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College Collaborates with Community for COVID-19 Response

Dr. Kelly Reynolds from the College is working with Tucson Fire Department personnel to create a training video about protocols for first responders to avoid infection during an outbreak.

Dr. Kelly Reynolds from the College is working with Tucson Fire Department personnel to create a training video about protocols for first responders to avoid infection during an outbreak.

This webpage provides updates about how the College is supporting our Arizona communities and community partners during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Message from Dean Iman Hakim

Iman HakimDear Friends of the College,
This is an unprecedented time in our state, our nation, and our world. Here at the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health we have been working hard to support all our communities and partners through the COVID-19 pandemic. We work closely with government and community partners in Tucson and Pima County, in the State of Arizona, and with the University of Arizona’s international partners to respond to COVID-19 with the best knowledge and expertise we have to offer.

I would like to thank our students, our faculty, and our staff for all they have accomplished in such a short time – from the transition to online classes to the many initiatives we have launched to keep communities healthy all across our state. We continue to lead in response to COVID-19 with the most informed, research-based public health guidance and programming available. And we continue to educate our students, the public health leaders of tomorrow, to meet the challenges of this pandemic and beyond.

As you scroll down on this page, you will learn about the many projects and programs spearheaded by the College to stop the spread of COVID-19 and deliver resources and expertise to those who need it most.

We thank all of our friends, partners, and alumni for their continued support.

Best Wishes for Your Health and Safety,

For the most up-to-date coronavirus information specific to the University of Arizona, visit the UArizona Coronavirus Information webpage here:

How We Are Helping Our Community Partners

At the Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health (MEZCOPH), our faculty experts are working closely with regional health providers, first responders, and the Pima County Health Department to monitor the spread of COVID-19 and are working TOGETHER to respond to the virus in Southern Arizona. Some of the programs connected to the College appear below:

Mobile Health Units from MEZCOPH Phoenix Campus Help Maricopa County Reach Underserved Communities with COVID Vaccinations

In a push to make COVID vaccine distribution more equitable, the Mobile Health Units program has been contracted by Maricopa County to deliver the COVID vaccine to underserved populations and communities of color in metro Phoenix that do not otherwise have access. Learn more >

Dr. Kacey Ernst and Dr. Mark Nichter Create Accessible “Now That You’re Vaccinated” COVID-19 Infographic Guide for the Public

Many people have questions about the COVID-19 vaccines and what precautions and practices to follow after they have been vaccinated. Kacey Ernst, PhD, MPH and Mark Nicter, Phd, MPH, teamed up to create an accessible, easy to follow guide for people after vaccination that is available on the Health Care Workers Hosted blog. Learn more >

Small Army of Public Health Volunteers Support the UArizona Vaccination POD

To date, more than 260 students, staff, and faculty from the Zuckerman College of Public Health have signed up as volunteers to support the UArizona vaccination POD. On any given day, many of them are out there helping to vaccinate our community and bring the pandemic to an end. Learn more >

Dr. Jeff Burgess Leads Study on Links Between PFAS Compounds and COVID-19 Risk in First Responders

Jeff Burgess, MD, MS, MPH, leads three new studies looking for links between “forever chemicals,” or PFAS compounds, and the increase in risk of contracting COVID-19 for firefighters and other first responders, from Arizona Public Media (AZPM). Learn more >

NIH Hazardous Exposure Grant Study Enables COVID-19 Response Campaign for Small Business

Dr. Paloma Beamer, in close collaboration with the non-profit Sonora Environmental Resources Institute (SER) and El Rio Health, won supplemental funding from the NIH to support COVID-19 response support for small business as part of a larger workplace chemical exposure research study for small businesses such as beauty salons and auto shops in Spanish-language communities. Learn more >

Dr. Mona Arora Honored as a “COVID-19 Hero” by KVOA News 4

KVOA News 4 Tucson pays tribute to our regional heroes of COVID-19 and honors Mona Arora, PhD, who leads the UArizona vaccination POD and has done so much more for our community in response to the pandemic. Thank you Mona! View here >

SAFER student Contact Tracing Team Honored as “COVID-19 Heroes” by KVOA News 4

KVOA News 4 Tucson pays tribute to our regional heroes of COVID-19 and features the students on the SAFER Contact Tracing team who are making calls to trace COVID cases in Pima County and across the state. View here >

