Pandemic influenza preparedness and response is a major area of focus within the Health Emergency Response Office (HERO). In May, 2005, HERO conducted a pandemic influenza tabletop exercise to explore the unique challenges faced in the university campus setting, and to further refine the respective response roles of the University, state health department, local health departments, and the University of Minnesota Medical Center. Based upon lessons learned from that exercise, as well as federal and state pandemic influenza response guidelines, a series of planning activities were initiated from 2005 – 2008. Extensive assessments were completed in key response areas across the University through a combination of individual assignments, informal workgroups, formal task forces, and subcommittees. A comprehensive written plan was developed and added as an annex to the University’s Emergency Operations Plan (Annex R). In March 2009, a second tabletop exercise was conducted to test the effectiveness of the University’s plan. In April, the plan was implemented in response to the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic.
HERO has primary responsibility for coordinating and supporting the implementation of pandemic influenza response efforts across campus in the following areas:
- Internal and External Coordination
- Health Services
- Public Health Response
- Human Resources
- Campus Infrastructure
- Office of Information Technology