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Review: Equinox Takes Luxe Fitness Into The Wild at Their First Outdoor Gym in LA – InsideHook

Posted: September 30, 2020 at 4:59 pm

Theres something calming about the Century City mall. Already a hot-spot for luxury-ticket items like Next Healths trendy Cryotherapy and Vitamin IVs, or, at the other end of the spectrum, Eatalys multi-story Italian decadence, the shopping center has recently become home to another one-of-a-kind offering: Equinoxs first ever completely outdoor fitness club. Officially opening its doors to the public in late September, the club was already bustling when I visited late last week.

Dubbed Equinox+ In The Wild, the 27,000-square-foot outdoor gym is equipped with the same level of hospitality and attention to detail that the indoor clubs offered in a pre-pandemic world, and it might be the solution for staying in shape and preserving community while indoor fitness remains risky. Between views of the L.A. skyline and the added bonus of working out in the sunshine, this new club is a win-win at least for Angelenos. An outdoor option is less tenable for cities like New York, Toronto or London, especially as winter approaches, but here in L.A., where indoor-outdoor living has always been part of the culture, embracing In The Wild is a no-brainer.

When people come up here to do their first workout, theyre like, Oh my God, this is awesome! laughed Jack Gannon, Equinoxs Senior Vice President for the West Coast. Theyre so excited to be outside with the views, and the air, and to just not be in their own apartment. This has been an adventure and we put this together in about three weeks so from an operations standpoint it was challenging. Weve even rearranged the club four or five times as we learned member behavior.

Working out in the open air.


Gannon is right: the new outdoor club is not only impressive, its completely unexpected. On the top floor of the malls parking structure, a back corner lot has been completely re-imagined from drab gray concrete into a sleek, turf-covered paradise, complete with a full selection of cardio machines, weights, dedicated class space and plenty of room for distanced free weights, TRX, yoga, stretching and more. For destination members who are already familiar with this Equinox location, the shift is fairly easy: simply head up two more floors from the regular third-floor entrance to the fifth floor, then turn left to find the new outdoor space.

Entering the terrace build-out feels like an event itself, with temporary silver rails and a logo-covered backdrop to direct visitors to the gyms check-in desk, where all guests have their temperature taken and sign a waiver indicating theyve had no known contact with anyone with symptoms of COVID-19. Masks are required to enter, but per Californias guidelines, as long as there are eight feet or more of distance, people can safely remove their masks while working out. To that end, all cardio machines are safely spaced eight feet apart to allow for non-masked use, and as long as social distance is in place, weight lifting and other strength-building workouts can also be performed without masks.

Visiting the gym on a particularly sunny day last week, I was pleasantly surprised by just how much space there was to workout freely. Soldiering my way through a 45-minute workout curated by Equinoxs Regional Personal Training Manager, Annie Blackford, I squatted, planked and lunged my way through multiple sets without anyone outside our group coming within 10 feet of us and the gym was plenty full when I was there, too. Even during my brief visit, I saw equipment being sanitized and wiped down all throughout the space, and since opening the space, Equinox has begun using medical-grade disinfectant on everything. As the Regional Director of Group Fitness for Equinox, Stephanie Vitorino is confident that bringing people together at the outdoor club is safe not only for guests taking classes, but also for herself and her coworkers in their workplace. And there is something special about coming back together after six months of isolation.

Weve worked with health experts and created a task force that implemented guidelines for cleaning, social-distancing and safety protocols as well as mandatory health screenings, Vitorino explained. Im extremely confident in how our brand is protecting the safety of our members and teams. And since Into The Wild is centrally located in the heart of Los Angeles, were seeing members come together from many different clubs. Reuniting with people they havent seen in months is bringing so much joy and a sense of belonging.

When I was visiting, even members who had clearly come to workout together were respectfully holding space from each other, and the overall setup of the gym made that easy. Divided into several different sections, there was no chance that a speed workout would run over into the cardio section, or that a midday class might crowd out strength training. And as much as there is room to be separate at the outdoor club, Gannon reiterates that the companys core focus on community remains the same.

We are definitely community-based, and the company has evolved so much around that over the last several years, Gannon said. Weve been open under a week here, and so much of the community hasnt seen each other in six months. Its so interesting to see people run into each other and watch this reunion take place and then two days later theyre showing up together. So that community is starting to build again as weve opened this opportunity. Especially in the times were in, people need that more than ever before.

All the space you might need for a great workout.


