Like the far-reaching impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak, Spartans in Public Health have addressed the pandemic in unprecedented ways. Alumni and students rapidly applied their skills and their talents to actively address the evolving needs of the pandemic. 

Where there is a need, there is a Spartan in Public Health.

These Spartans have helped address the epidemiology of disease transmission, worked to ensure patients are able to get their medicine safely, conducted risk assessments, developed containment strategies, provided psychiatric and mental health consultations to COVID-19 positive patients, volunteered to work the COVID-19 provider hotlines, performed autopsies, and more.

Alumni and MPH students that want to have their COVID-19 work or volunteer activities included can participate by: 
1. Submitting answers to this short survey.
2. Emailing a selfie or headshot to vondras4@msu.edu.

 

June 18, 2020

CassandraWygant 220 Cassandra Wygant, MPH '16
Morgue/Autopsy Assistant
I have been working on the front line performing autopsies and testing on deceased individuals of Kent county and various counties in Michigan at spectrum hospital while learning remotely in podiatry school.
AbigailKeskimaki 220 Abigail Keskimaki, MPH '14
Infection Preventionist
I work at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, MI. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been on the forefront of assisting.  Although we do not provide direct clinical patient care, we have been responsible for the information relating to the epidemiology of disease transmission, general COVID-19 education, approval of personal protective equipment (PPE), proper disinfection processes, isolating suspect and confirmed patients, policies and procedures for staff when treating COVID-19 patients, etc. The unique thing about our job in Infection Prevention and Control is that we work with every department in the hospital to implement and achieve best practices. This has been an extremely challenging time for everyone involved. However, it is inspiring the resilience of staff and support from the community. I am certain we will come out of this stronger.
HelmetHeadshot 220 Lauren Kerrick, 

Clinic Coordinator
I currently work as a clinic coordinator for an outpatient clinic that sees cardiology, endocrinology, primary care, infectious disease, and occupational medicine. My role during this pandemic has been to create schedules and provide support to our staff and providers while we transitioned to Telehealth. As a supervisor, I was responsible for screening staff and providers prior to their entrance into the clinic and providing instructions for those that answered positively. I have also assisted in the clinic's transition back to in-person appointments by mandating that all patients be screened at the time of scheduling, the day prior, and when they arrive for their appointments. All patients are to wait for it their car and call us prior to entering the clinic. During this time, I have also swabbed patients for Covid-19 at our HealthCare organizations tent. Additionally, I was responsible for notifying management that HealthCare workers should be tested for Covid-19 if they present with any of the symptoms.

My other work consisted of volunteering for the State of Michigan PUI Provider line. This work involved triaging phone calls from hospitals and other sites where there may be a suspected Covid-19 case. Each phone call involved completion of the PUI/BOL priority testing form, entering suspected cases into MDSS to generate a PUI number and providing instructions for proper sample submission and form completion. Additionally, I was expected to stay up-to-date with testing criteria and determine if the sample needed to be submitted to BOL or if there was a local commercial lab available.

ShardeBurton 220 Sharde’ Burton, MPH '17
Public Health Consultant
During the COVID19 pandemic, I have shifted my public health focus from disease prevention and have been assisting with contact tracing at MDHHS.
AmandaRousseau 440 Amanda Rousseau, 
Pharmacy Technician, MPH Student
I’ve been working as a Pharmacy Technician for four years and during this pandemic, I’ve been working more hours and ensuring that our patients are able to get their medicine safely. Since March, I’ve been volunteering for a COVID-19 provider hotline with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services which helps give providers the information they need in order to send test specimens to the state labs.
OlajumokeSubair 220

Olajumoke N Subair, 
COVID-19 Emergency Response Physician, MPH Student
I am collaborating with an NGO, the health shift drive international (HSDi), in developing an interventional program in response to COVID-19 in the Oguta community, Nigeria. Oguta, IMO state Nigeria is embedded between Oguta lake and Obana river and Okposha river, with only one land route passing through water or a bridge. This unique location limits access to health care in the community. Amid COVID 19, (HSDi) and I conducted a risk assessment and the organization is helping to develop programs on containment strategy, establishing virtual care clinic, soliciting health care professionals and volunteers, educating the community about quarantine process, self-isolation, avoidance of social gathering, and supply of personal protective equipment for health care workers in the community. I partnered with Dr. Nwapa, a family physician, and a public health enthusiast and a daughter of the community. Because of limited health care access to qualified health professionals and the community located on a land surrounded by water with only one land exits, screening people coming into town for possible intervention as part of the lockdown strategy, is imminent. I created a basic questionnaire to help evaluate, screen, and document movement in and out of the community. We distributed educational materials and provide information on COVID-19 to people about the risk involved with a social gathering and proper use of personal protection.

