Rapid Response for Covid -19 Pandemic: A School-Based Vaccination Clinic Model Developed by Medical Students from UCC

David Rivera, PhD
Universidad Central del Caribe

Dr. David E. Rivera-Aponte currently possesses a B.S. in natural sciences with a major in Biology, a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences with a major in Cellular and Molecular Sciences, and a Post Certificate training in Clinical Research Coordinator.  

His research is in Neurosciences and Biochemistry. He is an active member of the Glial Research Center at Universidad Central del Caribe (UCC) who specializes in glia cell biology research, and it is headed by Dr. Serguei Skatchkove and Dr. Misty Eaton. His team is interested in understanding how uncontrolled levels of glucose alter astrocytes normal function hence producing impairments in the central nervous system. Dr. Rivera-Aponte currently has 11 publications, with one active grant from PR-INBRE, and collaborates with two other grants from NIH. 

 In 2020, Dr. Rivera-Aponte actively worked as a volunteer at the COVID-19 UCC-vaccination clinic where his roles were: receiving vaccines, dose preparation, preparing the vaccinee lots with supplies for other centers, educating the community to reduce vaccination hesitancy and mentoring medical students in different project areas. Two main projects from the COVID-19 vaccination clinic were develop under the mentorship of Dr. Rivera-Aponte, Dr. Waleska Crespo, Dr. Harry Mercado, and Dr. Jose Capriles: 1) Education program 2) Molecular Epidemiology Surveillance. He received the Major General Honor Medal awarded by the Major Jose Reyes of the Puerto Rico National Guard for his integrity, courage, loyalty, duty, respect, and selfless services during the COVID-19 vaccination effort.  

 Currently, Dr. Rivera-Aponte is an Assistant Professor/Researcher from the Department of Biochemistry, Second Year Medical Curriculum Director, and the RISE Program Coordinator for the graduate program. He also Co-coordinates the Biochemistry and Cell Biology Course for MD program at UCC.