Honors College Student Developing Vaccination Tracking Application | UTSA today | UTSA


OCTOBER 2, 2020 – Being a member of Honors College has many advantages. One of these benefits is access to special development funding to work on projects and pursue academic interests outside of school.

Senior College Honors and Top Scholar Nathalie Malluru took this funding and used it to create a new app for smart devices that will allow patients to track their own immunization records as well as the immunization records of their family members. The app, Pocket Vax, is available on the Google Play and Apple App stores.

Pocket Vax uses information from the US Centers for Disease Control website to advise users when to renew vaccinations. It offers users reliable sources of information combined with the convenience of hosting medical records on their phones. Malluru initially believed that Pocket Vax would be limited to use in the United States, but only a month after its launch, she was contacted by a nonprofit in Nigeria who wanted to use it for their vaccination campaigns. The two parties are currently in talks to take the source code for the application and adapt the information to local conditions.

“She has carefully designed her time at UTSA to develop and optimize her experiences in ways that help her make a significant impact on the world.”

Malluru received funding from the Carlos and Malú Alvarez Special Opportunities Fund. The fund was created with a generous grant from donors and funds $ 10,000 annually for students to engage in special educational experiences that they would not normally have access to. Examples of past experiences include traveling to a professional conference to present an article, attend a specialist training workshop, or participate in an unpaid internship experience.

According to Drew Chapman, Director of Competitive Awards and Scholarships at UTSA Honors College, Malluru’s app is a testament to what is possible when you provide a talented student with the funding to support them in their activities.

“When we read Natalie’s funding request,” he said, “we knew this was a perfect project for the Alvarez Prize. We know the Alvarez family will be proud of Natalie’s accomplishments and creative approach to solving pressing global issues.

As a major in public health with a minor in computer science, Malluru’s effort to design Pocket Vax is just one of many companies that have led her to bring her two fields of study together.

As an Archer Fellow, she interned in the Office of the National Coordinator, a division of the US Department of Health and Human Services. Although Malluru’s stay in Washington, DC was cut short by the pandemic, she worked with CDC employees to help create a standardized procedure that orchestrates the exchange of health information during public health crises.

She also helped design decision tables and translated existing guidance on COVID-19, electronic health record risk assessment, and public health management decision making.

Returning to UTSA, Malluru takes advantage of this experience and pursues an undergraduate thesis with specialization under the supervision of Eddie Hernandez, Assistant Professor of Practice in the Department of Biology. His thesis is titled “Opportunities and Challenges in Using Electronic Health Records to Provide Clinicians with Situational Awareness in Public Health”.

When asked how his internship at the Department of Health and Human Services helped drive the creation of this app, Malluru said, “One of the first jobs I was given as an intern was was to draft a bill on 21st century cures. Thanks to this experience, I learned how this policy promotes medical innovation by allowing patients to have complete autonomy in their health record thanks to modern software applications. Inspired by the political work I was doing in this internship, I decided to create an application based on health record keeping. Pocket Vax helps communities strengthen their health record keeping and promotes health literacy by providing comprehensive, easy-to-digest information about vaccines.

As she enters her final year at UTSA, Malluru applied to top medical schools in the United States. In her applications, she is likely to stand out from other applicants, as she has developed an area of ​​expertise in understanding healthcare administration in addition to engaging in traditional pre-medical experiences, such as research and observation.

“My experiences cemented my desire to become a physician who values ​​holistic care and empowers patients to take responsibility for their long-term health. I believe that my experience in clinical care will also allow me to contribute to health information technology policy, ”Malluru said.

Apart from his work in Pocket Vax, Malluru’s accomplishments also include starting the UTSA chapter of the Thirst Project, an organization whose mission is to raise awareness of global water issues, to conduct research in Edouard Golobfrom the Neuropsychology Laboratory, and intern with an audiologist in Scotland during a study abroad program.

Malluru is a high performing and exceptional student, according to Kristi Meyer, Top Scholars Program Director: “Natalie is a consistent director with exceptional aptitude, nascent leadership skills, healthy curiosity and a commitment to making the world a better place. She has carefully designed her time at UTSA to develop and optimize her experiences in a way that helps her make a profound impact on the world around her.

Malluru will continue to work on her computer science minor by working with UTSA seniors in their software design team, who will collaborate to deliver a product to the Defense Health Agency. This opportunity was hosted as part of an emerging relationship between Honors College, the Department of Computer Science and the School of Data Science.

By providing students with excellent learning and funding opportunities, Honors College hopes to accelerate student success, encourage students to take risks and step out of the confines of their academic major through experiential opportunities, and leverage the making the most of their very high level of potential. .

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