Joining Equinox can be a spendy endeavor, but like plenty of other brands, the company has shifted with the times to increase accessibility when it comes to budget. Currently, membership tiers all range in the $200-$300/month range, with single-club memberships in Los Angeles on average around $220, a regional Southern California option at $245, and global club access at $305 per month. Right now, the pricey $300 initiation fee has also been waived, and the month of October is free. That offer is good through September 30, so if an outdoor gym is calling your name for the fall, now is the time to act.

Like most gyms, all of the Equinox indoor club spaces have been closed since the Mayors office gave an order for shut down in early March. After six months, Gannon said a massive wave of the community has opted to try out the outdoor space and resume membership. The overwhelming positive response from our members that have come, visited, and rejoined has been incredible, he said. Its off the charts beyond our expectations both from a business and that were meeting our members needs. Were very proud of it, and were still learning, but were proud of the experience weve built.

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Review: Equinox Takes Luxe Fitness Into The Wild at Their First Outdoor Gym in LA - InsideHook

Fitness programs return to Youth Center – Shelter Island Reporter – Shelter Island Reporter

Posted: at 4:59 pm

This week, Shelter Island Recreation is starting up a program offering fun, games and activities after school.

Sneakers are needed for active games. Children will be picked up by a recreation aide after school and brought over to the Youth Center. There is no need for a parent/guardian to be present. All students must be picked up at 5 p.m, at the Center, which will not provide supervision after 5 p.m. You must register for this program ahead of time. No day of drop off will be allowed. Visit shelterislandtown.us/recreation to register.

LOCATION: Shelter Island Youth Center

GRADES: Pre-K (4 years old) 4th


DAYS: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday

DATES: Sept. 29, 2020 June 25, 2021. No program during school holidays, superintendent conferences and half days.

TIMES: 2:45 to 5: p.m.

FEES: $10 Per child/per day

Popular adult exercise programs will also be available this fall:

Yoga with Dawn: Thursdays at 8 a.m. Sundays at 8 a.m. at the Fiske Field basketball courts.

CoreSyn with Trent: Tuesday and Saturday at 8 a.m. at Fiske Field basketball courts .

Online programs:

Zumba with Susan on Zoom: Mondays and Wednesdays at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m., Saturday at 9 a.m. Email Susan at [emailprotected] to sign up and receive zoom link.

Functional Fitness with Susan on Zoom: Tuesday and Thursday at 9 a.m. Email Susan at [emailprotected] to sign up and receive zoom link.

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Fitness programs return to Youth Center - Shelter Island Reporter - Shelter Island Reporter

In honor of National Yoga Month, save up to 96 percent on these at-home fitness services – New York Post

Posted: at 4:59 pm

Happy National Yoga Month!

To help you celebrate, we rounded up six of our favorite at-home yoga services, so you can build strength, reduce stress, and increase flexibility. Did we mention they are all massively discounted? Yup, below, you will find savings of up to 96% off!

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Score a lifetime of access to YFMs massive library of online workouts aimed at helping you lose weight, build strength, and lower stress. Youll never get bored with their wide variety of exercises, including HIIT, boxing, kickboxing, yoga flow, and strength training.

Yogaia Interactive Yoga Classes: Lifetime Subscription, on sale for $299 (25% off)

This service allows you to join thousands of live, interactive mind and body classes, such as yoga, meditation, Pilates, stretching, and foam rolling. If you are strapped for time, then you will be happy to know that Yogaias classes start at as little as 5 minutes!

YogaDownload Unlimited: 1-Yr Subscription, on sale for $29 (75% off)

Rated a whopping 4.7/5 stars on Trustpilot, a subscription to YogaDownload will give you access to 1,500+ online yoga and fitness classes through the website and on the mobile app. Whether you are a beginner or a yoga master, this service has something for youplus, new classes are added every week!

Project HASIKO 28-Day Total Body Wellness Program: Lifetime Access, on sale for $39 (80% off)

If you perform best with a structured routine, then this 28-day program is perfect for you. Start your morning off with a 60-minute morning practice that blends together pilates, yoga, and meditation, so you can look (and feel!) a whole lot better.

Onyx Home Workout App: Lifetime Subscription, on sale for $79.99 (73% off)

Onyx is a personal trainer that fits inside your pocket. Using the camera on your phone, the 3D capture system counts your reps and corrects your form, so you can be sure you are making the most of your workout routine. Not only was it the #1 Product of the Day on Product Hunt, but it is also rated 4.9/5 stars with 2.4k+ ratings in the Apple App Store.

