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All in This Together — A Note of Encouragement During COVID-19 Crisis

Published on April 3, 2020 in Cornerstone Blog · Last updated 1 month ago


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Andrew Steenhoff, MBBCh, DCH, FAAP, medical director of the Global Health Center at CHOP, shares advice for doing our part to ensure a safe future for children and communities, in light of COVID-19.

Editor’s Note: Andrew Steenhoff, MBBCh, DCH, FAAP, is medical director of our Global Health Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and a global health advocate for children. In light of the impact novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has had on so many aspects of our lives, Dr. Steenhoff shares advice for doing our part to ensure a healthy, safe future for children and their communities. This Guest Blog originally appeared in a CHOP Global Health eNewsletter.

COVID-19 has upended our daily routines and many plans we may have had for the next few months. Meanwhile, we are all faced with competing demands on our time and attention, having to fulfill our roles as health providers, caregivers for our loved ones, and being there for our families, friends, and colleagues.

COVID-19 is testing and changing many of the ways that we live, work, and interact with one another. However, it has also revealed the incredibly resilient spirit among all of us in the global health community. The calls, texts, and emails I have exchanged over the last few weeks have reminded me how fortunate I am to work in global health.

Our community, perhaps more than any other, understands how interconnected we are in the world, and how working together is the answer to successfully preventing, treating, and developing a cure for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Therefore, this is our time to serve as beacons of hope, embracing openness, and continuing to learn from the diversity of cultures and experiences that enrich and inform our very best work.

Below are several steps we can all take to ensure that we live up to our commitment to improve the health of all children and their communities, including their grandparents and older relatives, worldwide:

  • We need to flatten the curve through social distancing as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Fortunately, we live in a time when technology allows many of us to stay in touch with our loved ones and each other despite being physically apart.
  • We must protect all frontline health workers, which requires us to think creatively about how we deliver care and how we use clinical resources and supplies, including personal protective equipment like masks, gowns, and eye protection.
  • We must continue to provide accurate scientific information to our communities. Below are a few resources that I have found helpful in staying up-to-date with the most scientifically sound recommendations: Flattening the Curve and Social Distancing, Protecting Health Workers, and strategies to optimize the supply of N95 respirators and patient management.
  • Lastly, let’s be compassionate with ourselves and others. We are running a marathon here and not a sprint. Consider taking a few minutes to listen to “How to be your best self in times of crisis” TED talk by Susan David. It is superb.

Across the world, we are all in this together – let’s stay connected, look for opportunities to be kind to one another, and encourage each other for the benefit of our patients – and because running a marathon is tough. I ran the Philly marathon a few years ago, and my fellow runners and the crowds helped me finish!

If we at the CHOP Global Health Center can be a resource to you, do not hesitate to reach out via globalhealthcenter [at] (email)title="Email Global Health Center". Thank you for your resilience – let your global health skills shine in the days and weeks ahead as you serve as a beacon of hope to those around you.

Stay healthy and safe.