UTC graduate student is on the front lines in Chattanooga’s battle with COVID-19


These days, everyday people are taking on hero status. 
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Master of Public Health graduate student Jasmine Pulliam is no exception. 

In order to gather information for the health department, the Chattanooga native has been working from home, checking on people who have come into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

None of the people being interviewed by Pulliam actually have the virus; the goal is to track whether they eventually show symptoms or not. From there, Hamilton County Health Department officials can determine where the virus might have previously been, where it might spread and the number of patients suffering from it.

Pulliam has five subjects to call daily, and said they have been “very calm and aware” of the situation.

“They are very cooperative and open to answering questions,” she said.
Pulliam joins UTC graduate student Mary Ferris, along with athletic training students and faculty in the Department of Health and Human Services, as they touch base daily with people who have had contact with someone ill with coronavirus.

Dawn Ford, clinical associate professor with the Master of Public Health program at UTC, trained 61 volunteers on procedures, which were developed by the Hamilton County Health Department.

From there, health department officials get in touch with her when they have people that need tracking, Ford explained.

“I assign the contacts to the volunteers and do a quick just-in-time training to go over the specific instructions,” she said.

UTC students also are involved with the Hamilton County Health Department’s Twitter campaign #AlonetogetherCHA, which promotes social distancing.

A graduate of Chattanooga High School Center for Creative Arts, Pulliam’s studies at UTC focus on chronic disease prevention and control.

At press time, there were 121 positive coronavirus test results in Hamilton County, with 13 deaths.