Published June 2, 2020
UB students pursuing a master’s of public health degree are working with local health departments across the state to help them respond to the COVID-19 crisis.
Students have been placed with five county health departments from Western New York to Long Island. Among their duties are completing epidemiologic summaries, arranging for COVID-19 testing, placing and monitoring individuals in quarantine or isolation, and communicating state and federal guidelines to providers and to the public.
“Working with the county health department during this crisis has been the most rewarding opportunity I could have asked for,” says Justin Rokisky Jr., a MPH-epidemiology student working with the Erie County health department. “Assisting with the COVID-19 response is a valuable experience truly unlike any other, and I am grateful to be part of a wonderful team that has dedicated their efforts to the health of our communities.”
Bob Furlani, former MPH field training director who worked with the health departments to set up the program, notes that the opportunities “provide students with invaluable public health experience and skills that they would not have otherwise gained during their training, while providing health departments with needed staff to respond to COVID-19 as quickly and effectively as possible.”
The MPH students began working at the county health departments in March, and many have been asked to stay on through the summer to help implement strategies to prevent a possible second wave of COVID-19 later this year.