April-June 2020 | Issue 002
In This Issue

  • Become a Nebraska AHEC Scholar

  • In the Spotlight:
The COVID-19 Pandemic

  • UNO's Health Careers Resource Center

  • Meet the Omaha AHEC Team
COVID-19 virus from
In The Spotlight

In this issue, we are highlighting the COVID-19 (coronavirus) that has been in the spotlight all over the world in recent months. Read below for important information from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Scroll down for more information.

The Nebraska Area Health Education Center (Nebraska AHEC) Scholars Program is a part of a national initiative that prepares health profession students who want to serve in rural or urban undeserved areas to become leaders in the changing health care system.
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What is COVID-19?

By now, you have most certainly heard about COVID-19. According to the CDC, COVID-19 is a "new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus causing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is not the same as the  coronaviruses that commonly circulate among humans  and cause mild illness, like the common cold.
Patients with COVID-19 will be evaluated and cared for differently than patients with common coronavirus diagnosis."

How does the virus spread?

According to the CDC, COVID-19 was first detected in Wuhan City, China. The first infections were "linked to a live animal market, but the virus is now spreading from person-to-person. It’s important to note that person-to-person spread can happen on a continuum. COVID-19 is spreading easily and sustainably in the community in some affected geographic areas." Therefore, someone who is actively sick with this virus can spread the illness to others. The CDC recommends that "these patients be isolated either in the hospital or at home (depending on how sick they are) until they are better and no longer pose a risk of infecting others."

Signs & Symptoms

The CDC states that reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

The following symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

How to protect yourself and others

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone follows the steps below to protect yourself from COVID-19:

1) Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you ave been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

2) If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.

3) Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

4) Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others:
  • When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often.
  • Avoid crowds as much as possible.
  • Avoid non-essential travel.
  • During a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed.

5) Avoid touching & be sure to clean:
  • To the extent possible, avoid touching high-touch surfaces in public areas, such as door knobs, elevator buttons, handrails, etc.
  • Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand or finger if you must touch something.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home and your workplace.

6) Stock up on supplies:
  • Contact your healthcare provider to ask about obtaining extra necessary medications to have on hand in case there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community and you need to stay home for a prolonged period of time.
  • If you cannot get extra medications, consider using mail-order for medications.
  • Be sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (tissues, etc.) to treat fever and other symptoms. Most people will be able to recover from COVID-19 at home.
  • Have enough household items and groceries on hand so that you will be prepared to stay at home for a period of time.

7) If you become sick:
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow, throw used tissues in the trash and immediately wash your hands with soap and hot water for 20 seconds.
  • Wear a facemask if you are sick. You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.

For further information about COVID-19, useful articles and local news about the virus, please check out the following links:
Are you a UNO pre-health student?

The Health Careers Resource Center (HCRC) located on Dodge Campus in Allwine Hall 307, provides professional healthcare career and academic counseling to help achieve your goals. The Omaha AHEC works closely with the UNO HCRC to support pre-health professions students to achieve their health careers goals.

Our advisors are familiar with local, regional, and national opportunities to further your training in healthcare. They will discuss with you the necessary academic and extracurricular pre-requisites required for most programs. The advisors are currently scheduling Zoom appointments to meet with students virtually to continue providing top-notch advising.

Additionally, the HCRC often hosts admissions representatives from various local and national institutions such as UNMC's College of Nursing, UNMC's College of Medicine and UNMC's College of Allied Health. Our pre-health students have the opportunity to meet with these representatives one-on-one to discuss these programs.

For a list of upcoming representatives in the HCRC and/or to sign up, please visit the HCRC's Upcoming Events page.
*Please note that due to COVID-19, these event schedules may change*
Meet the Omaha AHEC Team

Dr. Paul H. Davis
UNO Associate Professor of Biology

Dr. Paul H. Davis is an associate professor of Biology at UNO. He serves as the PI on the Omaha AHEC Project.   In addition, he is a faculty associate for the Nebraska INBRE Program, Director of UNO's Health Careers Resource Center and Director of the UNO/UNMC Urban Health Opportunities Program (UHOP). His teaching fields and research interests include molecular and cellular biology, human infectious diseases and Toxoplasma gondii.
Clare Maakestad
Omaha AHEC Coordinator

Clare (she/her/hers) currently serves as the Omaha AHEC Coordinator, working to help students enter health careers and healthcare professionals thrive in their careers. She earned an M.A. in Sociology 2017 and an interdisciplinary B.A. in Spanish, International Studies, and Latino/Latin American Studies in 2012, both from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Clare's graduate studies focused on medical sociology and anthropology as well as environmental sociology. Her research interests include ecological crisis and social theory. Clare has taught undergraduate courses on public health and sociology.

Stefanie Neumann
Omaha AHEC Communication Specialist

Stefanie currently serves as the Communication Specialist for Omaha AHEC and UNO's Health Careers Resource Center. Her duties for AHEC include assisting in coordinating events, newsletters, web design and various communication duties. She earned a B.A. in Communication from Florida Gulf Coast University in 2009 and a M.A. in Communication from UNO is 2016. Born and raised in Munich, Germany, Stefanie is bilingual in German and English. Her research interests include the influence of the media and Festinger's social comparison theory.
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