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iConnect News


Miami-based alumni brave Irma’s onslaught

October 4, 2017
Posted In: Alumni Headlines, Arizona Campus, SOMA, University Headlines

For Cassandra Beard, DO, MPH, ’17, and Evan Wolff, DO, MPH, ’17, postgraduate residency recently took an unexpected turn. Both are serving at Larkin Community Hospital in south Miami. As Hurricane Irma swept through the city in early September, the two alumni of ATSU’s School of Osteopathic Medicine in Arizona strove to deliver patient-centered care amid historically catastrophic conditions.

The situation wasn’t easy. Hospital staff dealt with intermittent power fluctuations. Patients who had nowhere to go could not be released. In preparation, the hospital deployed hurricane shutters and sandbagged doors. Flooded streets and scattered debris made transportation dangerous, keeping hospital workers away from home for days on end.

Drs. Beard and Wolff credit their medical education with helping them weather the storm. Dr. Wolff is grateful for his experience in handwriting notes and orders, which became a necessary skill when the power went out. He says the practice was enforced during his first year of medical school.

Dr. Beard recalls ATSU mentors who taught her to visualize situations from a patient’s perspective. The tactic helped her maintain focus and conquer personal anxieties in a difficult situation, she says.

Hurricane Irma was one of several storms to make landfall in this year’s active hurricane season. The ATSU community extends well wishes to the alumni, employees, and students affected by these hurricanes, as they continue to live and work in hazardous conditions. If you were affected and would like to share your experience, or simply wish to check in with the University, please email communications@atsu.edu.

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