UCLA Fielding School of Public Health Magazine - September 2020 | Moment of Reckoning

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MOMENT OF RECKONING

WORKFORCE IN PROGRESS THROUGH THE TRAINING OF COVID-19 CONTACT TRACERS AND CASE INVESTIGATORS, THE FIELDING SCHOOL IS HELPING TO PREPARE THOUSANDS OF INDIVIDUALS WHO WILL MEET A CRITICAL NEED IN REDUCING THE VIRUS’ SPREAD.

22

AS

EASE

recent graduates have been hired to serve as

RESTRICTIONS and emerge as safely as pos-

CALIFORNIA

PREPARED

TO

training facilitators, including in such key roles

sible from shelter-in-place orders imposed

as program coordinator and training manager.

early in the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the

“The threat of COVID-19 remains high. If

major unmet needs was for more personnel

we want to safely begin reopening our society,

trained to perform the tasks fundamental to

we need to have certain public health mea-

infectious disease control, including contact

sures in place, including a significant increase

tracing, case investigation, and administra-

in our ability to trace new infections,” says

tion. To effectively relax California’s stay-at-

Ron Brookmeyer, dean of the Fielding School.

home orders, it was estimated that 10,000 to

“This large-scale training program with our

20,000 new contact tracers and case inves-

colleagues here at UCLA, and at UCSF and

tigators would need to be trained — individ-

the CADPH, will allow us to begin that effort to

uals to help to ensure that, as newly infected

expand and strengthen our public health work-

people are identified, their close contacts are

force.” Alina Dorian, FSPH associate dean for

traced and quarantined to reduce the spread

public health practice and for equity, diversity,

of COVID-19 and prevent major outbreaks.

and inclusion, is leading the team with Michael

The Fielding School is helping to meet this

Prelip, professor and chair of FSPH’s Depart-

critical need through its role in the California

ment of Community Health Sciences, and Eric

Connected COVID-19 Virtual Training Acad-

A. Bullard, dean of continuing education and

emy, co-led by the California Department of

UCLA Extension.

Public Health (CADPH), UCLA, and UC San

The training academy is a central part

Francisco (UCSF), which is training thousands

of California Connected, the state’s con-

of individuals in multiple counties through-

tact tracing program and public awareness

out the state. The comprehensive pandemic-

campaign, which aims to ensure that trained

response training program at UCLA is being

individuals are working with people who test

managed

positive for COVID-19 and their close con-

through

a

strong

partnership

between FSPH and UCLA Extension, and

tacts to secure access to confidential testing,

involves faculty and staff from both campus

health care, and other services designed to

units. Approximately 35 FSPH students and

prevent the virus’ spread.

U C L A F I E L D I N G S C H O O L O F P U B L I C H E A LT H M AG A Z I N E


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