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Alumni Profile - Erin Mitchell

Erin Mitchell, MPH

What is your current role?

Infection Prevention Practitioner at OhioHealth.


In your current position, are you playing a role in the COVID-19 response effort?

Yes, directly. OhioHealth has been working since late February/early March to ensure that our patients, visitors, and associates are receiving the best possible care as we all work on the front lines to prevent the spread of COVID-19. My direct role has included setting up an alternate site of care at the Columbus Convention Center in case our central Ohio hospitals became too overwhelmed, monitoring COVID-19 numbers, rapidly changing processes and procedures as acuity, supply levels, and CDC guidelines changed, manning a 24/7 call center to answer questions for associates and physicians, and so much more.


What is the main lesson or takeaway that you have obtained during your participation in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic?

The main lesson that I obtained during the COVID-19 pandemic is to always be ready for change. During this pandemic, the minute we put out new guidelines per CDC/WHO recommendations, they would change. Things were rapidly changing, and we constantly had to learn to be on our toes at a moment’s notice.


How did the VPH program prepare you for this position? 

The VPH program prepared me for this position by not only giving me the knowledge about viruses, pandemics, public health, etc., but it gave me the tools to stay informed, to learn what information was pertinent and what wasn't. The VPH program gave me the skillset to be able to work in an environment where I have to be flexible with what I am doing. It also taught me the professionalism to remain calm and to handle situations rationally versus over or under reacting. I am forever grateful for the VPH program!



Any other comments or pearls of wisdom you would like to share with current students and alumni?

Get involved in everything that the VPH program offers. Do ALL of the extra things. For example, during the program I got to volunteer with the COTS emergency response day/simulation. All of the extra events, classes, and volunteer experiences you can fit into your schedule truly impact your knowledge and experience of public health in action. By truly spending the time to understand the material in my courses and by utilizing the extra experiences I was offered, I felt like I started my career with a foot forward. Take advantage of every moment you have in the program.


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