BetterMe Home Workout & Diet: Lifetime Subscription, on sale for $39.99 (96% off)

Rated 4.5/5 stars on the Apple App Store, this BetterMe makes healthy living easy. Enjoy personalized exercise routines, a meal plan designed to fit your goals, a step counter, and a community of a thousand others just like you.

Prices subject to change.

In honor of National Yoga Month, save up to 96 percent on these at-home fitness services - New York Post

WH Live+ | Fitness Communities That Empower Women – Women’s Health

Posted: at 4:59 pm

Remember dripping sweat in a dark yoga studio filled with the smells, sounds and most importantly, energyof 10+ other yogis powering through one last flow? What about the buzz in the lobby after your favorite fitness class, with a chorus of that kicked my ass and I need the playlist from that class commentary?

Theres something to be said about the connection thats built among a group of mostly strangers who move togetherwhether its the women running on the treadmills beside you, hiking the same trail, or learning choreography in a dance class. A community built around fitness has always been importantbut arguably even more so todayto allow us to continue to feel that powerful sense of togetherness, even as we move our bodies separately in our safe, socially-distant environments.

This idea of strong women learning from and empowering one another is central to Athleta's Power of She initiative, which focuses on fostering connections and establishing communities of women moving (and moving forward) together. Athletas mission of fostering connection among women and girls to unleash their limitless potential is more important than ever during this time of physical separation," says Athleta CEO, Mary Beth Laughton.

That's why we partnered with the brand for two upcoming WH Live+ events that will bring the community to you (in your living room, bedroom, or wherever youre working out these days) with fitness classes led by leaders who exemplify what it means to live by the Power of She. Our WH Live+ leaders below are relatable, optimistic, and authentic, and they use their platforms to create supportive communities for women. Check out info on the events and the strong women leading them below and mark your calendars to experience it for yourself.

In this special session of WH Live+, actress and fitness entrepreneur Amanda Kloots will lead us in one of her signature AK Dance! cardio workouts thatll elevate your mood, work allll the muscles, and leave you sweaty and (gasp!) happy.

Afterward, shell join WH editor-in-chief Liz Plosser for an intimate discussion about the importance of leaning on health and wellness for mental health, the power of positivity in trying times, and how shes cultivated resilience and grit in 2020. Believe us, you dont want to miss this emotional hour.

In this special session, well be joined by mother/daughter fitness superstars Denise and Katie Austin for a Cardio Booty sculpt workout. Afterwards, Denise and Katie will come together with Liz Plosser for a powerful conversation about the women that have meant the most to them in their lives, the lessons theyve learned, and insight into how anyone can cultivate these special relationships to propel them forward.

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WH Live+ | Fitness Communities That Empower Women - Women's Health

Georgia State Researchers Developing Tool To Predict Medication Response in Mental Health Patients – Georgia State University News

Posted: at 4:58 pm

ATLANTAA team of Georgia State scientists has received a two-year, $875,110 grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to further develop a tool to help psychiatrists treat mood disorders.

The researchers are based at the Center for Translational Research in Neuroimaging and Data Science (TReNDS), a tri-institutional effort supported by Georgia State University, Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University, focused on making better use of complex brain imaging data.

The technology is based on research by Vince Calhoun, Distinguished University Professor of psychology and a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar. He also holds appointments in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech and Neurology and Psychiatry at Emory University, and is the founding director of TReNDS. The grant was awarded to Advanced Biomedical Informatics Group, LLC, a start-up company led by Jeremy Bockholt, who has collaborated with Calhoun for more than 15 years.

Calhoun and his team aim to use data from functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to help psychiatrists predict how patients will respond to medication. Using machine learning, their algorithm would analyze a patients fMRI scan and compare it to scans from thousands of other individuals. Based on the clinical outcomes of those with similar brain activity, the tool could then predict how a patient would likely fare on one medication versus another. A psychiatrist could use this report, along with other information, to decide which medicine to prescribe.

There are no biologically based clinical tools to diagnose mental illness, and as a result distinguishing between mood disorders such as bipolar disorder and depression can be challenging. (It takes an average of six to 10 years for bipolar disorder patients to receive a proper diagnosis.) Finding a mental health treatment that works for patients is often a process of trial and error that can take months or years.

This tool could give clinicians an objective window into a patients brain, helping them make more tailored treatment recommendations, said Bockholt. Regardless of the diagnosis, is the patients brain more similar to someone who responded better to mood stabilizers or to someone who responded better to antidepressants?

