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Mizzou Health Professions alumni respond to COVID-19

April 10, 2020

In the wake of COVID-19, health care professionals are bravely showing up to treat patients on the front lines, and working hard behind the scenes to fight this disease, as well.

Health Professions alumni are treating patients, assisting the CDC’s efforts, providing medical supplies and more. These are their stories.

**The interviews have been edited slightly for clarity.

Marissa Thomas standing in front of the sign outside the CDC Washington office

Marissa Thomas
Public Health Analyst, CDC

MPH ’13 (Public Health)

A crucial aspect in dealing with COVID-19 is keeping informed and up-to-date to make the best possible decisions to protect the health and safety of the public. Marissa Thomas is the COVID-19 communications and logistics lead for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Washington, D.C.

“We have been working on this response since the start of the New Year, before it had an official name and before it arrived in America. Viruses know no borders, which is why global health is so important.”

Read Marissa’s story.

Aliyha Hill, sitting on a bench on Mizzou's campus in spring or summer, wearing a Mizzou Health Sciences grey T shirt with a floral skirt. She's also wearing her graduation cap and cords

Aliyha Hill
Veterinary Export intern, USDA

BHS ’18 (Health Science)

The general public may not understand how interconnected veterinary and human health are, but Aliyha Hill does. At the USDA office in Jefferson City, Missouri, Hill monitors products that will enter the marketplace for possible human consumption.

“Our personal lives may be paused, but those products are essential,” Hill said. “They have to be sent out, and the work must continue.”

Read Aliyha’s story.

Portrait of Michael Carr, wearing a suit and tie

Michael Carr
President, Purair products

BHS ’87 (Respiratory Therapy)

COVID-19 is a disease that can significantly impact one’s ability to breathe normally. This is where Michael Carr and his company, Purair, come in. 

“The ventilators people are becoming more aware of due to the crisis can not operate without our oxygen,” Carr said. “Before the respiratory therapists and others can do their job, we have to do ours.” 

Read Michael’s story.

Ivan Lee, a respiratory therapist, standing in front of a white and grey back drop, wearing scrubs, with his arms crossed, in the hospital he works in

Ivan Lee
Principal Respiratory Therapist
Woodlands Health Campus, Singapore

BHS ’12, Respiratory Therapy

Respiratory therapists are often overlooked, yet among the most vital health care professionals when it comes to treating COVID-19 patients. Ivan Lee has been fighting the pandemic in Singapore, where he works as respiratory therapist.

“Most people taking breathing for granted until that is the one thing that they cannot do, and respiratory therapists will be there to help, one breath at a time,” Lee said.

Read Ivan’s story.