As COVID-19 vaccination efforts continue across the San Joaquin Valley, California Health Sciences University (CHSU) is finding ways to assist in the administration of the vaccine and provide support for these important efforts, all in the spirit of furthering its mission to help improve health care outcomes for the people in the Valley.
CHSU encourages widespread and early COVID-19 vaccination of all eligible individuals to help ensure the health of our community and restore the activities of our daily lives that have been missed for the past year. Led by the CHSU President Dunn, their College Deans and the President’s Executive Council, the University is quickly mobilizing and determining every way that CHSU can help.
Many eligible members of the CHSU campus community have already received their COVID-19 vaccinations. And volunteers from CHSU have already begun helping local public health departments and health care clinics to administer the vaccines to the community.
Partnering with the Fresno County Department of Public Health
CHSU President Florence Dunn toured the COVID vaccination site at the Fresno Fairgrounds with W. Timothy Brox, MD. President Dunn learned that county health workers are doing a great job vaccinating our community, but there is an urgent need for vaccinator volunteers, allowing county personnel to provide other critical health services..
Almost every week since inception, CHSU-COM students and faculty have been volunteering to administer COVID vaccines at the Fresno Fairgrounds mass vaccination site. Dr. John Graneto, CHSU-COM Dean, collaborated with Dr. Brox and the Fresno County Department of Public Health to ensure that CHSU faculty, staff, and students can contribute to the mass vaccination efforts. We recognize and appreciate how instrumental Dr. Brox has been in coordinating CHSU and other clinical volunteers.
Thank you to all the county health workers and volunteer vaccinators for helping to improve the health of our community!
COM Students Start Vaccinating the Community
COM students have joined the ranks of CHSU vaccinators, now administering vaccines to the most vulnerable in our community. Several first year medical students have been volunteering on Saturdays at the Fresno Fairgrounds administering vaccines.
OMS-I students, Brianna Mae Holcomb and Andrea Torres, were the first two COM students to start volunteering. Read more about their experience as COVID-19 vaccinators here.
COP Students Prepare Vaccines During Rotations
College of Pharmacy students are continuing to help aid in the vaccination efforts through their experiential education rotations in addition to volunteering on their own time.
Dr. Michael Freudiger, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Clinical Sciences and preceptor with Saint Agnes Medical Center, is currently working with APPE students who are assisting at Saint Agnes vaccination clinics. Prior to this rotation, IPPE students also were assisting with the efforts.
Read more about their work preparing 300-600 shots per clinic here.
Students Vaccinate Health Care Workers and the Elderly at Adventist Health Hanford
CHSU pharmacy students helped administer vaccines to healthcare workers and those 65 or older, at a Sierra Pacific High School vaccine clinic in Hanford with Adventist Health, the Kings County Department of Public Health and Hanford Joint Union High School on Saturday, January 30, 2021. During this event 1,150 vaccines were administered.
CHSU pharmacy students helped draw vaccines, assisted with paperwork and prepared CDC vaccination cards. Volunteers included Maria Altamirano-Castellanos (P2), Roxanne Dekker (P2), Na Li (P2), Yelena Martinez (P2), and Morgan Montelongo (P4).
Students and Faculty Volunteer at Golden Valley Health Centers
CHSU’s involvement in assisting with COVID-19 vaccinations has brought together our faculty, staff, and students to aid in this effort.
Anne VanGarsse, MD, FAAP, CHCEF, CPE, Associate Dean of Clinical Affairs, Community Engagement and Population Health and CHSU’s visiting third and fourth year students from Kansas City University of Medicine’s College of Osteopathic Medicine (KCU-COM) and A.T. Still University – Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine (ATSU-KCOM) have been on the frontlines administering vaccines.
During the week of January 18, 2021, Dr. VanGarsse and CHSU’s visiting medical students had volunteered over 108 hours at various health care sites administering vaccines and they are continuing to volunteer with Golden Valley Health Centers on an “as needed” basis.
On January 22, 2021, Dr. VanGarsse and twelve of the visiting medical students spent the day administering vaccines to 151 staff members of Golden Valley Health Center in Atwater. Golden Valley Health Centers is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) that operates over 42 sites in Merced, Stanislaus, and San Joaquin counties.
Golden Valley is also receiving assistance from CHSU’s College of Pharmacy students and visiting medical students at their Los Banos location.
Dr. VanGarsse and the students are also actively involved in helping educate the public about the COVID-19 vaccine’s safety and procedures. In partnership with Golden Valley Health Centers, they have filmed short videos explaining why the vaccine is important and dispelling some of the common myths that have been circulating about this vaccine.
Dr. Anne VanGarsse, CHSU-COM Associate Dean and pediatric physician for Golden Valley Health Centers, discusses the science behind the vaccine to dispel six common myths about the COVID-19 Vaccine.
Clara Liu, OMS-3 at Kansas City University and visiting student at CHSU discusses her experience with the COVID-19 Moderna vaccine and dispels some of the myths surrounding it.
Adventist Health Vaccination Efforts for Local Teachers
Adventist Health Reedley, in partnership with Kings Canyon Unified School District, held a drive-through event on January 23, 2021 where a few of CHSU’s College of Pharmacy students and visiting third year medical students from KCU-COM and ATSU-KCOM helped vaccinate over 500 teachers and staff from the district. Read more about this vaccine event here.
Vaccines Administered on MLK Day Holiday Weekend at Fresno Fair Grounds
Several CHSU employees volunteered to assist the Fresno County Department of Public Health (FCDPH) with the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine over the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day holiday weekend.
Our faculty and staff took this opportunity to give back to our community and help alleviate the FCDPH’s urgent need for non-medical volunteers who assist with appointment check-in, taking temperatures, answering patients’ questions about paperwork and other various duties.
The FCDPH has been providing COVID-19 vaccines for health care workers and individuals 75 or older at the Fresno Fairgrounds by appointment.
“I was so excited to learn that there was a way for me to contribute to the local vaccination effort as a non-medical volunteer,” said Zea Moullet, Director of Admissions at CHSU-COM. “I was impressed by how well-organized the event was – lines moved quickly and 1,500 people were vaccinated on that one day alone!”
The group of CHSU faculty and staff volunteers that aided in the efforts over the holiday weekend include:
- Pamela Kammen, MD, Assistant Professor, Specialty Medicine, COM
- Zea Moullet, MEd, Director of Admissions, COM
- Jory McKune, Manager, Business Affairs and Administration, COM
- Julie Lynes, MAeD, Educational Skills Specialist, COM
- Cathy Burford, Faculty Administrative Assistant, Primary Care and Specialty Medicine, COM
- Lynette Carter, Executive Assistant, COP
- Emma Hernandez, Standardized Patient, CHSU Simulation Center
Many other members of CHSU’s leadership, including President Flo Dunn and Dean Dr. John Graneto, faculty and staff have registered to be volunteers and many have already begun dedicating regular volunteer hours to the Fresno Fair Grounds vaccination site.
This is an on-going story and updates will be provided to this article as they arise.