MDPH Brings Clinic Training to UMVMRC

On two consecutive Wednesday evenings in March, Mary Conant, RN, instructed UMVMRC members and school nurses about collaborating with their public health departments to assist with mass dispensing clinics and administering smallpox vaccine. Conant is an Infectious Disease Response Nurse for the MA Department of Public Health, who is chartered with sharing this information to medical personnel throughout metropolitan Boston. Her MDPH counterparts are delivering similar classes to other regions of the commonwealth.

Mary Conant (right) demonstrating smallpox vaccination techniques on MRC member Donna Harrill.

The Upper Merrimack Valley MRC organized, through MDPH, two back-to-back sessions in March, for groups of up to 25 per class, at the Millennium school in Westford. The first sessions focused on Mass Dispensing Clinics.

Mary Conant demonstrates smallpox inoculation techniques on MRC member Donna Harrill, as members of the class look on.

Topics included a history of infectious disease control, communicable diseases of greatest concern today, and operational issues related to large scale dispensing sites within local communities. "We cannot emphasize enough the importance of advanced planning," urged Conant, "and the value of working together smoothly with the other agencies that may be involved."

Conant offers guidance as James Morash (right) practices on fellow MRC member Joseph Donoghue.

The second sessions were devoted to Smallpox inoculation certification. Conant described the characteristics of smallpox and global efforts to eradicate the disease, as well as measures being taken to guard against potential outbreaks. Attendees were able to practice using special bifurcated needles, which would be used to administer the vaccine. Participants earned MDPH certification in Smallpox delivery, as well as 3.5 CEUs (for nurses) or 3 OEMS credit hours (for EMTs).


Upper Merrimack Valley Medical Reserve Corps, 55 Main Street, Westford, MA 01886