COVID-19 Panel Discussion: Personal Experiences from the Front Lines

Health studies graduate, Shannon O’Rourke ’20, was part of the COVID-19 Panel Discussion: Personal Experiences from the Front Lines held on online October 7th. Shannon spoke about her experience working at Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH).

When the pandemic began Shannon was completing an internship at a RIDOH and made the decision to continue her internship and assist with the COVID-19 outbreak. She first worked with the Patients Under Investigation or PUI cases in Rhode Island. These cases involve anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 and is scheduled for testing. After graduation, Shannon continued working at RIDOH as a case investigator working within the Division of COVID-19 Response and Epidemiological Operations. In this role, she worked closely with employers to provide guidance on quarantine and isolation, complete contact tracing, and ensure that state guidelines respective to COVID-19 are implemented across various industries.

Shannon is now a Program Manager in the COVID-19 unit. “I oversee the workplace outbreak prevention team, which primarily focuses on cluster management of COVID-19 cases among staff in various workplace settings. We provide industry-specific risk assessments and interventions to businesses who meet cluster definitions. My primary role includes: managing day-to-day workflow and assignments of case investigators and epidemiologists on my team. I work closely with senior leadership and public health nurses to evaluate effectiveness of our program and provide continuous quality improvement based on current cluster volume and the overall state positivity rate in RI.” Keep up the good work, Shannon!

Other panelists included

  •  Elizabeth Roberts, URI Academic Health Collaborative (moderator)
  •  Eugenio Fernandez Pharm.D. ’13, founder, Asthenis pharmacy
  •  James Lemieux ’17, registered nurse, Kent Hospital
  •  Shannon O’Rourke ’20, case investigator, RI Department of Health
  •  Trudy-Anne Gayle ’11, co-founder, Life Matters Psychological Services
  •  Leah Hurley ’16, M.S. ’18, dietician, Roger Williams Medical Center