Medical Countermeasures

Medical Countermeasures

In emergencies such as bioterrorist attacks, large scale infectious disease outbreaks, or pandemics, large numbers of people may be exposed to disease-causing agents. Medical countermeasures (MCMs) are medicines (i.e. antibiotics, antivirals, antitoxins, etc.) that may be given to these exposed people to prevent them from becoming ill. Lives may depend on dispensing MCMs to a large number of people in a short amount of time.

In such an emergency, the Minnesota Department of Health can request large quantities of MCMs from the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR). ASPR maintains a large cache of MCMs called the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS), which can be quickly mobilized for emergency distribution. MDH then works with local health departments (LHDs) and the University of Minnesota to dispense the MCMs to the public at points of dispensing (POD) sites.

A Point of Dispensing (POD) site

  • Is activated during a public health emergency( large scale infectious disease outbreak or bioterrorism attack)
  • Distributes medical countermeasures (medications, vaccines, or other products for the prevention of illness)
  • Is set up quickly and safely to treat a large number of people at risk for exposure to an identified infectious agent

The University of Minnesota campus serves as one of nine designated POD sites in Hennepin County. When activated, this POD site will serve the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities Campus as well as the neighborhoods surrounding the Minneapolis campus. Detailed operational plans for the site are maintained by the University’s Health Emergency Response Office (HERO).


  • We recommend all MRC members become familiar with POD operation and roles by viewing the online training:
  • In person training will be offered for specific staff roles periodically.
  • Just in time training will be provided at the POD prior to each shift. The training will include all the information needed to perform your duties at the POD.


Efficient and effective POD operations depends on both medically trained personal (nurses, physicians, pharmacists, mental health professionals) and non-medically licensed personal to fill several vital roles.

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  • Licensed Mental Health Professional
  • Responsible for providing support to clients


  • Health Educator (Nursing, Public Health)
  • Responsible for answering questions regarding dosing, crushing of pills, etc.


  • Physician, Medical Resident, Nurse
  • Responsible for providing basic first aid. Medical staff will also serve as a liaison to other medical resources available within the community.


  • Students, staff and faculty in Pharmacy, Nursing, Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Medicine
  • Responsible for reviewing screening questionnaire for completeness and directing clients to appropriate dispensing or vaccination line


  • Nurse, physician, pharmacist, dentist
  • Review screening questionnaire and provide vaccine injection


  • Any member-No medical license needed
  • Set up tables, chairs, signs, queuing lines, as well as assisting with supplies and equipment in staff staging and dispensing areas


  • Any member-No medical license needed
  • Responsible for welcoming clients and providing forms


  • Nurse, Physician, Pharmacist, Medical Resident
  • Responsible for screening Antibiotic Screening forms and dispensing antibiotics


  • Any member - no medical license needed
  • Assist with supplies and equipment in staff staging area, training rooms, and dispensing or vaccination areas.


  • Any member-No medical license needed
  • Responsible for assisting clients navigate through POD and insuring efficient and safe clinic flow

Additional Resources