Flatten the Curve

Sarah Elizabeth Scales only graduated from Millsaps in 2018, but she’s putting her biochemistry major to good use as a student in the Masters of Public Health program at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York City. She studies in the department of epidemiology, with a certificate in infectious disease epidemiology.

Although currently at home as the coronavirus pandemic brings much of America to a halt, Scales is involved in supporting front line healthcare workers as part of the COVID-19 Student Service Corps. As a member of this group, Scales is working with the Corps’ Mental Health and Wellbeing Team to support the Columbia Irving Medical Center students, staff at New York Presbyterian Hospital (NYP), and the Washington Heights community.

“A lot of our projects are still in development, but two of the established projects involve coordinating with restaurants and donors to provide catered meals to NYP staff at all eight locations around the city and a narrative medicine forum for both students and providers to constructively process the impacts of what is happening both academically and professionally,” said Scales.

Scales’ course of study comes at a demanding time. This fall, she will pursue a doctorate in epidemiology, with a focus on disaster epidemiology. “More specifically, I am very interested in response structures in disaster contexts, vaccine preventable childhood diseases in complex emergencies, and selection bias in conflict data,” she said.

Looking ahead, Scales hopes to work abroad in academic, consulting, and non-profit endeavors in the area of disaster epidemiology. Scales recently had a column published in the Northside Sun, a local Jackson weekly newspaper, related to the coronavirus pandemic and what can be done to help reduce the spread of the virus. Read her column here.

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