PAs on the Front Lines: Rick Kilgore Directs Jefferson County Task Force on COVID-19
“Unique opportunity for a PA”
May 7, 2020
James R. (Rick) Kilgore, PhD, PA-C, DFAAPA, a PA Foundation Mental Health Fellow and 2019 William H. Marquardt Community Health Access Fellow, has been chosen to serve on the Jefferson County, Alabama, COVID-19 task force. The Birmingham/Jefferson County, Alabama, metropolitan agencies are responsible for an area of over 1,000 square miles and more than 1.3 million individuals, which is over one-quarter the population of the state.
Dr. Kilgore has been tasked with the position of medical branch director of the task force. His primary responsibilities include overseeing the adequate procurement and distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE) and alternatives to PPE for healthcare facilities, first responder agencies, and high-risk communal living entities. He is overseeing the supply and medical personnel groups, as well as working closely with the medical, non-medical, warehousing, and distribution facilities groups.
“This is a unique opportunity as a PA to play an integral role in the approach to the mitigation and containment of COVID-19. The overall approach to identify, quarantine, and treat drives a lot of our efforts, but the ‘behind the scenes’ work that must be accomplished to achieve those goals is monumental,” says Dr. Kilgore. “PPE, access to testing, special populations such as the homeless, mass feeding, maintaining a comprehensive public information program, and supporting the first responder agencies is a daunting task. This is in addition to the medical facilities surge coordination that is ongoing.”
At a homeless shelter’s health screening clinic and an indigent clinic where he currently sees patients and precepts students, both supported by grant and award funding from the PA Foundation, Dr. Kilgore has already worked with many of the individuals who are serving with him on the COVID-19 task force. “The PA Foundation’s support has afforded me the opportunity to establish relationships that now play an important role in the effort to fight COVID-19,” Dr. Kilgore says.