UT Health San Antonio’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic requires a coordinated, cross-departmental effort to run smoothly. Groups from the School of Nursing, Environmental Health and Safety, Facilities Management, Room Scheduling and UT Health San Antonio Police work together to facilitate the state designated vaccine hub.

But when vaccine eligibility opened up to more of the public, additional volunteers were needed to manage crowds and provide wheelchair assistance in the outdoor area surrounding the clinic, which is held in the Hurd Auditorium in the School of Nursing.

Cindi Adcock, community engagement and special projects coordinator in the Office of the President and volunteer coordinator for the COVID-19 vaccine clinic, had no trouble recruiting volunteers, with more than 500 staff, faculty and students registered to date.

“This community is so generous with their time,” Adcock said. “The faculty, staff and students all have such a commitment to service, and they always step up when I ask for volunteers.”

But the high volume of patients needing wheelchair assistance, along with the unlevel grounds surrounding the clinic, posed a challenge. Pushing patients in wheelchairs became a labor-intensive duty for the volunteers during their three-hour shifts. Adcock said she felt appreciative for all the volunteers, but for their safety she wanted to find a team of people that would be well-suited for the physical demands.

A team from the Department of Materials Management, already accustomed to transporting large boxes of supplies across campus, were a perfect solution. And they stepped up to take on the challenge.

“I’m really grateful to them for taking on that responsibility,” Adcock said, “And to see how gentle and kind they are with the older patients, they’ve really taken on the role of caretakers” she said, noting how the team goes above and beyond their duties by taking the time to get to know the patients while they wait, and ease their concerns about the vaccines if they’re apprehensive.


Materials management team. Left to right: Joe Vitela, Jared Aleman, Charles Jones, Evan Luna, Anthony Segura, Matthew Gibson, Jarrod Fischer, Jacob Gamboa, Salvador Torres. Not pictured: Manual Saldivar, Derrick Wilson, David Reina, Eddie DeLeon

Since the end of January, Materials Management has taken the lead on assisting patients in and out of wheelchairs, pushing them through the lines and clearing away wheelchairs from the clinic site each day.

“It’s quite different from our regular work,” said Matthew Gibson, lead materials management clerk. “A box is very different than a person, so there’s more joy in helping someone than just delivering medical or office supplies.”

Materials management clerk Anthony Segura agreed, stating that he has had “a blast” talking and joking with all the patients, sometimes even getting marriage proposals from the older women who are appreciative of the comfort and conversation he provides.

“We have fun talking to them and they enjoy it,” Segura said. “They’re coming from senior living homes and a lot of them don’t have anybody to talk to, and I talk their ears off because I love to talk. It’s been a wonderful experience just being able to be there for them and let them know we care. It’s all about helping people.”