9/6/2000

ASHP Launches Counterterrorism Resource Center

The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) has compiled a comprehensive set of resources to help health-system pharmacists prepare for and respond to potential domestic terrorist attacks. The ASHP Emergency Preparedness—Counterterrorism Resource Center (located on the Society’s Web site, www.ashp.org) offers information and guidance for pharmacy practitioners as they take part in the emergency preparedness activities of their institutions.

The potential threat of domestic terrorist attacks with chemical or biological weapons has escalated in recent years according to U.S. intelligence sources. Federal agencies are coordinating activities among public and private groups to strengthen mechanisms for dealing with emergencies. Pharmacists will have an essential role on disaster response teams in distributing vaccines, antidotes, antimicrobials, and other pharmaceutical agents, as well as caring for patients directly.

The resource center gives pharmacists access to information on combating bioterrorism, including providing a list of potential biological weapons, strategies for preparedness planning, and methods for managing casualties. The site contains journal articles, newsletters, government guidelines documents, and Web links to government agencies and professional organizations involved in emergency preparedness issues. The resource center also highlights ASHP activities and events, including educational sessions at the Society’s continuing education meetings.

The Web site’s content will be updated regularly to include new publications and other timely information. Retired U.S. Public Health Service Capt. Joseph H. Deffenbaugh, M.P.H., ASHP professional practice associate is responsible for the site’s development and maintenance.

"Pharmacists’ knowledge and training makes us uniquely qualified to contribute to the success of emergency preparedness and counterterrorism efforts as part of their hospital’s or health system’s preparedness efforts," said ASHP Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer Henri R. Manasse, Jr., Ph.D. Sc.D. "ASHP’s resource center will be an effective tool to help practitioners stay abreast of the latest thinking on ways to respond to this kind of emergency."

ASHP is the 30,000-member national professional association that represents pharmacists who practice in hospitals, health maintenance organizations, long-term-care facilities, home care, and other components of health care systems. ASHP, which has a long and distinguished history of medication-error prevention efforts, believes that the mission of pharmacists is to help people make the best use of medicines. Assisting pharmacists in fulfilling this mission is ASHP's primary objective. The Society has extensive publishing and educational programs designed to help members improve their delivery of pharmaceutical care, and it is the national accrediting organization for pharmacy residency and pharmacy technician training programs.


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