Mercer University School of Medicine student Devin Smith, a captain in the Georgia Army National Guard, has been employed as the officer in charge of a seven-member detail working with the Department of Public Health to run a Specimen Point of Collection site in response to COVID-19.
The sites provide COVID-19 testing for individuals who have been referred through their primary care provider.
Smith, a third-year M.D. student, is from Pembroke, located in Bryan County in southeastern Georgia. After graduating from North Georgia College, he was commissioned into the U.S. Army and has served 15 years in the National Guard.
Smith and his team are providing mobile testing services to individuals in the Cobb County area, testing between 800 and 1,000 people per week.
He said it has been a rewarding experience to be able to give back during a time like this.
“This gives me an opportunity to take action and provide a valuable service to the public,” he said. “Aiding the Department of Public Health has also been a great experience, showing how different organizations can integrate and achieve an overall common goal.”
Smith said his School of Medicine training has proven helpful for his current National Guard assignment.
“My time as a medical student has prepared me in that it has allowed me to integrate with the nurses on site in order to provide testing,” he said. “I understand their roles and the tremendous job that they are performing, and the ability to learn from them has been invaluable.”
Though medical students have had their clinical experiences cut short this semester in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Smith said they have the ability to play a major role in coronavirus relief, allowing them to obtain experience in a way they may have never imagined.
“I believe it is paramount for students to find jobs and clinical assignments such as testing in order to aid the public in increasing testing capacity and to free up essential clinical personnel,” he said. “In doing so, it provides the students with a sense of duty and responsibility in trying times that, in my opinion, can only be learned through experience and not from a book.”