Using the grant, the team will refine the algorithm by feeding it additional data, including scans from a more diverse set of patients and scans from various types of fMRI machines.

On the previous data set, our tool was over 90 percent accurate in predicting medication outcomes, so that shows us that were on the right track, said Eric Verner, associate director of innovation at TReNDS and a co-investigator on the project. By training the model on more data, it should perform better on a wider variety of patients.

The researchers will also complete interviews with psychiatrists to learn more about how and when such a tool could be used in a clinical setting. They hope to submit their technology to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration for approval as a medical device.

Were focused on a patient population that is difficult to diagnose and treat using current methods, said Calhoun. It can be hard to know what type of medication would be helpful for them, if medication is warranted. This could help inform those decisions and get patients on the right medication sooner.

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Georgia State Researchers Developing Tool To Predict Medication Response in Mental Health Patients - Georgia State University News

Trump, Biden and a hot mess of a health care debate – Politico

Posted: at 4:58 pm

With Brianna Ehley

Editors Note: Morning Pulse is a free version of POLITICO Pro Health Care's morning newsletter, which is delivered to our subscribers each morning at 6 a.m. The POLITICO Pro platform combines the news you need with tools you can use to take action on the days biggest stories. Act on the news with POLITICO Pro.

The chaotic and disastrous first debate between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden hit on a range of major health issues, but offered few new insights.

The administration's controversial ad campaign to "defeat despair" about coronavirus is sputtering as celebrities drop out and production falls behind.

Congressional Democrats are taking one more shot at striking an agreement with the White House on another coronavirus aid package.

WELCOME TO WEDNESDAY PULSE where it wasnt just you; the incomprehensibility of that debate at times could indeed only be described as Gorpman and Bleemer-esque.

Help us decode what comes next: send tips to [emailprotected] and [emailprotected].

A message from PhRMA:

Today, there are several promising vaccine candidates in stage three clinical trials. These trials have tens of thousands of participants, from every walk of life. From development to robust clinical trials, and throughout manufacturing, these vaccine candidates follow the same rigorous process of other vaccines that have saved millions of lives. More.

TRUMP, BIDEN AND A HOT MESS OF A HEALTH CARE DEBATE For the first 20 minutes of Tuesdays presidential debate, the nominees argued, obfuscated and hurled accusations over a range of health issues, including but not limited to: coronavirus, Obamacare, abortion, drug prices, vaccines, trust in science, stay-at-home orders, private health insurance, the public option, and the Trump administrations ongoing lack of a health care plan.

As for what the voting public got out of all that? Not a whole lot. Heres what we do know:

Trump offered no new defense of his pandemic response. He instead spent much of the debate interrupting and talking over Biden, turning much of the night into an unintelligible back-and-forth.

When Trump did address the pandemic, he fell back on old talking points like playing up the January decision restricting travel from China, repeated assertions that hed done a great job managing the public health threat and urged states to reopen.

Trump contradicted his top health officials and overpromised on a vaccine. The president publicly disagreed again with the views of his CDC director and top vaccine science adviser that a viable vaccine could take until the end of the year, claiming without evidence that it would happen a lot sooner.

Biden tried to block out the noise, and keep the focus on Covid-19. The Democratic nominee on several occasions refused to engage with Trump, making his case directly to the camera that Trumps pandemic response has failed. The president has no plan, he said at one point, and throughout the debate sought to pivot the discussion back to the pandemic.

Only one side sees the SCOTUS fight as synonymous with health care. Echoing Democrats broader strategy, Biden immediately tried to tie the debate over the Supreme Court to the fate of Obamacare. But his points landed only briefly before they were buried by Trumps interruptions and attacks.

The president, meanwhile, framed the high court debate more simply: He won the 2016 election, and therefore he should get his nominee.

Dont expect any policy nuance on drug pricing and health coverage. Trump weaved a series of falsehoods and half-truths when it came to drug prices and Obamacare, including one notable whopper: That insulin is so cheap its like water (insulin often retails at hundreds of dollars per vial). And most of that came in service of trying to falsely link Biden to left-wing health plans rather than defending his own record or offering a second-term vision.

Biden, meanwhile, focused on hammering home the various progressive ideas that he would not support as president, like eliminating private health insurance.

INSIDE THE ADMINISTRATION's SUDDENLY SHAKY AD BLITZ HHS officials made a list of more than 30 celebrities including Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift and Billy Joel to appear in their ad campaign to "inspire hope" about coronavirus, but they ended up with only Dennis Quaid, CeCe Winans and Hasidic singer Shulem Lemmer, POLITICO's Dan Diamond scooped.

