UTHealth School of Public Health students volunteered during a unique experience with Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services on January 30 for the Community Assessment of Public Health Emergency Response (CASPER) in Pasadena, Texas.
“This was a wonderful opportunity for the students to learn about public health preparedness in the real world which can sometimes be quite different from the textbook,” says Dr. Robert “Safety Bob” Emery, professor of occupational health at the School of Public Health and vice president for safety, health, environment and risk management at UTHealth. “The adaptability skills they learned will be invaluable in their careers.”
The goal of the CASPER is to see how prepared the community currently is for emergencies. Twenty volunteer teams visited randomly selected neighborhoods in Pasadena to conduct the survey to gather this information. Ten of the volunteers were students from the School of Public Health.
CASPERs can be done both before an emergency to focus more on preparedness, immediately after an emergency to see what immediate resources the community members need, or a few months following an emergency to see how the community is recovering.