The School of Public Health at Georgia State University is proud of our alumni, students, and their work in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Alumni and students are encouraged to share their pandemic-response stories with the School of Public to be included in this Spotlight Series. Contact email@example.com for more information.
Alumni spotlights are featured in alphabetical order by first name.
Ambra Houser is working at the Georgia Department of Community Affairs as a data analyst for the Georgia COVID-19 Task Force Committee for the Homeless and Displaced.
Amna Tariq is part of Dr. Gerardo Chowell’s research team that produces global and US coronavirus incidence forecasts for the School of Public Health at Georgia State University. Tariq uses internet and news reports to assess new associations and patterns of the disease as well as compile information on clusters of patients and reproduction numbers to infer transmission dynamics of the disease.
Aung Aung is an epidemiologist activity manager with Doctors without Borders in the Kingdom of Eswatini, where the healthcare system is overstretched with the HIV epidemic. Aung is currently working on an analysis of health facility readiness assessment to COVID-19 for all health facilities in the country. The work analyzes the efficiency of the preparedness plan, the capacity to triage and isolate suspected patients, infection prevention and control, and human and material resources availability. Though not focused on disease epidemiology or direct patient management, this work highlights the capacity of health facilities to respond COVID-19, and will enhance the mobilization of preparedness plan while reserving resources. Additionally, Aung has led the integration of digital technology known as video observed therapy (VOT) into a new model of care for drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) patients during the COVID-19 outbreak. Aung was a part of a team effort that sustained the patients in care without treatment interruption while minimizing the exposure between patients and different contacts. In this model, patients have more autonomy under directly observed DR-TB care while keeping virtually connected to their treatment providers.
Curtis Sarkar is currently working as an epidemiologist in COVID-19 case investigations and contact tracing for the Gwinnett, Newton, and Rockdale County Health Departments in the State of Georgia.
As an epidemiologist at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Francis Annor has been deployed twice to support CDC’s response to COVID-19. His first deployment was to manage the data collected from screening travelers arriving at US airports. Dr. Annor’s second deployment involved providing epidemiological support to the state Public Health department in linking and analyzing COVID-19 data and developing an algorithm to prioritize case investigations.
Jency Sekaran is a City Research Scientist in the NYC Department of Health and Hygiene and has had many roles in response to COVID-19. Sakaran aided in developing a questionnaire form and performing Q&As for data entry. As COVID-19 cases increased, she assisted in transporting lab specimens to the public health lab from the hospitals and conducted interviews with patients that tested positive. Currently, Sakaran has returned to performing Q&As and analyzing data.
Dr. Jessica Rogers-Brown has been working as an epidemiologist at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) since October 2018. Since the onset of COVID-19, she has conducted three studies covering the effects of COVID-19 on patients in Georgia and across the United States. Dr. Rogers-Brown has led the development of a database to create Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) manuscripts and recently co-authored an MMWR that was featured in the Washington Post, the Rachel Maddow Show, USA Today Commentary, and the Biden campaign.
Kat Hoffman leads communications for MMWR, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s journal which has published more than 20 reports focused on COVID-19 over the last several months. Hoffman coordinates communication products and promotion of the reports including graphics, media, and social media outreach. She recently finished a detail with CDC’s Emergency Operation Center working on the Joint Information Center’s content team. My work there included leading their twice weekly COVID-19 newsletter, video coordination, and working with translation services and the web team to translate the consumer COVID-19 pages into Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean.
Kimberly Erukunuakpor is currently working with Dr. Lisa Casanova to study the efficacy of elastomeric half-piece respirators (EHFRs) as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves. EHFRs are considered an alternative to disposable respirators because they can be disinfected. Erukunuakpor work focuses on developing and testing the efficacy (under ideal laboratory conditions and controlled healthcare worker simulations) of a shorter disinfection procedure for EHFRs, such as using disposable wipes.
Kimberlyn Roosa is part of Dr. Gerardo Chowell’s research team that produces global and US coronavirus incidence forecasts for the School of Public Health at Georgia State University.Â She monitors the transmission potential and death toll of COVID-19 around the world, characterizes trends in data resulting from interventions, such as social distancing, and collects information from various news sources to generate short-term forecasts as data of COVID-19 cases fluctuates overtime.Â Roosa most recently co-authored a study on forecasting the impact of coronavirus disease during delivery hospitalization.
Leah Moriarty is currently employed at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In March 2020, Moriarty led a team of over 40 people to conduct a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) on the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship which had the largest cluster of COVID-19 cases outside of mainland China at that time.
Lia Scott was deployed as an Epidemiology/GIS consultant to the WHO Health Emergencies Programme in Geneva, Switzerland when the first cases of of COVID-19 were reported from China. While there, she helped develop the first COVID-19 public facing dashboard while supporting the team in determining whether to declare a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). Scott has recently returned to Atlanta where she continued serving as an Epidemiology/GIS subject matter expert on the international task force. Her work was captured in a Lancet Infectious Diseases publication detailing case travel at the start of the pandemic.
Dr. Rebecca Wilson works as a behavioral scientist at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In early March 2020, Wilson was deployed to New York as part of the CDC’s COVID-19 response to assist in conducting entry screening and visual illness inspections for COVID-19 among travelers with a travel history to mainland China, Iran, European Schengen Area, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. In June-July, 2020 she deployed to Wisconsin to meet with community members, community leaders, and local business owners in an effort to understand some of the contextual factors contributing to the increased incidence of COVID-19 among young adults in the community. The information Wilson gathered was used to inform public health messaging on how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within those communities.
Robert Fairman leads a team of contact tracers and case investigators for the Fulton County Heath Department. His team contacts those who have tested positive for COVID-19 and collects other information to better understand COVID-19’s impact on the community. Fairman also works with at Specimen Collection Sites for the DeKalb County Board of Health to ensure that COVID-19 testing processes runs smoothly.
Sam Archbold is volunteering with StayNeighbor, an organization that provides food and other essential supplies to those who require additional support services amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Archbold serves as the content creation lead, which creates documents for organizations on how they can become involved with the organization, helps manage StayNeighbor’s social media, works with professionals on keeping legal documentation current, and develosp best practice protocols for volunteers. As of late, Archbold is spending his time with community relations.
Dr. Tia McGill Rogers has deployed to state and local health departments through Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Field Deployment Unit within the Health Department Task Force. During her deployments, she has provided scientific and technical assistance towards the development and implementation of a state-wide pilot for virtual case investigation and contact tracing. She has also provided scientific and technical assistance during the investigation of COVID-19 outbreaks at meat packing facilities. In addition to working with her deployment teams to integrate environmental and epidemiological data related to COVID-19 outbreaks, she provides guidance on best practices for closing out case investigations, prioritizing contact tracing efforts, and summaries of process related considerations, procedural points, and products resulting from response activities.
Yiseul Lee is part of Dr. Gerardo Chowell’s research team that produces global and US coronavirus incidence forecasts for the School of Public Health at Georgia State University. She conducted statistical data analysis from information gathered from the Chinese Health Commission website, played an integral part in collecting data from COVID-19 cases in Korea, and also translated the global reports to English for the research team.