COVID-19 Work in Progress
Dispatches from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Community
Faculty, students, staff, and alumni from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School have quickly jumped into action to protect health and save lives amid the COVID-19 pandemic. They are conducting research, working on the front lines, and sharing information to help pave the way toward the end of the pandemic.
To share that work in progress, members of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School community are invited to submit short dispatches about their work in the comment form at the bottom of the page. You can read a selection of dispatches on this page.
Submissions must include the following information in the comment section:
- Your affiliation to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (ex: faculty, student, staff, alum)
- A brief description of the work you are doing and the impact it is intended to have
Thank you to everyone working tirelessly to reduce the impact of this pandemic and to help prevent the next one.
Washington, DC 04/09/2020 11:08:36 AM
My team works in policy response to the outbreak, coordinating efforts to respond to requests from the White House, Congress, federal agencies, and media related to how private insurance companies will step up to ensure patients get needed screening and treatment without fear of costs or lack of access.
I also work closely with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Departments of Treasury and Labor to lift policy barriers that would prevent the removal of cost-sharing or flexibility in benefit design across various government programs or high-deductible health plans.
Additionally, my team and I are working with employer, hospital, and physician trade associations to ensure policy solutions will support employers' ability to provide coverage and enable providers delivering care to remain financially viable during this uncertain time.
— Anshu Choudhri, MHS ’02
J. W. “Awori” Hayanga
Morgantown, WV 04/09/2020 11:09:42 AM
I have been actively involved in preparing for and implementing ECMO in critically ill COVID-19 patients in the state of West Virginia.
— J. W. "Awori" Hayanga, MD, MPH ’08
Baltimore, MD 04/09/2020 11:10:55 AM
I help the Johns Hopkins Hospital prepare for the likely intake of initial hospitalized cases in this region for containment purposes and trains hospital staff throughout the state on the concept of identify, isolate, and inform.
I have advocated on Capitol Hill for continued funding in emerging infectious disease preparedness such as COVID-19. During the outbreak, I have also taken on the role of safety officer for intake and internal transport of COVID-19 patients throughout the hospital.
— Chris Sulmonte, MHA ’18
Narita, Chiba, Japan 04/09/2020 11:16:19 AM
In addition to providing on-site patient care, I advise the Japanese Government and multiple Japanese hospitals around infectious disease.
— Harumi Gomi, MD, MPH ’03
Washington, DC/Baltimore, MD 04/09/2020 09:15:18 PM
The Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Mental Health Assessment Working Group is a group of students, post-doctoral Fellows, and faculty, mostly from the JHSPH Department of Mental Health (and collaborators from Columbia University and the University of Maryland) working to ensure that mental health distress is being tracked and measured during the current coronavirus pandemic.
There is a robust literature on how environmental crises, such as SARS or natural disasters, can lead to mental health challenges, including loneliness, acute stress, anxiety, and depression.
Understanding how mental health evolves as a result of this serious global outbreak will inform prevention and treatment strategies moving forward, including allocation of resources to those most in need. Critically, these data can also serve as evidence-based information for public health organizations and the public as a whole. The working group has had success in getting a core set of mental health distress measures on national and international surveys, including by the Pew Research Foundation (https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2020/03/30/people-financially-affected-by-covid-19-outbreak-are-experiencing-more-psychological-distress-than-others/), a large-scale survey being rolled out in the coming days/weeks (https://www.covid-impact.org/project-overview), a survey run by the University of Texas-Tyler, and surveys in Germany, the Netherlands, and Denmark. Emerging collaborations may provide even larger sample sizes and a larger set of countries.
Stay tuned for data tracking and research results coming out soon!
— Dr. Elizabeth Stuart, JHSPH faculty
Sangsang Ren (alum)
Los Angeles, California 04/09/2020 10:52:38 PM
I'm updating COVID-19 column on Phoenix TV's website daily. Link to the column: http://ifengus.com/u/391 Phoenix TV is one of the most influential Chinese media with global coverage. The intended impact is to provide daily evidence-based insights and expert opinions to Chinese viewers.
