SERV-OR volunteers in Portland continue to complete the hands-on Mass Antibiotic Dispensing training provided by the Cities Readiness Initiative. Like regions all over the nation, Oregon continues to build and maintain the plans and workforce needed to dispense large quantities of antibiotics to the population on short notice.
Since June 2012, the region’s Cities Readiness Initiative has trained 80 health care volunteers from local Medical Reserve / Health Reserve Corps units as well as the State Managed Volunteer Pool. During the 4-hour training, participants learn from both presentations and group activities about operating a closed mass medical countermeasure dispensing site in a public health emergency.
The sessions cover the Strategic National Stockpile, client flow management, core roles and responsibilities of staff, and demobilization of a point of dispensing (POD). Volunteers participate in three hands-on training opportunities: working in groups to design a POD, learning the three critical jobs in a POD, and, finally, setting up and running the POD where volunteers role-play both dispensing staff and clients who need life-saving medication.
The training was originally launched as part of the Push Partner Registry, an initiative that helps local organizations prepare to rapidly dispense medical countermeasures to their own staff and family in a public health emergency. Registration was recently expanded to SERV-OR volunteers in order to build a workforce of credentialed health care volunteers who can be ready to staff large points of dispensing.
Opening the doors to SERV-OR volunteers has been welcomed by the program. “Medical Reserve and Health Reserve Corps volunteers are critical to the success of our public health mass antibiotic dispensing campaign following a major public health event,” said Cristin Corcoran, Program Coordinator for the Cities Readiness Initiative and instructor for the classes. “They bring unique value, education, and insight to these trainings, and I’m glad they’re here.”
After successfully completing the training, registered SERV-OR volunteers have the achievement added to their volunteer profile. Should the need arise, their state or local unit managers can quickly pull up a roster of volunteers who are pre-trained on point of dispensing operations.
The training and exposure to large dispensing operations can also help volunteers prepare to participate in other large disaster operations where clear organization and coordination are needed to rapidly provide service to large numbers of affected people.