Medical Training Program To Respond To Terrorism
Governor George E. Pataki announced last week a new comprehensive training program that will provide New York’s doctors with additional tools and further prepare them to respond to acts of terrorism, including biological, chemical or radiological attacks. The Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) joined with the State in developing the new bioterrorism readiness training program.
The Medical Society’s bioterrorism readiness train-ing program was developed as part of an $875,000 State and Federal grant award in 2003 and will further strengthen and enhance New York’s capabilities to respond to any health emergency in a timely manner.
MSSNY worked closely with the New York State Department of Health to create this new program, which includes multiple web-based training modules as well as an education awareness workbook that will provide physicians statewide with new in-formation and training.
The information will focus on 16 different chemical and biological agents, as well as nuclear radiation. Under the initiative, physicians will receive broad- based training on how to respond to cases of potential exposure to Ricin, Sarin, Smallpox or An-thrax, among other critical biological and chemical agents. Physicians who complete the training will receive continuing medical education credits.
In addition, MSSNY is compiling an electronic database that will include a listing of thous of physician-volunteers. The information, which will be ad-ministered by the State Health Department, will en-able government leaders and health care professionals throughout New York to quickly identify physicians and their specialty areas, and direct them, via New York’s emergency management systems, to hospitals with the most critical patient care needs.
The database will be used in conjunction with the State’s innovative Health Emergency Response Data System (HERDS). HERDS combines geographic in-formation systems and a comprehensive, interactive database to provide health officials with on-line, real time data describing available hospital beds, medical supplies, personnel, as well as the status and immediate care needs of all patients to facilitate a rapid and effective emergency response.