The work is still ongoing, as the risk assessment indicates a need for an urgent community sensitization. This program is hoping to identify areas of need and concern regarding COVID19 and will strategize on its solutions. A new website and virtual care app have been developed to help the villagers access volunteer physicians globally.

HelmetHeadshot 220 Alyssa Strouse (formally Nowak), MPH '16
Adult and Adolescent Immunization Coordinator
I currently work for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services in the Division of Immunization as the Adult and Adolescent Immunization Coordinator. Even though we do not have a vaccine for COVID-19, yet, I wanted to help and knew we needed all hands on deck. For the last several weeks I have been involved in COVID-19 contact tracing on behalf of the department. I am in charge of calling cases who have recently tested positive for COVID-19 and checking up on them, gathering information on their symptoms, possible contacts, and exposures, answering their questions and concerns and providing them with resources, support, and services needed to combat the virus and ideally stop the spread of disease. These calls can be emotional, but they are so important to help stop the spread of disease. I am also working diligently with my colleagues in the Division of Immunization, and our partners nationwide, to prepare for a COVID-19 vaccine. It is our job to make sure Michigan is ready when a COVID-19 vaccine is made available.
DanielleZazaian 220 Danielle Zazaian, MPH '13
Physician
As a psychiatric resident, during this pandemic, I have done psychiatric consults on COVID positive patients. I am currently working at an inpatient psychiatric hospital, as we continue to see a rise in mental health issues during this time.
ChristinaDarin 220 Christina Darin,
Dual Enrolled MD/MPH Student
I have been volunteering at two COVID provider hotlines, one for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and one for a local hospital system. As a volunteer for these hotlines, I answer calls from physicians who want to test their patients for COVID. I help coordinate the testing and screen patients for testing. For the local hospital system, I have also helped coordinate employee health and screening employees for testing.
HelmetHeadshot 220 Meredith, 
Registered Dietician
I am currently working two part-time jobs as a Registered Dietitian in an acute care hospital as well as in a long-term care facility/nursing home. Working in the hospital has been my focus at this time. I have mainly been assigned to help cover Bliss 7ICU which is a Medical ICU/COVID unit. I have been using my skills in nutrition support to provide nutrition for intubated and sedated patients who need either enteral or parenteral nutrition since they are not able to eat by mouth.
JenniferThompson 220

Jennifer Thompson,
MPH Student and MPH Student Advising Board Member
I have been volunteering with the MDHHS provider testing hotline since mid-late March. I will continue doing that as long as it is needed. Early on we guided providers through the criteria for eligibility for testing, issued PUI numbers to allow for sample submission and testing to the state public health lab, and then we provided support and guidance to providers around reporting requirements. I have volunteered to support contact tracing efforts as well.

I am in the process of finalizing a study with Dr. Currier to Investigate vicarious trauma among hotline workers in Michigan. Trauma is something that is becoming more talked about and I think will be important to assess and evaluate moving forward in order to prevent unnecessary negative health outcomes.

HelmetHeadshot 220 Mark Olson, MPH '17
Research Associate, Assay Development
My company, NeuMoDx Molecular, has developed an FDA EUA cleared assay for Coronavirus. We are working around the clock to produce, test, and ship reagents around the United States and beyond. My group was tasked with developing the assay, which we developed and verified as fast as many major molecular diagnostic companies.
HelmetHeadshot 220 Sally Mellema, MPH '18
Public Health Program Coordinator
Currently, I am leading a team of Community Health Workers at a local public health department. I process program referrals and match the client to a Community Health Worker from our agency in the referral's local community. During COVID 19 this has meant matching up over a hundred community members with Community Health Workers to help them navigate their unmet needs including health insurance navigation, finding community food resources, dropping off pantry items, cleaning supplies, and masks on front doorsteps, and helping navigate financial resources.
LidaMomeni 220 Lida Momeni, MPH '12
Departmental Specialist
As a Medicaid policy specialist at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, I developed ambulance and non-emergency medical transportation guidance and policies to prevent health care service barriers and the spread of COVID-19. These changes will protect the health and welfare of Medicaid beneficiaries and providers while maintaining access to vital services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, I am currently volunteering for the state's COVID-19 contact tracing program.
HelmetHeadshot 220

