Dr. Rebecca DeCarlo, a 2020 graduate of the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, was honored at a White House Commencement Ceremony on Friday, May 22.
DeCarlo was one of only 20 students, and the only medical student, nationwide to be invited. President Trump honored recent graduates who had played a part in the country’s COVID-19 response.
DeCarlo, who is headed to Carolinas Medical Center and Atrium Health in Charlotte for a neurosurgery residency that begins in July, was a student at MCG’s Southeast Campus in Savannah/Brunswick and worked with the Coastal Georgia Health District to assist with their contact tracing efforts. She and her fellow volunteers often made 100 calls a day to the community, regarding quarantine protocols and answering questions.
Although she and her fellow students had been pulled from clinical rotations because of coronavirus precautions, they wanted to find a way to help by reducing the incidence of disease and burden on hospitals, DeCarlo says. She worked with other medical students to develop a training manual detailing how contact tracing had been developed in the Coastal Georgia Health District. That manual was designed to be adapted for use in public health districts across the state.
The medical school also used the manual in its newly created pandemic medicine course, which trained 186 medical students and several faculty, including MCG’s Dean, Dr. David C. Hess.