Students at the Medical College of Georgia are starting a new course Monday on pandemic medicine.
Faculty worked quickly to develop a class on pandemics that students can take online, wherever they are around the state. After a couple weeks of study, the students will start doing hands-on work with their local health departments.
Vice Dean Dr. Doug Miller said some 200 students have signed up.
"They really want to serve the state and the people in their communities," he said. "And that makes it a wonderful fit between what they're learning in terms of their education and what they're doing in terms of service."
Many public health offices do not have enough staff to track a disease outbreak like the coronavirus, Miller said, so the volunteer student help will be critical.
The students will not be working directly with patients, unless the outbreak accelerates to a point where they are needed. Instead, they will do key tasks like tracing the virus and answering public questions as assigned by their local health departments.