John Matkovic, MPH '11
Graduate Teaching Assistant
As a graduate teaching assistant, I was teaching two, in-person courses at the University of Toledo prior to Spring Break, and prior to the stay at home orders.

Since then, I have adjusted two courses to be completely online, distance learning, and worked to accommodate students as we adjust to our new normal. I have also just joined a task force to assist the Lucas County Health Department by volunteering in contact tracing, and outreach to individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19.

HelmetHeadshot 220 Samantha Mishra, MPH '16

EMS for children coordinator
I have shifted focus to advocating for children’s safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. Working with various groups to address the increase in child abuse, detect it earlier, and get these children help immediately. Also working on various behavioral health initiatives to bring guidance to a variety of populations coping with fears and anxieties amidst COVID-19. These populations included: healthcare workers, first responders, families, children, pregnant and nursing mothers, newborn families, individuals living with SUD, racial, and ethnic minorities. Providing support to those experiencing grief, loss, and isolation.

Furthermore, working on EMS protocols throughout the state regarding patient testing, paramedic work to triage and treat patients outside the emergency room, and testing healthcare workers before returning to work.

ChristinaHarrington 220 Christina Harrington, MPH '12
Health Officer
I currently serve as the Incident Commander for Saginaw County COVID-19 response as the local health official within my local health jurisdiction. I lead a group of highly dedicated public health professionals that are charged with limiting the spread of COVID-19, on the front lines and behind the scenes protecting our public's health.  This includes directing contact tracing, issuing isolation and quarantine orders, investigation on over 700 positive cases, and coordinating the entire public health system for Saginaw.  Part of this coordination includes active surveillance strategies, such as outpatient testing, and providing local guidance and direction for partnering healthcare organizations, government, non-profits, private businesses, and others (just to name a few). Additionally, public health actions, for which I am responsible, are the legal authorities to issues public health orders and the prioritization of scarce medical resources and standardization of care across healthcare. All this with very limited resources!
BreanneForbesHubbard 1 220

Breanne Forbes Hubbard, MPH '17
Population Health Manager
Professionally, I serve as part of our health district management team and am a leader in all our planning and response efforts for COVID-19. This has included coordinating and reevaluating our normal business efforts in response to the pandemic, creating data tracking projects and reports for calls and community testing events, helping at community testing events, and coordinating with our state office. I also serve as the district public information officer. I have been busy with interviews, press releases, internal messaging, messaging for community partners, data reports for media, and outreach campaigns on social media.

Our comprehensive harm reduction and overdose prevention work, which is part of my team, continues. We have seen an increase in overdoses and are working to address this while also working to keep ourselves and our participants safe. We have made changes to our clinic operations while still providing services, and have done COVID-19 outreach to this vulnerable population.

I am also working with my health educators, who provide youth outreach programming, to envision creative ways to connect with youth during quarantine, and also how our model will look differently for the upcoming school year.

Personally, I’ve been learning how to use my sewing machine and have been making cloth face coverings.

HelmetHeadshot 220 Javar Jackson, MPH '12
Director of Infection Prevention and Patient Safety
Assisting both primary care and acute rehab facilities in risk mitigation activities related to COVID-19. establishing internal best practices for care management. Partnering with local public health and critical access hospitals. I personally have sat on town halls to educate youth in Detroit through the police athletic league (PAL) educating them on safety, prevention, trends, and best practices related to COVID.
RachaelWeisbrod color 220

Rachael Weisbrod,
COVID-19 Provider Call Center Volunteer, MPH Student
Michigan COVID-19 Laboratory Emergency Response Network volunteer doing remote work:

