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Alumna profile: Rosie Dutt

How has the COVID-19 outbreak changed the way you work?  

As I am currently on a PhD which has a taught component and a research component - both aspects have been affected. My courses moved online, with lessons being taught via the online platform Zoom. Exams were taken remotely, with the use of a lockdown browser – Respondus. Luckily, my research is all computational, so I have been able to work remotely, however those who are part of wet research labs have had their research/PhD’s grind to a halt. 

What is the biggest challenge about this new way of working, and what has helped overcome this?  

Initially, it was difficult to be stuck at home in one location, however, I decided to move about within my apartment, working in different rooms, and scheduling times to go outdoors for a walk or a run. The biggest challenge is the lack of social interaction during the workday. As an extroverted person who enjoys meeting with others for coffee breaks and lunch, it has been somewhat difficult. However, this feeling was mutual among many course mates and coworkers, so we reverted to virtual meetings throughout the day. 

How are you working to tackle the outbreak in your role?  

I formed a team with 4 other graduate students at Washington University in St Louis and  entered the international Johns Hopkins CBID COVID-19 Design Challenge in March. We were selected to compete alongside 200 teams in a five-day, student run, online design challenge. We were tasked with developing an innovate solution to the problems posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. My team decided to focus on developing a novel walk-by decontamination system to clean PPE, in order to address the lack of PPE/efficient sanitation procedures. 

Alongside international efforts, I have also been involved in the development of a local non-profit organization: St Louis Food Angels, to deliver food to at-risk individuals during the pandemic, including food/grocery deliveries. Here we have partnered with the salvation army, various food hubs and housing authorities to ensure that we are reaching all those in need. 

How did the experience and skills gained at St George’s help prepare you for the current situation?  
My experience at St George’s helped me realise the importance of applying your skills to ensure a tangible difference is made to people’s lives. This is not only true within the field of medicine with patients, but in any field! 

What helps you stay positive during this challenging time?  

During a challenging time, I always try my best to focus on the positives. Given my research is related to the field of Mental Health/Psychiatry, I always ensure I am working to maintain positive mental health. This includes doing activities such as exercising and socializing as well as mentally reframing the situation and accepting the current circumstances. 

Do you have any advice or a message to others working on the front line to keep the public safe?  

My advice to others working on the frontline is to remember that no matter how small of a difference they think they are making, it is a big difference in a cumulative sense; and that everyone is indeed truly grateful! 

What advice would you give to current students who may be about to enter the workplace, or are volunteering, during the outbreak? 

To those who are currently entering the workplace, I would say it is one of the best times to show your passion for the field of medicine and/or public health, and although the process may be daunting – everyone around you wants you to succeed, so stay positive and try your absolute best! 


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