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Student & Alumni Achievements

Student & Alumni Achievements

Texas A&M: EpiAssist Reaching Out to Rockport, Texas

On August 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey slammed Rockport, Texas with its full force and fury. Residents who remained behind experienced having their houses lifted off the foundation only to be slammed to the ground yards away. Two years later, Rockport residents continue work to rebuild and recover from the destruction left behind.

Recently, public health undergraduate students volunteering with EpiAssist, a service learning program housed in the Texas A&M School of Public Health, provided help to the Texas Department of State Health Services Region 11 personnel to assess the current state of need in the area.

Students Sunjay Gupta, Raïssa Lubanda and Claire Rowan traveled with faculty advisor and EpiAssist’s new program lead Dr. Angela Clendenin, of the  School of Public Health, drove to Rockport to work alongside public health professionals as they conducted the first Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response (CASPER) in the community since Hurricane Harvey. The Texas A&M team members were each paired with a public health team member and were assigned sections of Aransas County in which to conduct door-to-door, face-to-face surveys assessing the resource needs and documenting the resident’s post-Harvey disaster experience.

The CASPER process involved receiving just-in-time training at the check-in site, as well as safety training. The Texas A&M team worked with their partners to go over the survey and practice interviewing. The teams were then dispatched to the designated clusters to begin surveying.

Past EpiAssist activities included other CASPERs, data analysis, sample collection, education kit development, program evaluation, and helping provide support to the Department of State Health Services’ Medical Operations Center, which was implemented during Hurricane Harvey.