  • Worked with State of Michigan public health professionals on a voluntary basis to provide support during the
    COVID-19 pandemic
  • Guided healthcare providers through the patient prioritization process and assigned PUI IDs for eligible patients
  • Utilized the MDSS database to generate patient cases for further epidemiological investigation
KrisitnSlocum 220 Kristin Slocum, MPH '14
Health Educator
I currently work for SC Department of Health and Environmental Control. I am apart of the Midlands Community Health Team. Right now, we are apart of the COVID Outreach team for our respective region. We are currently each providing outreach materials and assistance for our select counties; working with county officials, schools, nonprofits, schools, correctional institutions, senior health facilities, hospitals, etc. We are currently heavily involved with helping coordinate efforts and our partnership with LabCorp for statewide testing for all those who are in senior health facilities across the state; both residents and staff. We are also helping to deliver PPE to facilities that have expressed need.
HelmetHeadshot 220 Kristi E. Marsik, MPH '13

Communicable Disease Investigator
In my current role as an Early Intervention Services Worker in the Ryan White Program at Forest Community Health Center, we are providing support and emergency financial assistance to those who are HIV-positive and especially vulnerable to COVID-19 and subsequent complications from the disease. Emergency financial assistance provided has included providing monetary assistance for rent, groceries, any outstanding bills, hotel stays for those who are homeless, and access to paper products and cleaning supplies. Our program has teamed up with a grassroots coalition, Queering Medicine, who has donated a plethora of paper towels, toilet paper, bleach, masks, hand sanitizer, thermometers, tissue paper, antimicrobial wipes, and other hard-to-get items to disperse to Ryan White clients in need. Our team has been delivering all of these items, as well as groceries, medications, and anything else our clients may need directly to their home with no-contact delivery so that they do not have to take the extra risk of leaving their residence.

ChelseaSelbig MPH13 220 Chelsea Selbig, MPH '13

Emergency preparedness and business continuity leader at Spectrum Health
I am one of the few (yet mighty) on the emergency preparedness (recently renamed business assurance) and business continuity team at Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, MI.  During COVID-19 response, I've been in incident command 3 days each week planning and operationalizing our pandemic plans.  During this time, I have become the resident COVID-19 post-mortem and morgue planning specialist.  In this role, I've toured potential temporary morgue locations and assisted in negotiating needed contracts with facilities.  I've worked with local fabricators to create custom vertical racking to increase the capacity of Spectrum Health's in-house morgues. I've also assisted in operationalizing COVID-19 swab testing to emergency department triage tents, long-term care facilities, and other regional partners. More recently, I've championed a return to workplace planning and preparations for all Priority Health locations across the state by creating a tiered re-entry approach in coordination with supply chain and facilities staff. 

AbigailGrande MPH16 220 Abigail Grande, MPH 16’
Quality and Accreditation Analyst
I serve as a public health representative in the Department of Pathology at Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine (WMed). Our department houses the Office of the Medical Examiner, providing medical examiner services for 12 counties in Michigan, as well as consulting services for several other counties in both Michigan and Indiana. Recently, my role has grown to include helping to manage and coordinate our office's COVID-19 response by acting as the liaison between our office, funeral homes, families, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and health departments, both at the state and county levels. As a part of these efforts, I have been training our team to safely collect and submit specimens for COVID-19 testing and advising of the ever-changing guidelines presented to us via multiple channels, including the CDC and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
HelmetHeadshot 220 Jacalyn Money-Bruno, MPH '14

Disease Control and Prevention Coordinator
I am the Disease Control and Prevention Coordinator at the Grand Traverse County Health Department in Traverse City, MI. Since the beginning of this pandemic, the focus of my job has shifted to COVID-19 response. Our communicable disease office is focused on interviewing and contract tracing positive cases in our county. We also formed a team dedicated to monitoring contacts of positive cases and answering questions for community members. I have helped train health department staff, who normally work in other capacities, on contract tracing and monitoring of contacts. We have been lucky to have a low case count, so we have been able to focus on prevention. We still currently try to contact those being tested in our county to discuss isolation until they receive test results. One of the main goals of my job is ensuring our team has processes in place so we operate smoothly. My supervisor and I are always thinking ahead and having plans in place as our case count grows. Many aspects of this pandemic have been rapidly changing and I work to help keep team members updated on these changes.

