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Harnessing the expertise and enthusiasm of university students for assistance in disasters

Sharon Medcalf, PhD, Mariah Morgan, MPH


The University of Nebraska Medical Center’s, College of Public Health modeled a student response team after similar successful programs at Emory University and the University of North Carolina. The team was created for three specific scenarios: epidemiology outbreak assistance, points of dispensing assistance, and monitoring social media in a disaster. Graduate students in public health are an overlooked volunteer resource. Many have prior work experience and are eager for the opportunity to gain additional practical experience while demonstrating classroom knowledge about the foundations of public health. Requesting agencies gain access to a dependable, replenishable volunteer pool. Academic institutions are encouraged to create teams to serve local communities, giving students access to serve local communities and to give students access to valuable applied experience that can be beneficial as they enter the public health workforce.


disasters, public health agencies, response team, students, volunteer

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