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Student-Powered Enrollment for SPARK-C: A Novel Collaboration Between the University of Miami, Miami-Dade Mayor’s Office, and Local Municipal Departments

Last Updated: May 15, 2020


Surveillance Program Assessing Risk and Knowledge of Coronavirus (SPARK-C) is a unique, multi-stakeholder data collection initiative aimed at understanding the prevalence of COVID-19 in Miami-Dade County, which has a population of 2.8 million people. This community-based project was conceptualized at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in direct collaboration with Miami-Dade County Office of the Mayor and is led by Dr. Erin Kobetz and Dr. Natasha Solle. 

  • SPARK-C functions because of vital contributions from several key collaborators: 
  • Office of the Mayor provides point-of-care COVID-19 antibody tests
  • Local municipal departments help plan the sampling areas
  • Florida Power and Light (FPL) generates lists of potential participants and dials phone numbers randomly
  • Student volunteers work remotely from home to receive calls, explain the study, and enroll participants with language coverage in English, Spanish, and Creole
  • Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, Miami-Dade Police, resident physicians, nursing students, and medical students perform field testing at 10 community locations throughout the county
  • Student volunteers follow up with participants to explain their test results

We are proud to have a diverse volunteer team of over 130 students including MD students, dual-degree MD/MPH students, and MPH students, many of whom are using SPARK-C as their MPH Field Experience. In addition to their shifts, most students are still remotely participating in coursework, research, and/or board exam studying. The SPARK-C student team is led by nine captains that train their peers, provide real-time shift support, delegate important tasks, communicate with different stakeholders, and provide important feedback to leadership. In addition to scientific analyses, the University of Miami SPARK-C team is committed to disseminating the results of the study to the general public in a way that is thoughtful and informative. 

SPARK-C Leadership: Erin Kobetz, Natasha Solle, Zinzi Bailey, Alberto Caban-Martinez, and others 
Student Captains: Tomas Delgado, Heather Herman, Maya Lubarsky, Maria Lugo, Brianna Mussman, Varsha Prabhakar, Apoorva Rangan, Brandon Rose (Lead), and Nicole Vecin.


Brandon Edward Rose, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine (brose@med.miami.ed)