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OUHSC Students Win National Award for Community-Based COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts

OUHSC Students Win National Award for Community-Based COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts

Two masked students stand near a "COVID Vaccine Entrance" sign

Six students from the OU Health Sciences Center have been recognized with the George E. Thibault, MD Nexus Award for their efforts to provide community-based COVID-19 vaccine clinics through the Unity Clinic.

Jarad Anderson, Christa Bellack, Tram Le and Brandon Moritz from the College of Medicine and William Atkinson and Addison Davis from the Hudson College of Public Health were selected for their poster presentation “IPE in Practice: Putting Shots in Arms,” which highlighted the initiative.

A group of students in scrubs and PPE pose in front of a clinic sign

Over the course of several months, Unity Clinic student leaders trained approximately 300 OU health professional students in vaccine injection practices, safety and quality. Volunteers contributed more than 7,500 hours of service and administered over 35,000 vaccinations.

Presented by the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education, the Nexus Award celebrates exemplary interprofessional collaboration in the United States and those who are thinking and acting differently where practice and education connect in health systems.

Dr. Valerie N. Williams, vice provost for academic affairs and faculty development at the OU Health Sciences Center, said the students’ work exemplifies the aims of interdisciplinary education and interprofessional practice.

“This is a wonderful acknowledgment of the excellent work of the Unity Clinic team regarding COVID vaccinations and how effectively that work was represented in the presentation,” Williams said. “We are so happy for all involved with the Unity Clinic COVID info, vaccine pods and most recent iteration of strike teams to be recognized by association with this one presentation— being acknowledged by and among national peers via NEXUS Summit is a fabulous accolade.”

The Unity Clinic team’s responsibilities included on-site supervision and coordination, process improvement and volunteer recruitment, education and training – roles that were shared by an interprofessional team of clinical and non-clinical students who worked collaboratively to ensure successful clinical operations.

The students have now adapted their vaccine clinic model to meet patients where they are with community outreach through partnerships with trusted stakeholders to meet the needs of underserved populations in Oklahoma. The interprofessional team also helped develop methods to operationalize vaccine clinics to meet the administrative challenges of large-scale vaccination events.

In their award-winning presentation, the students also highlighted the Unity Clinic’s work as a vehicle to recruit and engage students from across the seven OU Health Sciences Center colleges.

For more information about the Unity Clinic, visit

Article Published:  Wednesday, October 20, 2021