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Service Leadership

Meet our Contact Tracing Corps Volunteers

Read CTC Member Testimonials about the Program

The following Foothill College students have provided their perspective serving as contact tracers in Santa Clara County, in addition to their gratitude for the stipends they received from the FHDA Foundation as part of the CTC program.

Charlene Kabambi

Meet Charlene KabambiWhen I started my volunteering as Contact Tracer and Case Investigator in Santa Clara County, I realized how COVID-19 has affected our community. It was my surprise to see how many people around us do not understand what it means to be in quarantine or in isolation. Identifying and calling exposed individuals help to slow and to control the spread of COVID-19. Staying busy during this pandemic period help me to cope with the sad news I hear every day in the media; it’s also helped me to learn new skills.

I would like to thank Professor Rebecca Ryan for this opportunity and all those who supported us during these difficult times because the money received will helps us with our academic costs as a student at Foothill College.

Marcela Aguilar

Meet Marcela Aguilar My experience with CTC has been very enlightening. Knowing that I am making real changes in people’s lives is such a fantastic feeling, and being a part of something so much bigger than me is truly incredible; I can see how each small piece of the puzzle really matters in the long run. Many people out there are in situations where they are scared, frustrated, and busy, on top of having no resources. You can hear the relief in their voices when they learn how motivated our county is at helping them access those resources. In fact, there are many people who are lonely and appreciate a conversation with someone who sounds like they genuinely care! A lot of people in Santa Clara just want to be able to get their questions answered, and their emotions validated.

Sometimes that's the only thing people really want, for someone to listen to them and reiterate that what they’re going through is difficult. After almost a year, we as a community have to remember we are still dealing with a global pandemic, it’s perfectly normal to be feeling depressed, anxious, beaten down, and alone, even if this is a completely new feeling for you as an individual!

Receiving this stipend will help me more than any of you could know. I am a full-time student, and a frontline worker as well. My job recently had to close for about a week due to possible exposures, and this has made making ends meet even more difficult. Eventually, I would like to become a psychiatric nurse, and contact tracing has given me a fantastic opportunity to really put my skills to use. Thank you so much for your help.

Hannah Finegold

Meet Hannah Finegold I am thankful for being part of the Contact Tracing Corps at Foothill. The skills I have learned as a Contact Tracer, such as active listening and cultural competency, have far reaching applications; and I am glad to be of service to help stop the spread of such a deadly and destructive infectious disease.

The generous stipend will go towards finishing the coursework needed to apply to medical school next year.

Elaine Ta

Meet Elaine TaBeing a volunteer COVID-19 case investigator and contact tracer has been such an amazing opportunity. I am honored to be a part of a project that is so meaningful and impactful. Seeing everyone work together to try and slow the spread of the virus truly exemplifies the strength of our community. The most rewarding aspect of this work is being able to help people stay safe and informed while being physically apart. Thank you Foothill College and Dr. Rebecca Ryan for allowing students to be involved in the Contact Tracing Corps. The stipend received will allow me to continue my work in this field and help fund my future nursing school journey.

Community Members Volunteer Experience

The following community members have provided their perspective serving as contact tracers in Santa Clara County as a result of the Fall 2019 Case Investigation and Contact Tracing course:

Peying Lee

Meet Peying LeeThanks to Foothill College’s free Community Education course on Contact Tracing and Case Investigation, I’ve been volunteering as a COVID-19 Case Investigator and Contact Tracer (CICT) with Santa Clara County’s Public Health Department. This class has been an integral complement and mental health boost to my current CICT efforts, encouraging me to engage in cultural humility; be people-centered, empathetic and patient; and set boundaries in my approach. I’ve gained incredible insight to emerging COVID-19 trends and into our local public health system. It’s also been great to socially connect with classmates and CICT peers – a diverse group of youth and rising undergrad and grad students, retired professionals, involved community members, and more!

I’m grateful that Dr. Rebecca Ryan led my Fall 2020 class through this important and timely “public health 101 course”. I'll continue to learn about social determinants of health, reflect on my privilege, and improve my communication skills, especially in reaching out to people about COVID-19 and their health. Moving onward: understanding more about existing and ongoing health disparities, I find it powerful to promote that we can change structures and conditions of how we live, work, play, age to improve and bolster positive health outcomes.

Carrie Reid

Meet Carrie ReidI enrolled in Dr. Ryan's class after a friend brought it to my attention. Being retired, I thought 'why not?' and completed the ASTHO and UCLA classes. That's when I realized I was really going to push the boundaries of my comfort zone. Having been a career computer “enginerd” I am much more comfortable talking to computers than people. Participating as a CICT has only deepened my respect for all of you who are entering the medical field as well as all who spend the day communicating with people. It has also forced me to re-evaluate myself in terms of cultural humility and communication techniques.

I feel fortunate to have had the chance to participate as a CICT and to have gotten the chance to work with everyone. The number of students continuing as volunteers and also the establishment of the Contact Tracing Core at Foothill College are a testament to the success of Dr. Ryan and the class.

Adam Guttentag

In the early months of the pandemic I watched as a spectator with the sense that state and county were focused on training only existing government employees as contact tracers. Dr. Ryan's contact tracing course at Foothill College provided a structured, accessible, supportive path to find agency in the disaster. I now frequently help train other CICTs in the county program and draw on the knowledge and educational approaches I learned from Dr. Ryan.

This morning I talked to a new CICT who said he skips the demographic questions in the interview because they make people feel uncomfortable. Because of Dr. Ryan's course, I was able to explain social determinants of health and persuade him that the collection of this information is vital to the very underserved populations he worried about offending. On a daily basis I think about how Dr. Ryan's efforts to help me find a path to this work allows me to help others find the information and resources that will be their path through the pandemic.



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