Emergency Response System

Academic Health Center Office of Emergency Response (AHC-OER) is part of the University's and University of Minnesota Medical Center’s response system receiving 24/7 notification of all emergencies affecting the AHC and all health emergencies or potential health emergencies on campus. AHC-OER personnel follow a response procedure for determining the need for additional internal and external notifications and appropriate response actions.  

Response resources managed by AHC-OER include the following.

Department Operations Center/Emergency Operations Center

Department Operations Center/Emergency Operations Center

A Department Operations Center (DOC) will be established by AHC-OER to coordinate health communication and response actions at the operational level when needed. If an emergency requires full activation of the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) as determined by the Officer of the Day, the AHC has a designated desk which is typically attended by one senior administrator and one AHC-OER staff person. The AHC desk has responsibility for providing leadership for all health and public health response issues and also reviewing all response actions that will significantly impact the AHC.

Health emergencies website and electronic communications

Health emergencies website and electronic communications

AHC-OER maintains content for a health emergencies website and works with URelations during health emergency incidents to update online information and develop messages for the campus community.

Regional Mutual Aid Agreement

Regional Mutual Aid Agreement

AHC-OER has responsibility for maintenance and implementation of the Twin Cities Public Health and Environmental Health Entities in Minnesota Mutual Aid Agreement designed to make personnel, equipment, and other resources available to political subdivisions in the event of an emergency, training, drill or exercise. The parties participating in the agreement are Anoka County, Carver County, Dakota County, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Scott County, Washington County, City of Bloomington, City of Edina, City of Minneapolis, City of Richfield, City of Brooklyn Park, City of Crystal, City of Hopkins, City of Maplewood, City of Minnetonka, City of St. Louis Park, City of St. Paul, and University of Minnesota.

Coordination with key partners

Coordination with key partners

AHC-OER serves as liaison to the University of Minnesota Physicians, University of Minnesota Medical Center (UMMC), Minnesota Department of Health, and other relevant city and county health departments and/or other health systems related to health emergency planning and response.

Public Health Officer

Public Health Officer

The University of Minnesota Public Health Officer is a senior administrator with responsibility and authority for overseeing public health emergency response on campus at the discretion of the Officer of the Day. During designated public health emergencies, the Public Health Officer will develop response recommendations for the Officer of the Day in consultation with AHC-OER and other internal and external partners as needed. Depending on the nature of the incident, recommendations may include canceling classes or events, evacuating or closing buildings, or providing preventive medications through mass clinics.

Health Emergency Resource Team

Health Emergency Resource Team

In situations when broader consultation is required in order to determine the best course of action, the Health Emergency Resource Team (HERT) is convened by the Vice President for Health Sciences. The HERT consists of AHC officials representing administration, medicine, public health and communications; as well as the administrators from Boynton Health Service, Department of Emergency Management, and Student Affairs. The HERT, or a subset of the team, will be activated, as needed, at the time of a health-related emergency on campus or if the University is called upon to assist with a state or regional public health emergency.

Exercises and Drills

Exercises and Drills

AHC-OER develops, implements, and evaluates tabletop, drill, and functional exercises designed to test response plans and interagency coordination on campus. Staff also actively participate and assist in numerous exercises and drills hosted by partners at the local, regional, and state level.

Example of AHC-OER emergency response role: H1N1 Response on Campus

AHC-OER personnel served in a leadership role (“air traffic control”) to ensure an effective, efficient, and coordinated response to the H1N1 pandemic over an extended period of 12 months.

Incident command

Ensured that key campus leaders, including Officer of the Day, were informed of response actions and issues at all times. Provided routine communications to 75 member pandemic influenza response team to ensure shared understanding of the pandemic and response actions on campus. Compiled daily or weekly situation reports to ensure ongoing situational awareness. Completed successful implementation of a Department Operations Center (DOC) during the time of heaviest coordination and information needs. Maintained ongoing communications with federal, state and local public health authorities, UMMC, and UMP. 

Vaccine distribution

Facilitated procurement of vaccine from regional partners as needed. Worked with Boynton Health Service to plan and implement vaccine distribution efforts reaching 10,344 students, staff, faculty, and dependents on the Twin Cities campus. Participated in adverse reaction review, interfacing with MDH and ensuring that key administrators were informed as needed.

Human resources

Worked with Human Resources to complete new administrative policy and to ensure that employee questions and concerns were handled consistently and accurately. Convened ad hoc task force to develop personal protective equipment guidelines. Worked closely with Office of Occupational Health and Safety to address various additional worker and student safety issues.

Teaching

Worked closely with the Provost’s Office on assessment of academic policies, information and support to faculty.  Worked with Office of International Travel to review study abroad program issues. 

Residence halls

Worked with Housing and Residential Life and Boynton Health Service to develop plans for residence halls including self-isolation procedures. 

Communication

Coordinated team of personnel from URelations, AHC-OER, Boynton Health Services and the Public Health Officer to develop all campus-wide messages and web-based information systems.

Outreach

Provided numerous and varied presentations internally and externally on our campus plans and response. Invited speaker on H1N1 response at National Association of College and University Attorneys Annual Meeting.