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School & Program Updates

School & Program Updates

South Florida: Students Help Vulnerable Communities Get Ahead of Storm

University of South Florida College of Public Health undergraduate students were able to get out of the classroom and into the field this summer as they served some of Hillsborough County’s most vulnerable communities to help residents in building their hurricane preparedness plans.

Through the Public Health Innovation Studio summer course, launched in partnership with the Hillsborough County Department of Social Services­, students engaged with community leaders and conducted home visits and workshops in Wimauma, Ruskin, Town ‘n’ Country, Progress Village and the University Area.

“Growing up in Hillsborough County, I knew the size of it and I also knew that we had a large population. However, I didn’t know the various types of vulnerable populations that lived in Hillsborough,” said COPH student Ms. Camryn Henry. “This class alone has shown me multiple types of vulnerable populations and what makes them at such an increased risk, especially during hurricanes.”

Students visited homes to provide educational materials, written in both English and Spanish, and answered their questions about preparedness. They also conducted home visits to help families with special medical needs through a new partnership with the Florida Department of Public Health.

“Prior to our arrival, we made arrangements with families that had special medical needs to be able to meet one-on-one with them to develop a disaster plan through the newly launched ‘Lean on Me’ program here in Hillsborough County,” said Ms. Elizabeth Dunn, the instructor for this course.

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