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H1N1 Vaccines Given By SMU Students

Despite a chronic shortage of available H1N1 vaccines, hundreds of children and pregnant women from Alameda County had a lot to be thankful for this past Thanksgiving.  Nearly 600 children and expected moms received a free vaccination at the Davis Street Family Resource Center Primary Care Clinic, located in San Leandro, thanks in part to more than four dozen Samuel Merritt University students from the family nurse practitioner and physician assistant program.    

According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 4,000 deaths nationwide are due to the H1N1 virus, including more than 500 children.  Children and pregnant women are most at-risk and this endeavor seeks to immunize those with the most need and least access.   

Michael De Rosa, MPH, PhD, PA-C, Chair, Department of Physician Assistant and Assistant Professor, says the SMU students spent part of the exam process educating and communicating to the parents and the children about the new influenza virus and how they were there to help.  

"The H1N1 vaccine has induced a lot of anxiety, so one of our roles was to reassure and educate the patients about the guidelines we were following," explains Dr. De Rosa.  "It's always great to watch nursing, NP and PA students all working cooperatively to get the job done.  It builds relationships and it builds understand and respect between disciplines."

"The students from Samuel Merritt University rose to the challenge of providing the H1N1 vaccinations to the most vulnerable in our community," says Rose Johnson, Executive Director of the Family Resource Center.  "We could not have immunized so many without the support of this incredibly compassionate group of budding healthcare providers."

The CDC website reports during the week of November 29-December 5, 2009, flu activity continued to decline in the United States.  The number of states reporting widespread flu activity decreased from 25 to 14.  Visits to doctors for influenza-like illness and flu-associated hospitalizations declined from the previous week, however flu-associated deaths increased.  The HINI virus was first detected in the United States in April 2009. 

This February marks the first year anniversary that the Davis Street Family Resource Center, a private non-profit clinic, and Samuel Merritt University have worked together to bring primary medical services to uninsured and underinsured children and adults.  In the next edition of eNews we'll uncover more on how this innovative collaboration enables local residents to receive basic medical care at no cost and the educational benefits the students receive that differ from other clinics.

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Office of the President eNews is published by Samuel Merritt University, Office of the President.
Stephanie Bangert, Executive Director Office of the President / Editor.
Elizabeth Valente, Associate Director of Publications and Media Relations / Editor / Writer.
Michael Tam, Technical consultant.

Send ideas or submissions to: EValente@samuelmerritt.edu.

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