Duke PA Alum Participated in Successful Indian Health Services Contact Tracing Model Highlighted by Time Magazine

By Rhiannon Giles


Duke Physician Assistant Program alumn Kate Pocock ('13) spent the first part of the pandemic working in Arizona on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation. The multidisciplinary team worked with Indian Health Services (IHS) to take an in-person approach to contact tracing.

Time magazine highlighted the project in November, saying, "When White Mountain recorded its first positive coronavirus case on April 1—making it one of the last spots in Arizona to log one— [Dr. Ryan] Close and his staff of 30 were already plotting out the bones of their preemptive High-Risk Outreach Program, which was formalized with White Mountain leaders and doctors in the U.S. Public Health Commissioned Corps. The goal: to detect COVID-19 in elders before they knew they had it."

After the conclusion of her time with the project, Pocock says, "Having the opportunity to work with the White Mountain Apache during the pandemic has been an absolute gift.  The tribe has a long history of being public health forward and witnessing the way the community stepped up to take care of their own was amazing. [...] this community deserves a lot of recognition for the way they handled the last few years with innovation and perseverance."

For the original paper published by the team, visit the American Journal of Public Health where subscribers can view the full text and non-subscribers can read an abstract.  


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