Georgia graduate honored at the White House for contact tracing work

Friday, May 22, 2020

Dr. Rebecca DeCarlo is one of 20 people that are invited to the White House for an exclusive event. (Source: WRDW)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Rebecca DeCarlo, a 2020 graduate of the Medical College of Georgia at AU is being honored at the White House. She's one of only 20 students in the whole country taking part in President Donald Trump's exclusive event.

Making phone calls is pretty much how Dr. Rebecca DeCarlo spent the last few months of medical school.

"There were plenty of days that we'd make 100 phone calls a day," DeCarlo, said.

Those were important calls. She was a COVID-19 contact tracer, which brings us to an important call she recently received.

"So would you be interested in going to the White House, and I was like, absolutely I would," DeCarlo said.

Trump wanted to specifically honor graduates who played a big part in the country's COVID-19 response.

"I'm really still just even more than I'm nervous and just in disbelief that this is happening," DeCarlo said.

Lately, it feels we've all been in disbelief as virtually everything has gone virtual.

The Medical College of Georgia had to cancel hooding and commencement activities so Dr. DeCarlo's parents never got to watch her graduate medical school. But they'll be with her today.

"I'm excited to see my parents, and just even be able to do that that the White House which is incredible. I just can't stop smiling," DeCarlo said.

She also hasn't stopped working. After COVID-19 pulled her and her fellow medical students from their rotations, she wanted to help.

Aside from actually making the calls, she helped write the contact tracing training manual used at the Georgia Coastal Public Health Department, adapted for statewide use.

This isn't even her specialty. She's about to be the first female neurosurgery resident at Atrium Health, Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte.

"I actually just moved last weekend, so I'm barely unpacked, and kind of had to leave for this trip, which was still, which was very cool," DeCarlo said.

She's also an artist, which she says actually helps her in the operating room.

"Everything that I loved about medicine came together in neurosurgery, and here we are," DeCarlo said.

It's a sign of the times for sure, but then again the neurosurgeon resident kind of wrote the book in Georgia on this kind of thing.

DeCarlo wants to remind you that contact tracers will never ask for your Social security number or bank account info. They do need your date of birth, address, and email so they can send you updates and information.

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