News & Stories

Closing the Disconnect with the COVID-19 Care-A-Van

Memorial Day weekend, three rising fourth-year College of Medicine students visited three Akron neighborhoods to answer questions and share information about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. 

Recruited by Deborah Plate, D.O., a professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine and a physician at Cleveland Clinic Akron General,

Laura Allen; Daniel Lamb, R.N.; and Nicholas Pratt, R.N., teamed up with Dr. Plate and other health care providers and community organizations as the COVID Care-A-Van. Summit County Health provided J&J vaccinations onsite. 

Nicholas Pratt, who worked as an ICU nurse before coming to the College of Medicine, reflected afterward: 

“Because I am a student with a strong interest in the field of psychiatry, our leadership called upon me to discuss with the crowd the importance of mental health during the pandemic. Although I was nervous to address such a large crowd, I was humbled by the audience. Having the opportunity to get out and engage with community members was an honor.  

I had the chance to encourage individuals to reach out to those that they felt disconnected from because of the pandemic. I provided my own reflections, journey, and encouraged mindfulness. When I heard and saw several nods, claps and cheers from those listening, this encouragement was profound and validating. Having gone through months of isolation and social distance, it was wonderful to be together again. 

As a future physician, I look forward to caring for the mental health needs of our community, and I valued this opportunity to represent NEOMED.”