• Analysis of Student Roles in COVID-19 Contact Tracing and Case Investigation Efforts

      Hernandez, Arlette; Batten, Ashley; Thomas, Joy (2021)
      In December of 2019, Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) was first identified in Wuhan, China and would be marked as the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and is most commonly transmitted via person to person through exposure to respiratory droplets. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued an agency-wide response that involved several guidelines for local Health Departments to implement disease tracking strategies to mitigate the spread of the virus. The practice of contact tracing has been continuously supported as a procedure for the control of low-prevalence infectious diseases by identifying individuals who may have been exposed to a person with suspected or confirmed infection of a pathogen. In the COVID-19 response, the "contacts" of confirmed COVID-19 cases were referred by public health authorities to isolate or quarantine themselves during their possible infectious period. In April of 2020, Mercer University's Department of Public Health informed their Master of Public Health student body of their partnership with the Georgia Department of Public Health. Since then, 18 students have participated in contact tracing across Georgia. Some students have used these opportunities for practicum completion, and some as part-time positions. Students were given the opportunity to highlight their experiences as a Contact Tracer and lend their perspective about its effectiveness in controlling the spread of COVID-19.
    • The Bridge to Better Health

      Gould, Chelsea; Washington, Kayla; Thomas, Joy; Lepp, Erin; May, Stephanie (2021)
      Nutrition education is important for all individuals but most people do not have this knowledge. The lack of nutritional knowledge is a growing problem that contributes to the growth of obesity in Dekalb county. In Dekalb county, approximately 30% of adults and 13% of high school students are obese. Even more people in Dekalb county (73.4% of adults and 79% of youth) do not consume the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables per day(CDC, 2013). Objectives: Increasing knowledge of healthy foods Increasing understanding of nutritional value Ability to participate in healthier eating habits Increasing community support for a healthier well-being Identifying barriers to healthy eating Methods: Mercer University College of Health Professions, Department of Public Health, and the professional program in Physician Assistant Studies program partnered with the Bridge at Austin Community Center's leaders, Dr. Stephanie May and Ms. Bernita Reese. Interactive and educational sessions are held online using Zoom. They are open to both males and females of all ages in Dekalb county. Participants filled out a registration form which included information on their name, children�s names, phone number, address, email, race/ethnicity, ages of household members, and what they are looking to learn from the sessions. This intervention is still currently in progress. The goal of the intervention was to help improve health and wellness for participants.