The $300 million-plus campaign had been conceived by Michael Caputo, the HHS spokesperson who's now on medical leave. One stated goal was to help raise Americans' morale amid the outbreak, and HHS has maintained that the public service announcement effort is focused on public health, not politics. Democrats have alleged that the rushed campaign is an effort to boost Trump's prospects before the election.

But the effort was already flagging before POLITICO last week reported on Caputo's business ties to the subcontractor selected to produce the PSAs. Tasked to come up with 20 public service announcements before the election, the production team had only succeeded in booking three Quaid, Winans and Lemmer and Quaid this week quit the campaign, saying that his participation was not political and he wasn't paid for it.

Inside the health department, officials say they have concerns about how the campaign has been executed and funded, with Caputo's team tightly steering the campaign's development after abruptly taking $300 million from the CDC.

"There are ways to inform the American people about the risks of coronavirus," said one HHS official. "This wasn't the way to do it."

PELOSI, MNUCHIN SEEK LAST-DITCH COVID DEAL House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will speak with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin one last time today in hopes of striking a longshot deal on more coronavirus aid, POLITICOs Heather Caygle, Melanie Zanona and Sarah Ferris report.

Democrats are anticipating a GOP offer by noon. That Republican proposal is expected to contain roughly $1.5 trillion in aid more than the White House initially wanted to spend, but still far less than Democrats $2.2 trillion minimum. That persistent gap on a top-line number has prevented the two sides from reaching an agreement for more than a month.

A fallback option could move fast. If the talks fall apart again, Democrats are likely to push ahead with passing their own $2.2 trillion aid bill. Under that scenario, a vote could happen as soon as this week.

SCHUMER TRIES TO CENTER SCOTUS FIGHT ON OBAMACARE Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Tuesday set up a vote blocking the Justice Department from supporting litigation to overturn the Affordable Care Act, POLITICOs Marianne LeVine and Susannah Luthi report.

The unusual procedural move escalates Democrats campaign to make Judge Amy Coney Barretts Supreme Court confirmation a referendum on the future of Obamacare. The party has warned that she could provide the deciding vote in favor of a GOP-led lawsuit to eliminate the ACA that the high court is scheduled to hear in November.

It also forces GOP senators on the record. The Senate will likely take a roll call vote on Thursday, forcing several vulnerable Republican lawmakers to weigh in on whether the Trump administration should support the anti-Obamacare lawsuit.

Meanwhile: Barrett met with a range of Republicans on Tuesday. She trekked to the Hill for several hours of meetings with GOP senators, kicking off Republicans sprint to confirm her before Election Day.

And in written responses to a Senate Judiciary questionnaire obtained by POLITICOs Andrew Desiderio and Mariane LeVine, Barrett did not commit to recusing herself from possible cases related to the outcome of the 2020 election.

HOW THE US SPENT $7.6 BILLION IN OPIOID CRISIS FUNDING Roughly three-quarters of the $7.6 billion in federal aid set aside to combat the opioid crisis went to treatment, recovery and prevention efforts in fiscal 2019, according to a new Bipartisan Policy Center report out today.

The rest went toward research, interdiction, law enforcement and other criminal justice initiatives.

But BPC researchers raised a series of concerns about that overall spending, including difficulties tracking whether the money is effectively meeting the needs of people at the highest risk of overdose.

The report also found that incarcerated individuals in many places still lack access to medication assisted treatment and that states have had difficulty offering community-based care and wraparound services when those people re-enter society.

What could help: The BPC researchers recommended that Congress boost funding for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrations substance abuse prevention and treatment block grant.

They also advocated removing federal restrictions on funding for syringes as part of a broader harm reduction strategy, targeting grant funding to address treatment gaps among minority populations, and making permanent the administrations pandemic-prompted expansion of telehealth services.

A message from PhRMA:

Americas biopharmaceutical companies are making great progress against a common enemy COVID-19. Theyre learning from successful vaccines for other diseases, developing new treatments and collaborating like never before.

Today, there are several promising vaccine candidates in stage three clinical trials. These trials have tens of thousands of participants, from every walk of life. From development to robust clinical trials, and throughout manufacturing, these vaccine candidates follow the same rigorous process of other vaccines that have saved millions of lives.

Americas biopharmaceutical companies are working day and night until they defeat COVID-19. Because science is how we get back to normal.

