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Volume 9, Number 6—June 2003

An Ounce of Prevention is a Ton of Work: Mass Antibiotic Prophylaxis for Anthrax, New York City, 2001

Susan Blank*†Comments to Author , Linda C. Moskin†, and Jane R. Zucker*†1
Author affiliations: *Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA; †New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, New York, New York, USA

Main Article

Table 2

Job titles and primary responsibilities recommended for PODsa

Job title Primary responsibilities
Executive liaison
Reports to the incident commander
As senior staff member in the field, coordinates both the investigation (epidemiologic and environmental) and the prophylaxis effort
Interfaces between the public health agency and the organization representing those to receive prophylaxis
Ensures that the physician-in-charge is informed of recent developments of the investigation, as well as other information from Department of Health command center briefings (i.e., changes in treatment recommendations, eligibility criteria, or reports of organism antibiotic susceptibilities)
Reports directly to the executive liaison, keeping him or her appraised of progress and problems
Is responsible for the overall POD operations, including site selection, POD set-up (including floor plan and staff training), ensuring communication among POD stations, and overseeing collection of epidemiologic and law enforcement data
Is responsible for on-site oversight of the epidemiologic investigation, the supplies coordinator, the medical service staff (e.g., physicians, nurses, pharmacists, mental health professionals), and the clinic manager
Supplies coordinator
Ensures that all forms, supplies, and equipment are available at the POD when needed (prepared in advance, supplied to POD, and replenished as needed)b
Is responsible for transportation of staff and material.
Clinic manager Oversees nonclinical operations within the POD, such as staffing, patient flow, clerical, and MIS operations, communications, medical records retention, and quality improvement activities
Coordinates activities with the supplies coordinator

aPOD, point of distribution (of antibiotics); MIS, management information systems.
bSupplies to be provided include general supplies (medical charts, epidemiologic questionnaires, preprinted training instructions for staff at various stations, literature for patients and staff, medical charts, office supplies, white coats, and other clothing with appropriate insignia for nonclinical personnel), laboratory supplies (if needed, nasal swabs, laboratory requisitions forms, specimen bags, specimen labels, water-free hand sanitizing solution, and disposable laboratory gowns, gloves, and biohazard bags), and pharmaceutical supplies (antibiotics [in adult and pediatric dosages], a copy of the Physician’s Desk Reference, and medications fact sheets for each drug to be dispensed).

Main Article

1All three authors contributed to the concept and design of this paper. Susan Blank wrote the first draft. Major editings and additional material were contributed by Linda Moskin and Jane Zucker.

2Deputization formally gives a volunteer responsibilities and privileges during the temporary assignment as an agent of DOH. Responsibilities include following DOH rules on confidentiality, handling medical records, making decisions on DOH’s behalf, and stewarding resources (especially medications and equipment) according to DOH protocol. DOH will in turn offer some protections (e.g., proper equipment, malpractice coverage, worker’s compensation coverage).

Page created: December 22, 2010
Page updated: December 22, 2010
Page reviewed: December 22, 2010
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