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A trip to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta was organized for several Troy University classes that focus on the sciences, medicine and historical origins of diseases.
Karen Ross, an associate history professor; Janet Gaston, a senior biology lecturer; and Amy Spurlock, a professor in the School of Nursing and coordinator of the Doctor of Nursing Practice program, took their classes to visit the CDC.
“The CDC is the federal agency that does research and deals with infectious disease in the U.S. and elsewhere,” Ross said. “The idea was that both (history and science majors) could both get something from this.”
Ross said that students studying in the areas of medicine or history could take a lot from a trip to the CDC.
“I think it’s really important for students to have the opportunity to see the places where the things they’re studying actually take place,” Ross said.
Ross said that their tour was led by a CDC scientist, Gerald Pellegrini.
“He (Pellegrini) was one of the guys who was sent to West Africa during the Ebola outbreak of 2014-2015,” Ross said. “They had an exhibit on Ebola and the CDC’s part in that epidemic.
“It was a good opportunity just to see and to be able to talk to an actual CDC scientist.”
The CDC focuses on disease control, and Jennifer Dunn, a freshman elementary education major from Flomaton, said that she could use her experience from the CDC and take it back to Troy.
“I can apply what I learned by getting my vaccinations and to always wash my hands to try and stop the spreading of bacteria,” Dunn said.
Haley Davis, a freshman biomedical science major from Slapout, attended the trip for her honor’s global pandemic class taught by Spurlock.
“By going to the CDC and learning about how all the different diseases jump from person-to-person, I can take that information and educate those around me about how to stay healthy and avoid getting sick,” Davis said.
Davis said that she had the opportunity to try on a biohazard suit while at the CDC.
“The trip was definitely fun; I loved being able to see and try on the biohazard suits that they had on display,” Davis said. “Honestly, all the displays in general were very informative and interesting.”
The museum shows facts and information about polio, which Davis said she found interesting.
“I learned that polio still exists in four countries, but the CDC and other organizations worldwide are close to eradicating it,” Davis said. “I thought that was interesting, especially since my grandmother had polio when she was younger and recently went through post-polio.”
The CDC’s website states that polio “can invade an infected person’s brain and spinal cord, causing paralysis.”
“I’ve seen firsthand what post-polio can do, so I’m thankful it’s close to being nonexistent.”
Ross said the museum there is informative for both history and science majors, and it’s free of cost.
“For history majors, this is also an opportunity to see how public history works,” Ross said. “Public history is like museums and things like that, and this (CDC) is a really good example of it.
“For science students, this is a really good opportunity to understand how the things they’re studying actually impact the world. You know, how this impacts their own society.”
For more information about the CDC and which diseases they study, visit cdc.gov.