In the Washington Post, seven former FDA commissioners warn the Trump administration that it is damaging the agencys credibility in its pursuit of a Covid-19 vaccine.

Early-stage trial results suggest a new antibody cocktail may help treat nonhospitalized Covid-19 patients, Bloombergs Robert Langreth reports.

The Trump administrations push for a vaccine before the election also risks stoking the anti-vaxx conspiracy theories, BuzzFeed News Stephanie Lee reports.

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Trump, Biden and a hot mess of a health care debate - Politico

Here’s How Hawaii’s Health Department Is Trying To Reach People With COVID-19 – Honolulu Civil Beat

Posted: at 4:58 pm

After months of intense criticism about the size of the health departments contact tracing team and its ability to keep up with the surge in COVID-19 cases on Oahu, records show the state is struggling to contact everyone with the virus.

Workers couldnt reach four out of 10 people who tested positive for the virus in the first two weeks of September, according to data provided by the Hawaii Department of Health. Last weekend alone, a quarter of case files had an invalid phone number.

Despite challenges contacting people, Emily Roberson the new chief of the departments Disease Investigation Branch says the department has made considerable strides in work efficiency.

The Hawaii Army National Guard is helping the state conduct COVID-19 contact tracing at office space at the Hawaii Convention Center.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

When Roberson took the reins to lead the states contact tracing team in July, she reassigned administrative tasks to free up senior disease investigators to focus on case investigation. Workers that had been recruited from the National Guard and a University of Hawaii training program were assigned other contact tracing duties, such as data entry or making initial calls to people who have tested positive for COVID-19.

The team still deals with antiquated technology, but they had a change of scenery at the Hawaii Convention Center a spacious upgrade compared to former health department offices.

Since making those adjustments, the workload has been manageable, she said.

Weve adjusted procedures so dramatically that were able to manage for the most part right now, she said. When we talk about scaling up and scaling down in response to the case counts, its not just about staffing; its also about work tasks.

Until recently, health department officials have not been forthcoming about the agencys ability to successfully keep up with cases. The disease has sickened more than 12,000 people in the islands since March.

As of Monday, there were about 300 people working on contact tracing and COVID-19 case investigations across the state.

Department of Health

The department insisted for months that it had the staff it needed to contact everyone with the virus. It wasnt until a whistleblower came forward in August that the agencys challenges with overwhelmed staff and unsustainable workloads came to light.

Robersons appointment was announced by Gov. David Ige with fanfare. But she quickly ran into problems asking to go on leave because there was a lack of clarity about to whom she was supposed to report. Since returning, Roberson said there have been major changes for the existing team and new hires.

Roberson oversees a cohort of disease detectives whose mission is to identify and isolate people who have had close contact with someone infected with the coronavirus.

There were approximately 300 people involved with case investigation and contact tracing as of Monday, 206 of whom were on Oahu, 40 in Hawaii County, 52 on Maui and two on Kauai. Those include volunteers. Thats up from 126 people in mid-August.

Roberson said she is looking to fill 30 full-time job positions that entail data, clerical, and contact monitoring roles.

To date, only 50 of the more than 400 graduates of a University of Hawaii training program that the health department funded and co-designed have been hired.

Lt. Gov. Josh Green, the states COVID-19 medical liaison, who has openly criticized the contact tracing program in the past, said theres been a palpable philosophical shift at the health department in terms of contact tracing, and Roberson has welcomed more volunteer help.

Thats a big change for everyone who tried to come and offer help as a volunteer or as professionals who were turned away, he said.

The department is struggling to reach everyone who is diagnosed with the virus, but not for a lack of trying.

Some phone numbers listed on electronic lab reports are wrong and some are missing entirely.

Other people never call back. In some cases, Roberson says people call the department back once theyve already completed their time in isolation.

About one in six people called during the first two weeks of September did not respond, including a handful who refused to participate. Another one in six didnt have a number listed at all.

That can seriously hinder the teams ability to find people who were exposed and need to be isolated.

We cant get a list of their contacts from them if they wont pick up the phone, she said.

Roberson stressed that these realities are part of why contact tracing alone cannot be relied on to contain a highly infectious respiratory disease.

People shouldnt think that even the most perfect contact tracing will be panacea. Its not in itself the intervention, she said. We can call every person in Hawaii and have all their close contacts but we still need people to socially distance, wear masks and wash their hands.

The health departments contact tracers and investigators were only able to reach about 60% of people who tested positive during the first two weeks of September. During the peak of a case surge in August, the team wasnt able to call everyone, according to Disease Investigation Branch Chief Emily Roberson.

