South Carolina Public Health Preparedness - Student Corp (SCPHPSC)

Sponsor/Type: Clemson University/CDC
Project Period: 12/20/2022 – 06/30/2024


The lead organization of this 2-year workforce development proposal is Clemson University (CU). This proposed initiative will be housed within and serve as a key agenda item within the university’s School of Nursing’s Student Nurses Association (SNA). It is a CU designated student organization--within which members participate throughout their undergraduate and graduate program curricula. In addition to its formal relationship with the NSNA, the CU SNA also serves as a strategic partner of the university’s Center for Research on Health Disparities (CRHD) - an entity that serves to improve population health outcomes within rural and underserved communities.

There is currently a dire need for an expanded public health workforce in SC and globally to fill health service gaps underscored during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Critical gaps include a shortage of a) adequately trained personnel with the skill to function on emergency response frontlines (e.g., proper use of personal protective equipment, contact tracing, stop the bleed, etc.), b) responder behavioral health and self-care/anti-compassion fatigue resources, c) health workforce development resources, and d) healthcare interventions that target the medically underserved. A shared priority for addressing these gaps, held by diverse disciplines (including nursing), and using an integrated approach to strengthen the impact of the public health workforce is recommended (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2021).

Reassessing health professions curricula to better incorporate emergency preparedness and response training for healthcare professionals and students is also recommended since we have learned that training for both groups and restructuring of their services can be facilitated and effectively deployed during a crisis. Researchers summarized that students who complete appropriate training can play an essential role in pandemic management and that the broad training the medical workforce receives can also be applied to diverse disaster scenarios when supported with adjunct specialist training.

Preparing and/or assimilating these “specialist” trained student nurses (and other student disciplines,) within the current SC SERV Medical/Public Health Reserve Corps (PHRC) workforce, holds potential for creating an evidence-based and sustainable mechanism toward helping to fill public health workforce gaps that continue to compromise population health goals for SC and beyond. The MRC engages volunteers to strengthen public health, improve emergency response capabilities, and build community resiliency. They prepare for and respond to natural disasters, such as wildfires, hurricanes, tornados, blizzards, and floods, as well as other emergencies affecting public health, such as disease outbreaks.

Project Goal

To increase access to an interdisciplinary, sustainable pipeline of emergency preparedness and response trained, culturally competent, public/population health workforce that is deployable by the Regional Public Health Reserve Corps of SC.

Target Population

  • Student participants, within this project, are classified as “interns” within the PHRC and are defined as existing within an academic institution or completing an academic study requirement.
  • There will be 2 target populations (program participants)
    • Target Group A: CU SON enrolled undergraduate student members of the SNA are the primary target population.
    • Target Group B: Public health, nursing, social work, communications, business administration, IT, and other undergraduate students from four SC academic institutions are the secondary target population: 1. Benedict College, Columbia; 2. Claflin University, Orangeburg; 3. Coastal University, Conway; 4. Francis Marion University, Florence; and 5. The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), Charleston.

The Medical University of South Carolina will engage 50 MUSC-based program participants enrolled in the health professions programs (such as students in the College of Nursing) in at least 10 hours of workforce development immersion activities designed to increase competence in the promotion of equitable, culturally sensitive emergency response care.

Immersion activities may include any of the following:

  • Attending a research event addressing health disparities such as the College of Nursing Annual Research Day or the MUSC Translational Research Day
  • Providing community outreach regarding the health impacts of heat and available resources to support families and communities
  • Shadowing or interning with a practicing community health registered nurse, advanced practice registered nurse (APRN), or public health professional (for participating students not in a nursing program) engaged in the care of patients experiencing healthcare disparities
  • Providing community education regarding disaster preparedness with a focus on communities and individuals experiencing health disparities; e) participating in an advisory board to increase project awareness and identify opportunities to increase emergency response preparedness in the Lowcountry area

For more information contact
Kasey Jordan
Ph.D, RN