Behind the scenes at #DoYourPartMason


Lisa Park
Executive Director, Student Health Services

Lisa Park is executive director of Student Health Services at George Mason University

Lisa Park laughed when asked what keeps her busy during a typical day.

“Meetings,” she said laughing. “A lot of meetings about processes that affect the whole university and processes that affect student health and the clinical care we provide to students.”

Park wasn’t kidding.

She has six meetings a week with the outbreak mitigation team, including three with the Fairfax County Health Department to pinpoint trends or clusters of outbreaks.

There are meetings about diagnostic and surveillance testing strategy, and quarantine and isolation, as well as clinical meetings concerning continually evolving scientific evidence around COVID care and applying those changes at Student Health Services and university-wide.

“It’s pretty complex in terms of figuring out what strategy to have based on scientific evidence, medical evidence and public health guidance, and then figuring out how that affects students, how it will be operationalized at the university level,” Park said.

Park is coordinating the planning for diagnostic testing in the spring semester.

“Testing is one piece of containing the virus,” Park said. “Getting a sample from a patient is one step—you have to be able to get the test results through IT infrastructure. They have to be accurate—that’s the lab. You have to be able to communicate the test results to the patient, to the health department, to housing if there are residential students so they can be isolated, and close contacts quarantined. So there are many more pieces to managing COVID than just testing, and so many hardworking people involved for each test.” 

The most important factor this fall, Park said, has been buy-in from the Mason community.

“I’ve said from the beginning, this pandemic is really driven by people’s behavior,” she said. “I think that Mason, especially students and staff, have been great at following those behavior precautions. And that is what has kept us pretty safe at Mason.”