Department of Health

While the department struggles to reach people without phone numbers, some people with numbers listed said theyve never received a call at all.

Melissa Peneyra, 40, never heard from the health department after testing positive for COVID-19 on Aug. 14. She was among 284 people diagnosed that day.

She decided to call her contacts on her own.

I was like, should I wait for someone to contact me? she said. I didnt feel like death yet but I knew it was coming so I thought, Let me do it now.

She called a friend with whom she recently had lunch, the manager of her gym, and her dentist.

Roberson said the department wasnt able to make initial calls to everyone in July and early August, when case numbers surged quickly and the team focused on contacting the highest priority cases. But as of September, that doesnt happen anymore, she said.

We call everyone we have a number for, she said.

When people test positive for COVID-19, the Department of Health receives a notice from their doctor or laboratory.

Contact tracers make the initial call to people diagnosed with the virus. Then experienced disease investigators interview the person to learn more about their possible infection history and to ensure theyre isolated while contagious. Meanwhile, other contact tracing staff work to locate and monitor everyone the patient was in touch with and call them daily to ask if they have developed symptoms.

The Disease Investigation Branch is taking a new approach by flagging cases in vulnerable populations and dividing them among newly created teams dedicated to monitoring infections in certain high-risk groups or settings.

As a result, the departments response can be fast and very tailored, Roberson said.

The creation of these teams is a reflection of what we learned early on, she said. Now we know that theres something special about these occupations or risk groups that require special actions.

Department of Health Disease Investigations Branch Chief Emily Roberson took the reins of the states contact tracing team in mid-July and said she shifted work tasks to make the process more efficient.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

One team is dedicated to infections in health care settings, such as hospitals or long term care facilities; another team is monitoring infections in schools. Theres a team dedicated to gyms, spas and salons, and other teams dedicated to COVID-19 cases in correctional and detention facilities, food services, public housing, and Hawaiis homeless.

Roberson also created a separate team to focus solely on making the initial calls to people who test positive for the COVID-19 virus, addressing what she said was a major bottleneck in the departments prior workflow.

This restructuring freed up staff time and ensured that the state is able to call everyone who tests positive for the virus and if they cant reach them, call back at least three times a day for three days.

The previous process was to call each positive case at least once within a day. The department would not provide data about performance metrics during the past six months, so it is difficult to discern how the teams abilities have changed. The two weeks of performance metrics provide just a snapshot.

Reaching more than half of people who test positive for COVID-19 in Hawaii could be enough to keep tabs on the virus, but the cooperation of their contacts is important.

An August study published in the journal Nature found that if health officials can identify at least half of symptomatic people and trace 40% of their contacts, it may be enough to avoid overwhelming hospitals and allow some economic activity to resume.

Hawaii is not alone in dealing with contact tracing related issues such as public compliance. But other places have been more transparent than Hawaii when it comes to publishing information about how many cases and contacts are successfully reached and interviewed.

Washington, D.C., publishes details about how many new cases arise from people in quarantine a figure that helps to signal how well the system is keeping tabs on disease transmission.

The Hawaii Department of Health still has not provided many details about its efforts, such as how many people they got contact lists from and of those contacts, how many people they interviewed.

Its also not on public record how timely their interviews are. Interviewing people quickly is critical to controlling the disease, according to Marc Lipsitch, a professor of epidemiology and director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

If health officials reach 50% of people diagnosed with COVID-19 promptly and get to at least half of those peoples contacts within a day, that could make a significant dent in transmission, Lipsitch said.

You cant clean up an oil spill with paper towels but you can clean up a small spill in the kitchen, he said. A good contact tracing department is like that.

Going forward, Roberson said the Disease Investigation Branch will collect more information about its success rate in reaching patients and the teams performance.

My strategy to earn back that trust is to try and be as open, transparent and honest as possible with the public, she said. I can share what we want to do, what were trying to do, how its going and what were learning.

Civil Beat Reporter Brittany Lyte contributed to this article.

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Here's How Hawaii's Health Department Is Trying To Reach People With COVID-19 - Honolulu Civil Beat

With The Coronavirus Creeping Back In Mass., Health Experts And Community Groups Call For Action – WBUR

Posted: at 4:58 pm

In the last few weeks, the positive test rate for the coronavirus and statewide hospital admissions for COVID-19 have crawled slightly but noticeably upwards. At the end of August, the average number of COVID-19 patients in the hospital was roughly 300. As of Tuesday, it was over 420.

