April 16, 2020 – The School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine faculty, staff, students, and alumni are working on the front lines of the COVID-19 outbreak. We have asked any affiliates with our school to share their experiences and stories. This story comes from Kamya Raja:
My name is Kamya Raja, MSPH, and I am an SPHTM alum. I am currently a Program Analyst at the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) in Washington, DC. While we aren’t directly on the frontlines, we support those who are – local health department officials and staff across the country – by identifying local-level needs, developing and sharing resources with local health departments, and supporting communications with federal partners and congress. You can learn more about NACCHO’s COVID-19 response efforts here: https://www.naccho.org/programs/our-covid-19-response.
As part of NACCHO’s Preparedness Team, I support the HHS ASPR Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) Program by developing resources to support MRC unit leaders who are currently activating and deploying volunteers, just like the SPHTM faculty who were featured supporting mobile testing for the New Orleans MRC. One of the biggest resources we developed last fall is the 2019 MRC Deployment Readiness Guide. It is a resource for both MRC unit leaders and volunteers and includes background information, deployment resources, and training guides.
My message would be that anyone looking to volunteer during this time should make sure to work with a volunteer organization and undergo proper orientation and training. Spontaneous volunteers can be a major burden on our public health and healthcare systems. MRC units utilize both medical and non-medical volunteers and you can search for your nearest MRC unit at https://mrc.hhs.gov/FindMRC.