Answering the Call

Santa Clara students answered the call during the pandemic—helping others and putting their educations to use as contract tracers.

Fifteen students in SCU’s public health program got hands-on with the pandemic—working as contact tracers with Santa Clara County.

After 50 hours of certification training, Broncos called people recently diagnosed with COVID-19.

“It is one thing to study disease outbreaks, but another to speak with people diagnosed with COVID and hear about their individual experiences,” says Lilly Evans-Riera ’23.

First, callers need to discover who else may have been exposed to slow the spread.

“I would ask the caller to retrace their steps two days before their testing date, with questions to jog their memory, such as if they’ve worked recently or if they’ve been with any close friends or family members,” says biology and public health double major Joe Lopez ’21.

Students also helped people stay home by arranging such services as food delivery.

This work, says Kristen Albi ’21, who’s majoring in neuroscience and public health

science, is about “taking on whatever novel challenges your contact or case is facing and quickly coming up with the best way possible to help them receive the help they need.  This kind of work is exactly what Santa Clara’s Public Health curriculum is working to prepare students for.”

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