I also voluntarily translate reports, interviews, and publications from JHSPH, with professors' permissions. I started translating in January, and posted them on Chinese social media. The intended impact is to provide highly valuable information to people impacted by quarantine, and to fight against false information.
— Sangsang Ren, Public Policy, Krieger, 2013
Peter Meisel MSPH '13
New York, New York 04/10/2020 09:07:47 AM
We've been tracking COVID-19 since January and developing guidelines, policies, and protocols for responding to the situation as it relates to the health of fans, players, coaches, and staff, and also working with experts for guidelines and best practices for facilities and mass gatherings.
Our response has always had a public facing component and we've tried to get the message out regarding best practices for limiting exposure and preventing the spread of the virus - whether this was promoting hand washing and respiratory hygiene early on, or more recently, strategies to promote health while staying at home. This work is featured on nba.com here: https://cares.nba.com/coronavirus/
— Peter Meisel, MSPH '13
Renee M. Johnson
Texas 04/10/2020 11:52:36 AM
Renee M. Johnson, PhD, MPH, JHSPH Associate Professor in Mental Health has partnered with Mark Owens, PhD, Assistant Professor at University of Texas at Tyler (JHU, MA, '08) to conduct the “Texas Mental Health Survey.” Dr. Owens leads the Center for Opinion Research at UT Tyler, a survey research center focused on local, regional, and national politics.
The Survey will assess Texas residents’ mental health, behavioral health, health beliefs about COVID-19, and behaviors to prevent transmission. It also includes questions on media consumption and political beliefs, so as to facilitate examining their impact on COVID-related behaviors. It is funded by institutional support from the UT Tyler College of Arts & Sciences and UT Tyler Office of the Provost.
Carey Carpenter Westgate (MPH Candidate)
Charlotte, NC 04/10/2020 06:06:21 PM
I work for the Community Health Impact Coalition (CHIC). We exist to make professionalized community health workers (CHWs) a norm worldwide.
We recognize that CHWs are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response, especially in developing countries already facing a dire shortage of healthcare workers. Our primary focus in this moment is convening dozens of NGOs, policymakers, researchers, and thinkers from all over the world to promote rapid learning and collaboration on CHWs in the COVID-19 response during this unprecedented time.
We are advocating for the needs of CHWs, specifically PPE. Many CHWs are excluded from official quantification estimates despite the critical role they play in delivering primary healthcare services, interrupting transmission of the pandemic, and shielding the most vulnerable from the virus's impacts. We launched a #CHWAdvocates campaign (www.chwadvocates.org) highlighting the crucial role that CHWs play not just during this pandemic response, but also in our broader efforts to make universal healthcare a reality in our lifetime. Check it out and join us!
- Carey Westgate, MPH Candidate
Baltimore, MD 04/10/2020 06:11:08 PM
I am working with the Office of Baltimore City District 1 Councilman Zeke Cohen to create the Baltimore Neighbors Network (BNN). We are a virtual community of trained volunteers offering hope, comfort, and social solidarity for our most vulnerable residents who are isolated without access to emotional support.
We currently have over 300 volunteers as well as pro bono clinicians who will help to address the looming epidemic of loneliness and isolation that COVID-19 will create.
YOU can join our network by going to our website: baltimoreneighborsnetwork.org
WE are the medicine!
— Daniel Ehrenpreis, MPH candidate '20
Md Mahbub Hossain
College Station, Texas 04/10/2020 06:48:53 PM
My team in the Texas A&M School of Public Health has been working on evidence synthesis using the rapidly evolving knowledge base on COVID-19 and translation of those evidence to inform policies and practice.
To date, we have done a global review on how quarantine and isolation have impacted mental health in the past studies (http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3561265). This review aimed to inform effective infection prevention without jeopardizing mental health of the affected individuals and populations.
