Ohio University

More than 100 CHSP students, faculty to join Ohio Department of Health in fight against COVID-19

Published: April 3, 2020 Author: Staff reports

The Ohio University College of Health Sciences and Professions (CHSP) is part of a statewide effort that will mobilize teams comprised of students, faculty and associated professionals from numerous colleges and medical schools across Ohio.

The volunteers, made up of individuals from numerous colleges and medical schools across the state, are currently being organized into teams by the Ohio Department of Health. Each team will play a vital role in assisting to contain Ohio’s COVID-19 outbreak and support its public health professionals in the following ways: 

  • Contact tracing: The process of interviewing individuals who are ill and identifying those with whom they have recently had contact. 
  • Health communications: Social, mobile and video hotlines for people who have questions or concerns about the virus and their exposure.

CHSP Executive in Residence Rick Hodges said that he was contacted by Will McHugh, assistant director of the Ohio Department of Health, to help mobilize the effort at OHIO. Hodges noted that the effort’s volunteers will play a vital role in supporting the state’s fight against COVID-19 by helping alleviate the growing workload of health departments across the state. 

“We are entering the peak phases of the virus and people will need to have their questions answered and direct access to advice on symptoms such as what to do, how to isolate if one is sick and more,” Hodges said. “Additionally, people with symptoms will need to be interviewed to determine who they may have been in contact with and who may have been exposed. With that many cases, agency resources will be overwhelmed, and our volunteers will be needed to fill the gaps.”

ODH is in the process of creating a web portal that will host formal volunteer sign-up and basic online training. The portal is anticipated to launch in the coming days.  

The Ohio National Guard plans to deploy each team virtually to areas of greatest need across the state where they will work under the guidance of local health departments; although student volunteers will be limited to virtual volunteer opportunities, faculty and health professionals are able to elect to volunteer onsite.

CHSP Dean Randy Leite said that he is proud of the College’s volunteer efforts and its ability to quickly, and collaboratively, come together for a common goal.

“CHSP is committed to providing meaningful and impactful assistance to our community, state and nation during these uncertain times,” said Leite. “For more than 40 years, our College has worked to educate quality healthcare professionals, and we are confident in the abilities of our students, faculty and alumni to positively support our public health needs.”