The Charger Blog

Recent Graduate, Adjunct Faculty on Front Line of Coronavirus Pandemic

Ben Hodge ’16, ’19 M.S. juggled extra hours in the lab while he continued to teach and tutor his students remotely, and his work is making a meaningful difference in the fight against COVID-19.

June 1, 2020

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Image of Ben Hodge '16, '19 M.S.
As an undergraduate student, Ben Hodge presented his honors thesis to the University community.

Ben Hodge ’16, ’19 M.S. says his master’s degree in cellular and molecular biology is helping him in ways he never imagined when he graduated from the University of New Haven last spring.

A blood gas technician in the Blood Gas Lab at Yale New Haven Hospital, Hodge is responsible for analyzing and reporting results on blood gas samples, quality control analysis, and maintenance on blood gas analyzers. Although the volume in his lab has increased significantly due to the pandemic, the Yale Virology Lab needed help, so Hodge answered the call.

"I understood the importance of being flexible and helping out in different areas where needed, which has been very important as we navigate changing conditions and needs."Ben Hodge '16, '19 M.S.

Thanks to his background in molecular biology, he has been able to help process samples for a COVID-19 test developed by the lab.

Image of Ben Hodge '16, '19 M.S.
Ben Hodge '16, '19 M.S.

"As a student at the University of New Haven, not only did I learn the theory behind the different techniques that are used in the various tests done in the hospital laboratory, but I also had hands-on experience with many of them in my lab classes," he said. "I understood the importance of being flexible and helping out in different areas where needed, which has been very important as we navigate changing conditions and needs."

Before the pandemic, Hodge, a per diem employee, was working one or two shifts a week. He has now been working full-time hours, as well as overtime. An adjunct faculty in the University’s School of Health Sciences, he continued teaching classes via Zoom and serving as a Center for Learning Resources tutor remotely.

Like other healthcare professionals navigating the ever-changing pandemic, Hodge has continued to adapt amid the pandemic, and he will bring those lessons to the classroom.

"While I have learned so many things from my work at the hospital, the thing that I most want my students to learn from this is that the techniques we teach in class are being used every day in hospital labs to help diagnose and care for patients," he said. "If they learn and understand them during their time at the University, they are already ahead of the curve."

Hodge will continue to help to keep his fellow healthcare providers and patients safe. He urges everyone to continue to practice social distancing, something that, he says, is "our best weapon in the fight against COVID-19."

"My work in the virology lab is very important because it can help guide a patient’s care," he continued. "Knowing that a patient has tested positive for COVID-19 enables the doctors and nurses to make important decisions for their care, and it enables patients to be eligible for some clinical trials. At the same time, when a patient with low suspicion for COVID-19 tests negative, that can provide some peace of mind, as well as enable a reduction in the amount of PPE that is used with that patient, which helps keep all of our healthcare workers safe."