UCR COVID Hotline
The UCR COVID Hotline is a medical student-run (e.g., M1-M4) virtual public health initiative to support the Inland Empire in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The UCR COVID Hotline is a project under the umbrella of The Inland Empire COVID-19 Student Taskforce, which was started to create a support network for local community members and mitigate the social, economic, and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The task force was formed in early March of 2020 by a group of UCR School of Medicine students and currently consists of eight steering committee members and more than 80 UC Riverside, California University of Science and Medicine, and Loma Linda University undergraduate, graduate, and medical students. The UCR COVID Hotline is a collaboration between UCR School of Medicine and UCR Health in response to community concerns over access to public health information and changes in the clinical curriculum and longitudinal clinical activities. In March 2020, the Trump administration implemented changes on HIPAA regulations and expanded telemedicine benefits to Medicare beneficiaries during the COVID-19 outbreak. As a result of these changes, this public health initiative was established to provide vulnerable populations with ongoing education, screenings, and information about the COVID-19 Pandemic. This hotline uses guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to educate individuals on COVID-19-related symptoms, such as fever, coughing, and shortness of breath, to help mitigate the strain on healthcare services by minimizing unnecessary visits to emergency rooms. This public health education initiative also provides self-management, medication adherence support, and chronic disease education to individuals with chronic conditions. The aim is to prevent adverse outcomes related to diabetes, hypertension, and cholesterol that can further strain the health care system during this critical time.