Public Health Students Help Pima County Investigate COVID-19 Cases

The SAFER student team, led by epidemiologist Kristen Pogreba-Brown, investigates positive COVID-19 cases for Pima County to mitigate the spread of the virus and learn about risk factors. Read the full story

Training Video for First Responders: How to Prevent Infection During an Outbreak

Dr. Kelly Reynolds, Professor and Chair in the Department of Community, Environment, and Policy, and Director at the Environment, Exposure Science, and Risk Assessment Center (ESRAC), worked with the Tucson Fire Department (TFD) and with the Western Regional Public Health Training Center (WRPHTC) at MEZCOPH to create a training video for firefighters and EMS responders about the best protocols to avoid infection. You can read the full news story and download the supplemental EMS Exposure Mitigation Checklist.

COVID-19 hotline: Public Health Students Help Answer Public Calls to Information Hotline

Many MEZCOPH students have been trained in the Student Aid for Field Epidemiology Response (SAFER) course to support regional health departments, including Pima County Health Department and Maricopa County Health Department. SAFER students will answer phones for a coronavirus information hotline at the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center (APDIC) at the College of Pharmacy at the University of Arizona. The APDIC has promoted its hotline phone number as a “coronavirus information hotline” to provide answers to Arizonans who have questions about the COVID-19 outbreak. SAFER students and COPH faculty worked with APDIC and UArizona Information Technology to expand the hotline into a "virtual call center" using the Amazon Connect platform so more students can help answer calls.

Parents and Teachers: Toolkit for Talking to Kids About COVID-19

Dr. Patricia Haynes lead a team of faculty and students to develop a Toolkit of materials to guide parents and teachers on how to talk to kids about the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak. Check out all the materials on our Toolkit webpage.

Academic Health Department Student Interns Produce Infographics to Support COVID-19 Response

Student interns working through the Academic Health Department under the guidance of Emily Waldron are creating infographics to educate the community and communicate prevention practices in the fight against COVID-19. View the infographics >

College Leads COVID-19 Response in Spanish-Speaking Communities

Through established programs that reach predominantly Mexican-American Spanish-speaking communities in many Arizona counties (including Phoenix and Tucson), the College has deployed a phone calling campaign to provide information and guidance about the COVID-19 outbreak. The Ventanillas de Salud and Mobile Health Unit programs have relationships with thousands of community members, and they have mobilized their staff to provide remote counseling. Arizona counties served by the Mobile Heath Unit program include: Maricopa, Pima, Pinal, Cochise, Graham, and Greenlee.

Dr. Cecila Rosales, MD, MS, Associate Dean, Phoenix Campus and Professor in the College, is featured in a Spanish-language COVID-19 Prevention PSA (Public Service Announcement) from the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Much of the communication with the communities is through established social media channels:
Tucson Channel
Mobile Health Unit-Tucson Facebook
Phoenix Channels
Mobile Health Unit-Phoenix Facebook
Mobile Health Unit-Phoenix Twitter
You can learn more about the Mobile Health Units here:
Tucson MHU | Phoenix MHU

College Supports Pima County Health Department Response

Faculty and students at the College are supporting the Pima County Health Department (PCHD) by reviewing public health protocols for the following topics in response to the COVID-19 pandemic:

  1. Vulnerable population groups
  2. Interventions to reduce contacts
  3. Understanding the reproductive number
  4. Transmissibility and impact of COVID 19 on kids
  5. How to combat Xenophobia
  6. How to determine if and when we can reduce our social distancing efforts
  7. Therapies and treatments that may prove effective in combating COVID 19


This support includes reviewing available data, tracking new data and research, and delivering analysis to PCHD and community health providers.

Updated Information, World Leader in Pandemic Response

A trailblazer in pandemic response, Mark Smolinski, President of Ending Pandemics (an organization dedicated to fighting global disease, funded by the Skoll Foundation), has been applying innovative solutions to prevent the global spread of disease for more than 25 years in a variety of leadership positions. Updates on the COVID-19 outbreak can be found on the Ending Pandemics website. As a MEZCOPH alumnus, Smolinksi will be one of the Honorees at the 20th Anniversary Gala celebration for the College on November 7, 2020.

University of Arizona Health Sciences COVID-19 Information

For the most current information from all the Colleges in the University of Arizona Health Sciences, go to:

Campus Health Services Coronavirus Prevention Flier

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Links for More Information

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