ORAU has specialized in medical countermeasures (MCM) preparedness since 2012 to help enhance MCM readiness in communities across the United States, including support for a bidirectional text messaging program, called StopAnthrax™ designed to be activated during an anthrax incident.
In collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Healthcare Preparedness Activity (HPA) [now known as the Healthcare Preparedness and Response Team], ORAU developed the StopAnthrax™ text messaging program to be activated following an anthrax incident in the United States. The focus of StopAnthrax™ is on medical countermeasures (MCMs) that most likely will be distributed to communities following an anthrax incident. Once distributed, these MCMs will be dispensed to individuals who were in or near the affected areas at points of dispensing (PODs) to be stood up within the community.
CDC-HPA contracted with ORAU to develop text messages for StopAnthrax™, working collaboratively with CDC-HPA and other subject matter experts (SMEs). Text message development included messaging for four CDC identified anthrax MCMs, which the ORAU team spent over a year to develop with input from CDC SMEs. In addition, ORAU developed text messages for three additional populations—pregnant women, parents with children also taking anthrax MCMs, and limited English proficient Spanish speakers.
ORAU also led a larger initiative to assist jurisdictions with the implementation of StopAnthrax™ into their POD exercises in order to test the program. This work entailed working with CDC-HPA to design and implement the proposed information collection based on Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation (HSEEP) methodology. The purpose of this information collection was to take advantage of the opportunity to collect user feedback from POD exercise participants about the StopAnthrax™ program in order to improve the program.
ORAU supported information collection and analysis from 660 exercise participants through an online survey following the exercise, as well as 40 jurisdictional planning committee (JPC) members and participating local health department (LHD) exercise staff through an online facilitated discussion using ThinkTank™, and online collaboration software.
For information about ORAU’s health communication, preparedness and response solutions, contact Freddy Gray, director, Health Communication and Preparedness programs, at 865.576.0029 or firstname.lastname@example.org.