response Team from each of PHSs 10 regions, Babb said. Pharmacists, pharmacy students, and pharmacy technicians whose team is called to duty will be federalizedprovided with professional liability coverage and recognition of active licensure regardless of state of originand paid a salary. Also, travel and housing expenses will be reimbursed.
Nurses will similarly be organized in teams sponsored by the American Nurses Association.
The health professional teams will be trained to provide mass chemoprophylaxis and vaccination after an act of terrorism anywhere in the country. Teams will represent the 10 PHS regions, which are based in the following cities: Boston (region I), New York (II), Philadelphia (III), Atlanta (IV), Chicago (V), Dallas (VI), Kansas City, Missouri (VII), Denver (VIII), San Francisco (IX), and Seattle (X).
In addition to the new national response teams, PHS offers pharmacists three ways to participate in emergency preparedness:
- Commissioned Corps Readiness Force, a cadre of PHS officers that directs, enhances, and supports federal agencies responses to disasters and other public health emergencies (http://oep.osophs.dhhs.gov/ccrf).
- Disaster Medical Assistance Team, or DMAT, a group of professional and paraprofessional medical personnel that provides emergency medical care during a disaster or other event anywhere in the country (http://oep-ndms.dhhs.gov). Specialized DMATs respond to emergencies involving burns, crush injuries, weapons of mass destruction, and mental health.
- Planning committee of a Metropolitan Medical Response System (www.mmrs.hhs.gov). Some 122 cities have a federal contract to plan for their metropolitan areas response to biological and chemical terrorism. "Many of these cities," said Babb, "have had little or no pharmacist participation despite the fact that one of their main obligations is to develop and maintain a pharmaceutical cache and a distribution plan."
Pharmacists, pharmacy students, and pharmacy technicians interested in joining a National Pharmacist Response Team should contact Babb (fax, 301-443-3119) and provide their name, street and e-mail addresses, work and home telephone numbers, workplace setting, and professional status (e.g., pharmacist).
The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists is a member of the Joint Commission of Pharmacy Practitioners.