Physician Assistant (P.A.) Studies students in the UNC School of Medicine are doing their part to promote public health by administering vaccines across the Chapel Hill and Carrboro area — and gaining invaluable real-world experience in the meantime.
P.A. students Douglas Brittingham and Karla Chavez have administered dozens of vaccines at the William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education over the past several weeks.
“Vaccination programs are one of the most effective public health measures that we’ve had,” said Brittingham. “To be part of a potential solution — this is great. These are the roots of public health. We’re preventing disease at a large scale in a local population.”
Both Brittingham and Chavez are part of an interprofessional initiative called the Carolina COVID-19 Student Service Corps. Through this initiative, students are able to volunteer to engage in service activities to address the needs of the Carolina community while gaining an invaluable education in public health.
“Not only are our clinical phase students front line health care leaders administering the COVID-19 vaccine, they are acquiring interprofessional experiences working alongside experienced nurses and doctors learning tips and tricks, learning how to address patients’ questions and concerns regarding the new vaccine, and attaining an appreciation for emergency public health operations during a global pandemic,” said Jason Hrdina, an assistant professor in the P.A. program and director of clinical education.