September 19, 2005
Efforts continue in Emory College, EHC
By Eric Rangus and Chanmi Kim
More than three weeks after the most devastating natural
disaster to hit the United States in a century, Emory is continuing
to assist in Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.
Emory College hosted a Sept. 12 orientation for undergraduates displaced
by the hurricane and attending Emory with transient status. The students,
some of whom carried all their possessions with them, came from Louisiana’s
Dillard, Loyola, Tulane and Xavier universities.
A planning team including representatives from the
College, Campus Life, Emory Libraries, Information Technology and
the offices of
the registrar, admission
and parking had less than a week to plan the event.
Students (and, in some cases, their parents) received
a crash course in Emory academics, featuring academic advisers, college
and orientation leaders
who came out of “retirement” following the completion last month
of their duties introducing freshmen to campus.
“We wanted them to feel connected to the University both academically and
socially,” said Jason Breyan, director of academic advising.
College and Campus Life administrators took part in
a panel discussion, after which the students were trained in OPUS,
for classes. They
picked up Emory Cards and parking passes, had lunch, went on a library tour
and by Tuesday,
Sept. 13, were seated in Emory classrooms.
Breyan said administrators will keep an eye on these
new students so resources can be provided quickly should they need
hand. “We heard so many
personal stories of tragedy that we’ve decided to continue trying to
build community through events and support groups,” he said.
Twice a day throughout most of September, 20 representatives from
Healthcare (EHC)—doctors, nurses and administrators—have met via
conference call to keep each other informed on their efforts.
Since the call for Katrina assistance went out, some
300 EHC faculty, staff and students have given of their time and
the past week, much of
those efforts have focused on maintaining Emory’s presence at evacuee “megacenters” spread
across the Atlanta area. The megacenters, one-stop service centers for Katrina
evacuees, enroll hurricane victims into the American Red Cross system to help
distribute to food, clothing and medical supplies, as well as provide access
to 12 state and federal agencies. One of them, in College Park, closed last week,
but Emory maintains its work in centers in Gwinnett and Cobb counties.
EHC also has ensured special needs patients—transplant
instance—receive the proper amount of care.
Gary Teal, senior associate vice president for health
affairs, said while things
remain remarkably busy, they have stabilized. “This has been perhaps our
quietest day in the last two weeks,” Teal said on Wednesday, Sept. 14. “But
we’re wondering if this is going to continue or if it’s just a calming
period before it picks back up again.”
Teal said rumors have flown around about whether Atlanta
will receive a new influx of evacuees and, if they come, how many.
thing Emory can do, he said,
is have a plan in place no matter what the future holds.
Teal said that the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of
Nursing has taken on a significant
role at the Salvation Army’s headquarters on North Druid Hills Road, which
is serving as a shelter. The nursing school is taking the lead on recruiting
and scheduling nurses and nursing students to provide round-the-clock triage
for anyone who comes into the center for support. As of last Wednesday, the center
housed 30 evacuees, down from a high of 42.
Volunteers include nurses, nurse practitioners and
nursing students from the
school’s faculty, students and alumni, as well as from EHC and other non-Emory
nurses. Nurses provide triage, health assessments, first-aid and referrals to
physicians or hospitals to ensure evacuees receive the medical care they need.
Around 60–70 volunteers have staffed the center.
Wendy Rhein, the nursing school’s director of
service learning, serves as point person for the Salvation Army effort.
She said that, as far as a learning
experience for students, no other service opportunity compares to working at
the shelter. “It’s a learning experience for faculty, too,” she
said. “This is very different from any other kind of health care setting.
We are in a gym at the Salvation Army. People are literally coming in with what
they can fit in their cars.”
Rhein said care is now focused on vaccinations, as
hepatitis A and tetanus have
become concerns because of some evacuees’ exposure to sewage.