Roseburg PA and Former AHEC ReConnect Gap-Year Fellowship Student Volunteers During Pandemic
Michael Graham, Physician Assistant (PA) and Dr. Brandon Bonds from Evergreen Family Medicine in Roseburg, volunteered for one of the COVID-19 drive-through testing days on patients at the fairgrounds in the Roseburg area on April 4, 2020. When asked about his experience while volunteering, Michael had the following to say:
What motivated you to volunteer to serve at the drive-through COVID-19 testing?
I volunteered because they needed help. I think there is an aspect to being a provider that involves caring for the community as a whole in addition to your own patients. We are all in this together and that was one way that I thought I could help out.
How many other medical professionals worked that shift with you? How many volunteers does it take to pull of an event such as drive-thru testing?
I worked with a number of city workers, firefighters, a current AHEC scribe, Tori Prawitz-Wiprud, and a physician, Dr. Brandon Bonds, who also works at Evergreen with me. I think in all there was probably around 20 people involved in just the testing day - I'm sure there were many others involved with planning and communication. Additionally, there have been a number of different testing dates - all of which worked out most of the kinks before I got there.
As a medical professional on the frontlines, what advice do you have for our community about COVID-19?
I think there should be a measured response to COVID-19. This disease certainly seems to spread easily and has been especially harder on our vulnerable population and in nursing homes in Oregon. I think following CDC guidelines on social distancing, avoiding larger groups, and trying to stay in if you are able to are good things to do at this time.
I personally think the media has driven a national narrative that has caused some increased anxiety when it is not necessarily warranted. Oregon is not New York and Roseburg is certainly not NYC. What makes sense in NYC may or may not apply to us here but I do think there is a role we all play in helping our neighbors and treating others like we would like to be treated. In short, I think we should all try to help each other out in whatever ways we can. Stay in, support local businesses, avoid large gatherings, call each other to check in, help where you see a need. Hopefully together we can make things go back to normal soon. These are all my own personal opinions and may or may not reflect the opinions of my employer.