Eccleston ’20M Interns with Chester County COVID Testing Sites

By Caitlin Burns | August 5, 2020
Eccleston in front of the Chester County Health Department sign

Arcadia University Public Health major Allie Eccleston ’20M is ensuring COVID-19 tests are handled with the utmost care at testing sites with the Chester County Health Department. 

Since May, Eccleston has been working at mobile testing sites across the county for her final program internship. She works as an administrator overseeing the “chain of custody” for completed tests and maintaining the samples until taken back to the county for processing.

“I like working with the ‘point of dispensing’ (POD) model because it’s mobile, flexible, and you can adapt really easily,” said Eccleston. “It has been exciting to learn and work with, because basically the whole site is in the back of one county vehicle, and you unpack it, run it for five or six hours, and take it back.”

The POD model enables the health department to run testing sites across Chester County. This model is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to quickly and effectively distribute mass testing or vaccinations in order to “prevent, mitigate, or treat adverse health effects.” 

“As Public Health professionals, we have these great ideas and ambitions of what we want to accomplish in our communities and in the world, but working [at the health department] shows me the more realistic stepping stones,” said Eccleston. “There’s a lot of work and labor that goes into just accomplishing one stepping stone that provides a way to that larger vision.”

Eccleston earned a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Millersville University in 2016. As an undergraduate student, she had considered several career paths until enrolling in Associate Professor of Sociology Dr. Carrie Lee Smith’s course about the sociology of health while at Millersville. 

“The course was looking at the larger framework of healthcare and how it impacts individuals and their health outcomes, rather than looking at an individual person and telling them this is what you did wrong,” said Eccleston. “That was really the time when I started looking at public health as a career option.”