Another bibliometric study of global research on COVID-19 has been conducted (http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3547824) to assess how the research field is evolving in this pandemic.
These studies (and more in progress) are some examples of how our knowledge and skills continue "protecting health, saving lives- millions at a time."
— Md Mahbub Hossain, MPH '18
Katie Wierenga, MPH '19
Chiang Mai, Thailand 04/10/2020 08:30:44 PM
My NGO works in incredibly remote and underserved areas of Myanmar. We are preparing for COVID-19 at the hospital I manage in Karen State, including policy development and working with area village leaders and villagers on health education. We are also talking with district authorities about the current data available and control measures.
Our teams on the ground are ready to respond in IDP and refugee areas. While there is almost nothing we can do for treatment, they are disseminating public health messaging and addressing secondary concerns of the pandemic like increased malnutrition and increase civil war activity. — Katie Wierenga, MPH '19
Melissa J. Perry, MHS ‘90, ScD ‘93
Washington, DC 04/10/2020 09:03:36 PM
From fielding urgent calls from healthcare and other essential workers advising them on how they can keep themselves and their coworkers protected from SARS CoV-2 infection, to writing blogs, doing local news interviews and filming webinars, we have been contributing to public health outreach and education locally and nationally.
In my lab at George Washington School of Public Health we study various aspects of semen quality and we are evaluating whether SARS CoV-2 can be sexually transmitted as a residual source of infection. We are seeking molecular virologists to partner with us in this laboratory and epidemiological research. — Melissa J. Perry, MHS '90, ScD '93
Baltimore, MD 04/10/2020 09:28:58 PM
I am representing SOURCE (the community engagement and service-learning center) on the Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Health System's COVID-19 Pandemic Anchor Strategy Workgroup. The workgroup is a collective of individuals from across the institutions, working together to support stakeholders within our institutions and our local communities. We're collaborating with Baltimore City Public Schools; Baltimore City Health Department, Mayor's Office; and many community organizations and businesses to organize urgent responses in Baltimore. The workgroup and designated committees have been working around the clock to support our city through a variety of activities, including: setting up a JHU COVID-19 fund; organizing resources and activities for Baltimore City youth and their families; coordinating food distribution; providing updates and resources to community organizations; recruiting volunteers for in-person and virtual engagement opportunities; reviewing requests for assistance and offers of support; and much more.
To stay abreast of the community engagement efforts in Baltimore, be sure to subscribe to our twice weekly SOURCE Service Scoop. Email SOURCE@jhu.edu and type "subscribe" in the subject line. — Mindy Levin, MS, JHSPH Assistant Scientist
Dr.K.Shivakumar Hopkins Alumni 2012
Sudbury , Ontario, Canada 04/11/2020 05:42:13 AM
I work as a clinical psychiatrist and academic researcher at the Health Sciences North and Northern Ontario School of Medicine. The unexpected sudden development of COVID-19 pandemic has brought a significant emotional, physical, social, and financial impact on our most vulnerable mentally ill patients. We work as a group of psychiatrists, providing mental health services for population of approximately 200,000. In addition to providing regular clinical services for patients, our department is also actively involved in resident education, medical students' teaching and providing various psychological counseling. The pandemic has taught us how to restructure the services to accommodate the needs of these patients and making several changes to our out-patient services and inpatient psychiatric provision, providing more invasive treatments like electro-convulsive therapy. We have also changed the way we have been providing teaching and research to our psychiatric residents which was an important part of our department. Finally we have also started to focus more on our own personal mental health which seems to be an important issue during this crisis. — Dr. K. Shivakumar, MPH '12
Sarath M Samarage (Alum)
Colombo, Sri Lanka 04/11/2020 08:58:35 AM
Sarath M. Samarage MBBS, MPH '89, MSc, MD(Community Medicine) Sr. Fellow, has partnered with Ravi Ranna-Eliya, Director Institute for Health Policy in Sri Lanka, who is a physician and economist with degrees in Political Science and Medicine from the University of Cambridge and doctoral training in Health Economics from Harvard University. The Institute for Health Policy www.ihp.lk is an independent research institution, and a regional centre of excellence for health policy research, working on its own, in partnerships and with sponsors, to improve health and social systems in Sri Lanka and the wider region, by supporting, encouraging and informing policy change, through quality research, analysis and training.
