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Mental Health

COVID-19 Updates DMH

Monday April 6, 2020

Dear DMH family,

We made it to week 3 of the 4th term! And we had some pretty decent weather this past weekend, so I hope you were all able to enjoy a stroll, a run, a hike, a bike ride, or some other form of fresh air. I have heard some great stories of community and socializing in the last few weeks as well – virtual game/trivia nights, bingo, drawing classes, and religious gatherings. I even led a children’s sermon from my living room! Many of us find comfort in religion, spirituality, and community in times of crisis and isolation. If you are interested in finding out more about available virtual religious services, volunteer opportunities, or other religious events, particularly as several holidays approach this week, check out the attached resources put together by the COVID Mental Health Task Force.

Below are some new updates to begin the week:

For fun: I watched two things today that made me smile, so sharing with you: This sweet gesture that shows the importance of community and the benefits not only for this young woman, but also for the community that came out to support her. And this awesome family video that made me think maybe we should have a DMH quarantine dance challenge?

Education: I know graduating students are eager to hear about plans for graduation ceremonies. The School has been working on a plan and will be sending out information this week. Patty Scott and your program directors (Judy Bass or Jeanine Parisi) will then be in touch to follow up with details. We also hope to plan some DMH-specific graduation virtual events, so stay tuned!

Research: A reminder that NIH grant applications for due dates between March 9, 2020, and May 1, 2020 will now be accepted through May 1, 2020. For details click here and here.

Also, you received an email from Greg Kirk, Vice Dean for Research, regarding COVID-related research activities. He pointed to the University’s Research Response, which includes 9 program areas (Community Research, Diagnostics, Health Worker Protection, Host Pathogenesis, Medical Supply Innovation, Modeling and Policy, Therapeutics, Viral Genetics, and Viral Immunopathogenesis) and a Clinical Research Core. On the HUB website, there is an intake form to indicate your interest in joining one of these research response groups. This Community Research subgroup is working to facilitate measurement of the impact of COVID-19 among ongoing studies of diverse populations in the US and internationally. Please complete the linked survey if you’re interested in joining this effort and/or sharing your survey instruments.

The School is continually updating resources for investigators as they transition to remote data collection; navigate IRB amendments; and consider applying for a competitive revision of an existing grant to study COVID-19. Please regularly visit both the University HUB research site and the JHSPH IRB site for frequently updated research response materials.

Faculty development: Keshia Pollack-Porter, Vice Dean for Faculty, sent out an email providing a FAQ for faculty answering questions regarding scholarship, professional development, and teaching in light of COVID-19. These are available on the my.jhsph share drive. There was also an email from Provost Kumar, followed by one from Dr. Pollack-Porter, indicating there will be an extension of the promotion clock in consideration of COVID disruptions. All current tenure-track assistant and associate professors whose portfolios have not been submitted by the Dean to the School’s Appointments and Promotion Committee as of March 1, 2020, will automatically receive a total of one additional year factored into their promotion timeline.

Email overload? I recognize how many emails you are getting. If you feel overwhelmed, don’t worry. The school emails are here, and these department emails are here.

How can you contribute? As I mentioned in the last update, if you would like to send in a picture of yourself with a statement of how you are managing mental health, or a video about this, please let me know. We are planning a campaign to promote mental health and wellbeing and would love to have you in it! Also, if you would like to write an op-ed or participate in a Q&A on mental or behavioral health during this pandemic, please reach out.

I hope you are all holding up. Please continue to send any questions or concerns to me. We are eager to help in whatever ways we can. I also want to continue to thank all of you for your hard work, flexibility, and resilience. This is not easy, but I have seen so many amazing and uplifting activities in the past few weeks that keep me hopeful for our future and grateful for the field of public health, and public mental health.

Have a great week,


Past Updates:
Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Friday, March 27, 2020
Monday, March 23, 2020
Friday, March 20, 2020
Monday, March 16, 2020
Friday, March 13, 2020 
Tuesday, March 10, 2020