By Kate Hunger
When third-year Physician Assistant Studies student Kaitlyn Corbett learned about the need for volunteers to screen people entering UT Health San Antonio campus buildings for symptoms of COVID-19, she signed up to help. She ended up working about a dozen shifts.
“At the time the PA clinical rotations were suspended, so I was seeking opportunities to serve in the community during the COVID crisis,” Corbett said. “It was a way to help support the (University) community. In a three-hour period we would screen more than 250 people.”
Corbett is one of nine School of Health Professions students who joined students from the School of Medicine, School of Nursing and School of Dentistry to volunteer in the campus screening effort this spring, said School of Nursing Associate Clinical Professor Lark A. Ford, Ph.D., MA, MSN, RN. By the third week in May, 116 UTHSA students had participated as volunteers.
The ongoing screening effort began on March 26. Two Physician Assistant Studies faculty members—Assistant Clinical Professor Tammy Harris, MPAS, PA-C, and Admissions Chair and Assistant Clinical Professor Leticia Bland, DHSc, MPAS, PA-C, have assisted Ford with providing faculty oversight of the seven screening stations, which are staffed weekdays from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Each week, volunteers screen several thousand people, including employees, contractors and patients. An average of 1,100 employees are screened each day, Ford said.
“We screen everybody,” Harris said.
The stations are located at the Long School of Medicine, South Texas Research Facility (Greehey North Campus), School of Dentistry – Rear Entrance, Lot 7 (Long Campus), School of Dentistry – Main Entrance, Briscoe Library, Main Lobby, PARC Building, and McDermott Clinical Science Building (Greehey North Campus).
Being able to join in the volunteer effort gave students a sense of purpose and involvement in the wider pandemic response, Harris said.
“For our clinical students, we had to pull them out of their clinical rotations,” she said. “They really responded to the request for volunteers. They like the fact they are part of this solution.”
Third-year Physician Assistant Studies student Cassidy Goldbloom agreed.
“We are used to be out there helping with patients, but we got pulled from that,” she said. “I wanted to be out there helping.”
The need for volunteers continues.
“It is expected that we will continue to provide screening throughout the summer leading into the fall term, or even longer,” Ford said.
Students and employees wishing to volunteer as screeners may sign up on the link below