Guadalupe COVID-19 Community Response Team Receives University and City Honors

October 26, 2021

An Arizona State University epidemiologist and her team have earned academic and municipal accolades for their work helping the city of Guadalupe respond to COVID-19.

The Guadalupe COVID-19 Community Response Team, formed in June 2020, brings together faculty, staff, students and ASU community partners to reduce the impact of COVID-19 in Guadalupe. The team provides a wide range of services designed to slow the spread of the virus and serve those in need. As the team works in the community, rates of new cases in Guadalupe have fallen from 5.5 times higher than the Maricopa County average to be in line with the rest of the county.

Associate Professor Megan Jehn helps distribute food at a community food drive in Guadalupe on August 4, 2020. The weekly event is part of the work of the Guadalupe COVID-19 Community Response Team in support of community health in the city. Photo by Charlie Leight / ASU News
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The Response Team is a collaborative effort between ASU, the Maricopa County Public Health Department, the City of Guadalupe, the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, and Native Health. Megan Jehn – epidemiologist, associate professor in ASU’s School of Human Evolution and Social Change, and affiliate of the Center for Global Health – leads the university’s contributions to the project.

“Working with the Guadalupe Community Response Team has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my professional career,” said Jehn. “COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on Native American and Hispanic communities here in Arizona, and there was an urgent need to provide public health resources to slow the spread of the virus. “

A field epidemiology group of more than 250 ASU students, staff and volunteers conduct case investigations and contact tracing seven days a week in Maricopa County. The Jehn Student Outbreak Response Team, which has operated as a hands-on training program for global health students for the past six years, quickly pivoted and expanded to a large rapid response team during the initial wave of COVID-19 cases. The team deployed to Guadalupe and conducted hundreds of case interviews there.

The community response team also provides home testing; vaccination events; support for those who isolate; culturally, linguistically and geographically appropriate health education; and a weekly community food drive. The team supported more than 300 households through home isolation, conducted door-to-door case investigations and tracing, and engaged students and community volunteers to provide a helping hand. -helpful public health work.

Other key ASU members of the team include program managers Gloria Karirirwe, Jasmine Truong and Laura Meyer, and field supervisor Jennifer Jackman.

The project this week received the ASU President’s Medal for Social Inclusion, an award for teams that help integrate the university into the social and cultural fabric of surrounding communities.

“Ultimately, the reason people in public health have stepped up is because we care, it’s our life’s work and we want to use our knowledge and expertise to help communities get through this pandemic. with the minimum of suffering. said Jehn.

Over the summer, the City of Guadalupe also designated the team as an official community partner. The Community Partners Program recognizes organizations that provide services or special events in Guadalupe. The city council formally approved the designation.

“Earning the trust and partnership of a community means the world to me, especially in the area of ​​global health,” Jehn said. “This recognition and recognition by the city means more to me personally than any academic distinction.”

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