EWU, SRHD To Begin Training Volunteers For Contact Tracing

May 13, 2020

Spokane County's expanded contact tracing program will begin June 15. Training of volunteers to staff much of it starts two weeks before that.
Credit Missy Nadvornick

Spokane County’s contact tracing program to track people with the coronavirus is set to begin June 15.

Training volunteers to help man the program will start June 1.

Dr. Pam Kohlmeier is a lecturer in Eastern Washington University’s Masters of Public Health program. She says that program and the health district will hold three-hour sessions to train volunteers, beginning at the start of June.

She says the program hopes to draw health district workers and students enrolled in local college health sciences programs.

“What do volunteers have to gain from this? So much. Public health students have the tools to be effective and what they want is to hit the ground running and make a difference. This is a beautiful opportunity for students. In addition, they get a certificate which is endorsed by the Spokane Regional Health District," Kohlmeier said.

Volunteers will learn about federal health care privacy regulations, what contact tracing accomplishes and how to polish their interviewing skills. When trained, they will help health district epidemiologists contact and guide people through their time with the coronavirus.  

Kohlmeier says 35 people have volunteered, including some of her students. A spokeswoman for the WSU College of Nursing says 10 students there are also ready to go. The hope is to have 20 volunteers trained to help epidemiologists by the time the contact tracing program begins, with 30 more on the job by mid-July.