I grew up in Traverse City and I love my community. I am honored to be working at the community level during this pandemic response. Our communicable disease team works hard every day to help prevent and decrease the spread of this disease in our community. I'm proud to work with such an amazing team.

KaylynBrunskole 220 Kaylyn Brunskole, MPH '16

Technical Manager
Collaborate with federal public health agencies and industry associations to provide cleaning and sanitizing best practices for the retail food industry to ensure the protection of public health.

Volunteer as a contact tracer with MDHHS.

EileenThompson 220 Eileen Thompson, MPH '16
Emergency Preparedness Coordinator
I am an emergency preparedness coordinator. I work at a local county health department. When we are not in a disaster, I develop and review plans on how to keep the people in my county safe during various types of disasters: pandemics, tornados, floods, foodborne illness, you name it, and we most likely already have a component in our plans to start countering it! For example, we have our big emergency response plan, which describes how the health department should respond to disasters in a broad scope and discusses other agencies we should partner with, like police and firemen, and how we should develop our leadership structure. We also have a Continuity of Operations Plan, which helps the health department determine what programs are critical to continue during an emergency, like our Women, Infants, and Children program, and which programs may be able to wait until later, like our pool permits, since you likely are wanting to go swimming during a disaster. We even have a plan on how to set up sites within the community to give out medicine that comes to us from the federal or state government. During a disaster, like the current COVID-19 pandemic, I utilize all these plans to help guide the response efforts of the health department, providing guidance on who to partner with, and working to figure out our next step to bring the situation under control as quickly and efficiently as possible.
HelmetHeadshot 220 Katie, 
Department Specialist
I am currently employed by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, serving as a department specialist within the Medical Services Administration (Medicaid). In my role, I have been supporting rapid policy development and operational supports for Long-Term Care facilities across the state. Included in these efforts is the development of a nursing facility hub or "recovery" strategy to offset hospital surge and ensure residents from other facilities with limited capacity have access to appropriately manage impacted residents. There are many other points of coordination at the local, regional, and state level, across several sectors to ensure the strategy is successful.
TaraKnisely 220

Tara Knisely, MPH '14
Medical Student 
I am currently working as a contact tracer for the Larkin Community Hospital taskforce in Miami, FL, as well as for the MDHHS in Michigan.

I am working to identify persons under investigation for being COVID-19+, determining their contacts, and tracing them to alert those of possible exposure so that they may self-quarantine, seek appropriate medical care if necessary, and receive any necessary community resources to safely and properly carry on their daily activities of life.

HelmetHeadshot 220 Crystal Davis, 
Director of Quality Assurance - Senior Living, MPH Student
I am currently tracking COVID-19 infections a long term care facility. I am also interpreting the Executive Orders and CDC guidelines for the long term care facilities and providing guidance on best practices and implementation of the executive orders and QSOs. I am coordinating testing with the local health departments across the state and working with the Directors of Nursing to monitor infections for staff and residents. I have assisted in writing an addendum to an infection control policy for COVID-19, and developed education for staff on the new policy additions. I have assisted with creating staff education on the proper use of PPE, extended use of PPE, proper precautions, donning and doffing, and hand washing.
HelmetHeadshot 220 Jennifer de longpre, MPH '15
Physician
Currently on the frontlines as a Hospitalist seeing about 12 COVID patients a day in Muskegon.
HelmetHeadshot 220 Jamie Qualls, MPH '17
Resident Physician
I’m a 3rd-year family medicine resident at Ascension Providence Hospital. My colleagues and I covered one of the COVID units at our hospital throughout the month of April. In the outpatient setting, I’m seeing patients at our family medicine clinic in South Lyon through telemedicine, many of whom have had COVID and we have been able to care for them through video technology.
HelmetHeadshot 220 Renae Fogarty, MPH '19
Physician/Provider Liaison
I have been in charge of developing and running a provider labor pool to re-deploy providers across our eight-hospital health care system based on patient needs related to COVID-19.
NatalieHlavatu 220 Natalie Hlavaty, 
Emergency Room Technician, MPH Student
I work in the ER testing and caring for patients with COVID or who are concerned they have it while also helping with other ill patients.
HelmetHeadshot 220 Caitlin Hotchkiss, 
Charity Manager
Assisting the MDHHS with contact tracing as a volunteer.