New York college hosts pharmacist bioterror training

St. John Fisher College in Rochester, New York, recently hosted a two-day bioterrorism mass prophylaxis and preparedness training program for approximately 50 pharmacists from the area.

The college's Wegmans School of Pharmacy worked with the Monroe County Office of Public Health Preparedness and the Pharmacy Society of Rochester to host the event on January 9 and January 10. The exercise provided local health officials and public health system partners with plans to coordinate the mass distribution of medical countermeasures in the event of a bioterrorism attack.

Keith Delmonte, the director of experiential education at St. John Fisher College, and Sherry Jimenez, the director of assessment at the Wegmans School of Pharmacy, planned the training to enhance the preparedness of area pharmacists with an all-hazards approach towards prevention.

"To date, very few pharmacists have been involved or trained in the area of prevention," Delmonte said. "Offering this education specifically to pharmacists is a vital step to assuring that we have trained personnel to address the needs in Monroe County in case of an event."

Ralph Dutcher, the medical reserve corps coordinator for the Monroe County Office of Public Health Preparedness, shared county-specific information with the attendees of the event.

"The Monroe County Department of Public Health greatly values its partnership with the Wegmans School of Pharmacy and the Pharmacy Society of Rochester to enable local pharmacists to learn more about how medications would be dispensed to large numbers of residents in the event of a public health emergency," Dutcher said.

Jurisdiction specific plans during a public health emergency would be coordinated with the Division of Strategic National Stockpile program. The training exercise received funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.