UMMC students volunteer on the front lines to battle coronavirus outbreak

Updated: Mar. 31, 2020 at 11:23 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - UMMC students are responding overwhelmingly to help out during the coronavirus outbreak. They have fanned out in a number of areas to take a spot on the front lines to help stop this pandemic.

UMMC students are volunteering throughout the state to help fight the spread of COVID-19.
UMMC students are volunteering throughout the state to help fight the spread of COVID-19.(UMMC)

Students from the University of Mississippi Medical Center have created an army of volunteers. Ezekiel Gonzalez is the chairman of the COVID-19 Student Response Coordination Team.

“So many of these students were at home. Their classes have been canceled, but they had a heart to serve after all these are health science students,” said Gonzalez.

Ambika Srivastava is in her 4th year of dental school. She is a COVID-19 student response team leader.

Srivastava said, “I am bringing my prior knowledge from my Masters in Public Health and Epidemiology and hope to use these experiences along with my knowledge in the future to work in Dental Public Health."

Classes have been canceled and students have found a way to fill in the gap where help is...
Classes have been canceled and students have found a way to fill in the gap where help is needed during the coronavirus outbreak.(UMMC)

Almost 250 students from all seven schools at UMMC have been deployed to areas on and off campus.

They do everything from man COVID-19 hotlines, work at testing sites, the Mississippi Department of Health Lab and at MEMA. Another 90 students are on standby to help.

Gonzalez said, “So I’m a MD/PhD student. That simply means that I’m training to become a physician scientist. This is an individual who will see patients and help them, help treat patients but also in the background will be involved in scientific research. It will ultimately provide cures and new treatment options, obviously you know the COVID-19 situation is the great example of that.”

Gonzalez and Srivastava explain why student volunteering is filling an important need in battling coronavirus.

“We are being trained to be healthcare providers so although we have not graduated we feel that we have the ability to help,” said Srivastava.

One of the student volunteers says just how serious the coronavirus pandemic hit home when a group of about 12 people came to the hospital to say goodbye to a loved one who was being taken off life support. It was that student’s job to tell the family only two of them could go up.

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