We've been tracking COVID-19 in Sri Lanka and providing policy direction for responding to the situation. http://www.ihp.lk/blogs/ravi/
Washington, DC 04/11/2020 12:31:30 PM
At the Public Health Foundation, we developed live searches of COVID-19 training through our TRAIN Learning Network. These trainings are from CDC, WHO, and a variety of other reputable sources.
Topics include PPE; risk communication; non-pharmaceutical interventions; infection control in long-term care facilities; and others.
The most current trainings appear towards the top of each search. The trainings are free as well as establishing a user account on TRAIN. The live searches can be accessed by going to http://www.phf.org/resourcestools/Pages/Coronavirus_Disease_2019_COVID_19_Training.aspx.
Thousands of public health, healthcare, first responder, and other professionals, volunteers, and students are accessing these searches and trainings worldwide. — Ron Bialek, BA '78, MA '84
West Lafayette 04/12/2020 08:01:51 PM
I am Chief Medical Officer with a regional health system including a 190-bed acute care hospital, two critical access hospitals, and a 300-provider multi-specialty group practice in Indiana.
About a month ago we began a formal Incident Command process in preparation for the impending surge of patients. I've been serving in the lead physician role helping to organize, modify and design our surge plan and other aspects of our response. We have quickly changed much of the way we provide care. For example, we've truncated routine outpatient visits, shifted appropriate ones to virtual care environments, and cancelled elective cases in the hospital. Overall volumes are down ~60+ % across the board.
In our ER we have turned the ambulance garage into a 'respiratory fast track' where those who are ambulatory with respiratory complaints can be seen without using an ER bed.
We've connected more closely with skilled-nursing facilities to help them protect their residents, and have partnered with a local respiratory therapy program to use their ventilators should we run out of our inventory.
I've practiced my public health communication skills serving as our organization's lead spokesperson for media requests, and participating in the Health Department's weekly press conferences.
We are developing a process to allow for visitors to have a chaperoned visit to the bedside of a loved-one with COVID-19 at end of life. Initially we had banned any visitors, but with a sense that the surge is being curtailed through effective social distancing in our region, and a currently reliable PPE supply, we are establishing a process to allow for brief visits during these times of significant agony.
I've hosted a daily 'all medical staff' 5 PM webinar providing an update on the pandemic and our local experience and response. Though voluntary, we have a good turnout of colleagues and administrative leaders. It has been a successful way to keep efforts and realities transparent, and has helped our distributed team stay connected.
Hoping that we have achieved our goal of being over-prepared, but not yet confident of that.
Thinking about all who are even closer to the front line in communities and countries where the impact is greater. — Jim Bien, MD, MPH candidate, '20
Yoonjoung “YJ” Choi, DrPH ’04, MPH ’99
South Korea, Maryland 04/13/2020 11:44:12 AM
I have shared demographic analyses and visualization of latest COVID-19 epidemiological data for South Korea and Maryland. My South Korean data update provides information in a country with a consistent trace-test-isolate strategy from the outset of the epidemic. In Maryland, I focus on disaggregated data by county and demographic background.
