Cindy Vanner

Biothreat Preparedness & Response


To rapidly respond and perform testing to rule out or identify biothreat agents in clinical specimens and suspicious environmental substances.

What we do

  • Perform testing to rule out or confirm biothreat agents in clinical specimens, clinical isolates and suspect environmental substances
  • Provide biothreat response training resources to hospital based and commercial microbiology laboratories throughout the state.
  • Maintain a communications database to ensure the ability to rapidly communicate critical information to hospital and commercial clinical microbiology laboratories.
  • Maintain membership in the CDC Laboratory Response Network (LRN) and participate in their proficiency testing program.
  • Assist with standardizing response protocols with federal, state and local law enforcement as well as Hazmat Teams throughout the state.
  • Participate in drills and exercises to assess readiness to respond to an incident or wide spread infectious disease outbreak caused by a biothreat agent.
  • Work closely with internal and external partners such as the Center for Emergency Preparedness and Response, hospital laboratories, law enforcement, RI Emergency Management and hazardous materials (HAZMAT) teams to help insure a rapid response to potential acts of bioterrorism.


  • Maintained capacity and proficiency in all molecular and conventional CDC LRN testing methods to rule out and confirm biothreat agents.
  • Ruled out the presence of biothreat agents in 15 clinical specimens/isolates and 1 environmental specimen in 2018.