OEH students provide voluntary N95 fit-testing service

Published on September 3, 2021

Seven students from the Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, under the supervision of Professor Renee Anthony, recently volunteered to conduct fit-testing of N95 face filtering respirators for faculty, staff, and students in the College of Public Health. 

closeup of N95 respirator

Over five days, the students – all trainees in the Heartland Center for Occupational Health and Safety – fit-tested and educated 83 people. The students provided respirator education, performed qualitative fit-testing, and kept track of required paperwork all while following COVID-19 distancing and disinfection protocols. 

The students involved were industrial hygiene trainees Rebecca Hertges, Lexi Pratt, Ashley Anderson, Kelsey Strandberg, Hannah White, and Emma Smaellie, along with occupational/injury epidemiology trainee Victor Soupene.

“This service-learning opportunity gave our students a chance to learn and demonstrate basic industrial hygiene skills and the opportunity to develop communication skills needed to explain this process to an audience unfamiliar with requirements for this important PPE,” says Anthony.

Voluntary-use N95s were provided to those in CPH who wanted to wear these respirators during the COVID pandemic, and the fit-testing assured users that what they were wearing would be an effective barrier against the virus causing COVID-19.

“I’m very grateful to these students and to Professor Anthony for volunteering to provide this invaluable service to people in our college,” says CPH Dean Edith Parker. “Not only does this effort highlight the essential skills that public health professionals bring to the COVID-19 response, but it demonstrates how committed people in our college are to protecting the health and safety of everyone, especially the most vulnerable members of our community.”