South Korea: https://rpubs.com/YJ_Choi/COVID19_SouthKorea Maryland: https://rpubs.com/YJ_Choi/COVID19_MD
— Yoonjoung "YJ" Choi, DrPH '04, MPH '99
Madeline Gray MSPH '17
New York, NY 04/13/2020 03:47:09 PM
I work in a large NYC hospital system in public mental health and crisis response, and am currently redeployed to implement "mental health PPE" programs to our hardest hit COVID-19 treatment units, proactively providing mental health support to all staff on these units (including support staff like janitorial, transport, etc) as well as a 24/7 staffed crisis response line for any acute or adverse events on the unit that require additional psychosocial support.
I'm thrilled to say we mobilized the behavioral health workforce to staff these units and crisis lines in teams of 2-3 to provide mental health support to our frontline providers.
While COVID-19 is certain to have an enormous mental health impact throughout our communities, I am extremely grateful to be able to be part of the response to support our frontline providers and help build their resilience as they provide critical care under immense distress. — Madeline Gray, MPH '17
Little Rock, AR 04/14/2020 11:35:57 AM
Ben Amick, PhD '87, is Associate Dean for Research and Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Fay W. Boozman College of Public Health. He is currently running several public health call centers and is busy preparing for an increase in cases there.
Greg Bledsoe, MPH '04
Little Rock, AR 04/16/2020 09:01:56 AM
I am the surgeon general for the state of Arkansas, and have been asked by our governor to serve on the newly-formed Medical Advisory Committee for Post-Peak COVID-19 Response regarding the state's public health strategy as we move forward. Additionally, I have been asked to serve as vice chair of the steering committee that will oversee distribution of CARES federal funding in Arkansas. — Greg Bledsoe, MPH '04
Md Zabir Hasan
Baltimore, MD 04/17/2020 12:32:01 PM
I earned my PhD in international health in 2019 and work as an associate in the Department of International Health, providing analytical support to several international research projects. In collaboration with colleagues Gulam Muhammed Al Kibria and Tasmeer Alam, we are evaluating current as well as emerging published scientific literature on the clinical feature and management recommendations for pregnant women with COVID-19.
The scoping review is currently under the review process in Global Health Research and Policy. The preprint version is available here:
Md Zabir Hasan, Gulam Muhammed Al Kibria, Tasmeer Alam et al. Pregnancy during the evolving pandemic Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): A rapid scoping review of evidence in the published literature, 16 April 2020, PREPRINT (Version 1) available at Research Square [+https://doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-23407/v1+]
Link: https://www.researchsquare.com/article/rs-23407/v1 — Md Zabir Hasan, PhD'19, MPH, MBBS
Kanak Vyas, current MHA student
Baltimore, MD 04/17/2020 02:13:57 PM
I am a second year MHA student at JHSPH and a full time administrative resident with the Johns Hopkins Department of Medicine (DOM) at Bayview, now serving as the Logistics Chief in the DOM Incident Command Center response to COVID-19.
My job is to ensure providers are equipped with the right protective gear, supplies, and access – especially as many are being called to serve on inpatient COVID units. I coordinate distribution of personal protective packs (which include a surgical mask, storage bags for masks, a face shield, hand sanitizer, fanny pack, and marker) to both DOM clinical and non-clinical staff. I track N95 fit testing and am the DOM providers' point of contact for scrub access, PAPR hoods, and swipe access to hospital units at Bayview.
Before a provider starts on COVID service, I ensure they receive orientation materials such as an Inpatient Attending Guide – as many are on inpatient service after a long absence. — Kanak Vyas, current MHA student
Jason Fields, PhD, MPH
Washington, DC 04/20/2020 10:52:44 PM
I am fortunate to lead and coordinate an inter-agency effort to develop content for a rapid response COVID-19 survey to be fielded by the Census Bureau.
