Inside APE: Cassie Kersten & CDC Pandemic Influenza Preparedness

Inside APE: Cassie Kersten & CDC Pandemic Influenza Preparedness

Category : #WeAreEmoryEPI GLEPI

This week for #InsideAPE, we sat down with Cassie Kersten, rising 2nd year GLEPI MPH student to talk about her work this summer as Pandemic Influenza Preparedness and Response ORISE Fellow at the CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, Community Interventions for Infection Control Unit in Atlanta.

Tell us about your APE project.

For my project, I am collaborating with the Division of Adolescent and School Health to examine the presence of policies and procedures in public school districts that would facilitate the implementation of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) in the case of a pandemic. By examining these factors in relation with geographic region, urbanicity, district enrollment size, and socioeconomic status indicators, we hope to identify opportunities for improving pandemic preparedness and response plans in school districts.

How did you find your APE project?

I was hired by this unit during my first year at Rollins as a REAL student to maintain an up-to-date database on school closures and to work on a social media project. Since it was going so well, I decided to talk with my supervisor about the summer and ask if they would be willing to let me continue– which they were!

What has the experience been like so far?

I’ve really enjoyed being at the CDC full-time and getting to experience all the inner workings of the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine as a fellow public health professional. Recently, after there was an Ebola case in Uganda that spread from the DRC, I was able to listen in to a conference call where people on the ground were explaining the situation and all the plans they have ready for response and risk mitigation– which was really interesting! Another time, I was invited to share in “Rabies Cake” and mingle with people working in a few different CDC units to celebrate publication of the June Vital Signs report on rabies.

Cassie Kersten is a rising 2nd year GLEPI MPH student with research interests related to infectious disease epidemiology, health security, and emergency preparedness. She is co-president of the Student Outbreak and Response Team (SORT), through which she works directly with local boards of health and gets to further explore areas of potential research interest. 

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