Online Program

Ensuring workforce protection and continuity of mission operations: MCM program, DHS

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Ivan Zapata, MS, CHES, Office of Health Affairs, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC
Ingrid Hope, RN, MSN, Office of Health Affairs, Department of Homeland Security, Arlington, VA
Joseph Kelly, MD, MPH, Office of Health Affairs, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC
Executive Order 13527 was issued on 12/30/09 requiring federal agencies to establish the capacity and capability to dispense medical countermeasures (MCM) in the event of a biological attack to ensure mission essential functions would continue. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is the third largest U.S. cabinet department staffed by nearly a quarter of a million employees working together under a collective goal: a safer, more secure America, which is resilient against terrorism and other potential threats.

In July of 2011, the Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization allowing the prepositioning of Doxycycline by federal agencies. This provision allowed DHS to better protect its workforce and mission by prepositioning MCM at over 100 field locations nationwide. DHS pre-deployed over 200,000 courses of MCM to Component field locations. Additionally, a centralized stockpile of 150,000 more courses was established for rapid secondary deployment.

The DHS Office of Health Affairs' response plans are based on a wide-area aerosolized Anthrax attack, but could easily expand to other biological threats. Other planning assumptions include the detection/confirmation of such an attack would be delayed by perhaps 24 to 48 hours. The medical experts warn that a person has 48 hours to begin taking antibiotics before inhaled anthrax spores become deadly. Therefore, the DHS program is designed to reach all DHS employees and those persons under DHS care and custody to receive MCM within 6 hours of notification, regardless of duty station.

Learning Areas:

Occupational health and safety
Program planning
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health or related education
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Define: DHS MCM Program Define: workforce protection Define: biological threat

Keyword(s): Bioterrorism, Workforce

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a federal employee and have no conflicts of interest
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.