The Census Bureau has developed the Household Pulse survey platform as an experimental endeavor in cooperation with five other federal agencies. Testing this platform during the COVID-19 epidemic will allow the federal statistical systems to demonstrate proof of concept with respect to the household pulse survey platform by providing states with weekly data about the health, social, and economic characteristics of the population. Changes in these measures over time and geography will provide insight into the scope of the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic in the US. It is critical to have the ability to understand how individuals are experiencing business curtailment and closures, stay-at-home orders, school closures, changes in the availability of consumer goods and consumer patterns, and other abrupt and significant changes to American life. This experimental survey is designed to supplement the ability of the federal statistical system to rapidly respond and provide salient information based on a high quality sample frame, data integration, and cooperative expertise. Question domains contributed by the Census Bureau (Census), Economic Research Service (ERS), Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), and the Department of Housing (HUD) seek to measure employment status, consumer spending, food security, housing, education disruptions, and dimensions of physical and mental wellness. Many of the questions that will be asked on this survey have been fielded on other surveys in the past. However there are also some new questions, designed to explore potential impacts associated with the COVID-19 epidemic response. — Jason Fields, PhD '99, MPH '93
Baltimore, MD 04/21/2020 09:13:56 PM
Native American people are at elevated risk for the new coronavirus due to manifold circumstances including poverty, dense living quarters, underlying health conditions, and a lack of running water in some rural communities.
To respond, I and colleagues at the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health are working with federal agencies to produce a suite of public-facing information resources for Native American communities. We're writing radio scripts, drafting factsheets—for example for frontline health workers dealing with understandable anxiety about the virus—and producing social media toolkits imploring millennials to stay home. One of our factsheets shares ideas on how to practice traditional medicine at a distance with an illustration of burning sage and a medicine man on a video call. — Rose Weeks, MPH '11, Director of Communications, Center for American Indian Health
Cindy Nelly DNP, APRN/CNM (MAS Humanitarian Health Candidate)
NYC 05/04/2020 09:56:50 AM
I am an APRN working as Project Manager for AMI at MSBI and other locations. Responding with rapid deployment health care teams domestically and internationally. Front line in NYC, working in California assisted care facilities, and ACS sites in partnership with state and federal government. Lessons learned will be far-reaching as we begin to look ahead. — Cindy Nelly, DNP, APRN/CNM, incoming student, Fall 2020
Richard Brooks, PhD, BA '79
Clemson, SC 05/11/2020 09:00:01 PM
I am part of a team working with the Medical University of South Carolina to field an app for personal contact tracing of contact with COVID-19 positive individuals in the state of South Carolina. — Richard Brooks, PhD, WSE BA '79
Baltimore 05/26/2020 07:22:58 PM
I work at the state health department as part of the team responding to the COVID-19 outbreak statewide. We coordinate the financial, logistical, operational, and planning aspects of the response: procuring and delivering PPE to local health departments and testing sites; providing the most current information to the public through our call center; implementing an army of volunteer responders; daily hospital surveillance; and the development of relevant health policy. True public health work! — Carly Babcock, MSPH '17
Sangeeta Mishra, MD MPH 09
Biratnagar, Nepal 05/26/2020 10:41:04 PM
I work as Medical Superintendent of Koshi Hospital, which is the biggest government hospital in eastern Nepal. In late February, our hospital started its response to the COVID-19 crisis with domestic production of hand sanitizers and local production of PPE and masks for health care staff due to the acute shortage in the market. We also renovated an old building, converting it to a well-equipped COVID-care hospital. This was done with the intention of separating COVID-19 patients from the non-COVID-19 patients thereby minimizing the risk of cross infection among patients and health care staff as well as to provide general health facilities to other people, most of whom are from lower socioeconomic groups. To date, Koshi Hospital is the only hospital in Nepal which is providing care to both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients. During the past two months of national lockdown, we have admitted and treated 61 COVID-19 patients, while providing care to more than 14,000 people and more than 600 deliveries. We have also started PCR laboratory for COVID-19 and almost 2400 tests have been done as of May 26. More information on our work can be found at our website www.koshihospital.gov.np. The media links are mostly in Nepali, but can be translated to English with Google Translate if required. — Sangeeta Mishra, MD, MPH'09