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Public Health Preparedness graduate’s job: Getting protective equipment to agencies during the pandemic

Penn State alumna Luci Labriola-Cuffe said she could hear the desperation in the voices of the people calling her for personal protective equipment.

They needed masks and goggles at the hospitals. The nurses at the nursing homes needed the same. Funeral directors needed body bags.

Since March, Labriola-Cuffe has worked on supply logistics for the Westchester County Department of Emergency Services in New York as it responds to the COVID-19 pandemic. Her job is to help get PPE supplies to the 400 agencies and organizations in the county that need them.

Labriola-Cuffe also saw the disaster response from another perspective – as a student studying public health preparedness. Through Penn State World Campus, she was working on her master’s degree online and graduated May 9.

“I love helping people. I always have – it’s just something in my blood,” Labriola-Cuffe said. “I feel if we didn’t come in to work, people would suffer.”

Labriola-Cuffe worked in hospitals for 12 years after she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in exercise and sport science from Penn State in 1996. She also had suited up as an EMT and firefighter and eventually decided to work full time in emergency services.

For the past three years, Labriola-Cuffe was enrolled in Penn State’s master’s degree program in homeland security, with the double option in counterterrorism and public health preparedness. It’s offered online through World Campus and taught by Penn State faculty from the College of Medicine in Hershey and Penn State Harrisburg.

Read more about her efforts in this Penn State News story.

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