Why exactly the state's coronavirus numbers are rising is unclear, said Caroline Buckee, an epidemiologist at Harvard University. But it may be that slight increases in coronavirus transmission that began after the state started reopening over the summer have finally built momentum, Buckee hypothesized.

Honestly, I dont know, she said. Its hard to pinpoint whats driving transmission in certain places. The worry is that gradual trend in increasing cases continues and starts to take off in a situation where we have significantly higher rates of morbidity and mortality.

Buckee has joineda group of local community and health leaders around the state, led by the Massachusetts Coalition for Health Equity, in criticizing Gov. Charlie Bakers for moving forward with the state's reopening plan.

Baker unveiled details of the next phase for reopening on Tuesday. He said lower risk communities, defined as towns that have fewer than five daily COVID-19 cases, can further relax some restrictions on private gatherings, recreational activities and businesses. For instance, indoor recreational venues like arcades, roller rinks and concert venues will be allowed to reopen on Oct. 5, with limited capacity.

That is not sitting well with local leaders like state Representative Mike Connolly, a Democrat who represents Cambridge and Somerville. In a virtual press conference Tuesday, Connolly called the recent COVID-19 case numbers and positive test rates alarming, and rebuked the governor for moving ahead with further reopening.

Despite these warnings that COVID is trending upward in Massachusetts, weve seen really concerning actions by the governor, he said. Indoor dining was expanded, and certain restrictions on indoor dining were lifted just this past week.

Epidemiologists are warily eyeing the approaching winter like storm clouds on a horizon, according to Buckee. Although theres still more data that must be examined to understand the pandemics direction in Massachusetts, Buckee said the rising rateof positive coronavirus tests makes the cold months loom more threateningly.

One of the reasons why Im worried about winter is because other seasonal coronavirus and human behaviors that drive transmissions are likely going to exacerbate risks for us, she said. Given that we are going to survive this winter, what should be happening is we should keep community transmission as low as possible.

To Buckee, that means avoiding activities that are known to have higher risks of coronavirus transmission like indoor dining and large indoor gatherings. Being proactiveabout that now might help schools and other businesses remain open through next spring, Buckee said.

With the reopening, we need to be very cautious. I personally will not be indoor dining this winter at all, she said. While I understand we must resume economic activity, we need to be very careful about particular settings as we know that can lead to clusters, and those lead to larger outbreaks.

Buckee and Connolly, along with 30 organizations and hundreds of health experts, physicians and community leaders, signed an open letter calling for Gov. Baker to do more to curb the spread of the pandemic and asking him to reinstate certain COVID-19 restrictions. Their demands includereducing the number of indoor dining guests allowedat restaurants and closing casinos andother indoor recreational areas.

The letter focuses on what advocates say is a need for more targeted COVID-19 interventions to help low-income communities, workers and communities of color that continue to struggle disproportionately with the coronavirus.

Governor Baker has neglected to be inclusive in his policies in practice. Immigrants of color are the ones who are dying the most, saidNatalcia Tracy, executive director of the Brazilian Worker Center and part of the coalition that is criticizing the state's reopening process. [Governor Baker], do your job, please. Make sure testing for people who need to be tested is available. Make sure that people can get paid when they need to be home and sick. We havent seen those types of support in our community yet, and we need that.

The Baker administration defended its efforts to fight the spread of the virus on Tuesday, citingpolicies designed to help communities of color. Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders announced a new grant program and highlighted the states COVID-19 interventions in hard hit communities like Chelsea and Lynn.

Chelsea has come down from 32 incidents [of coronavirus] per 100,000 residents to 22. Lynn has come down from 23 per 100,000 to 11 and continues building on this progress, Sudders said.

Sudders added that the state is using detailed data to quickly target clusters of new COVID-19 cases. In Salem, after a quick spike in cases, Sudders said the state provided free mobile testing for several days and took other actions to help quell the local increase.

Very successful Salem went down from 11 down to 3 and a half. So, what were trying to do is very much tailor [our response] now, Sudders said.

Overall, Harvards Buckee said Massachusetts has and continues to do relatively well in managing the pandemic and using targeted, local interventions is the right thing to do, she said. But, she added, that still doesnt mean its wise to allow communities with fewer COVID-19 cases to ease restrictions on activities like concerts or expand indoor dining at a time when other communities continue to face a higher risk from the virus.

We are all connected to those communities, she said. We are not isolated. And the longer we fail to control community transmission, the longer we are unable to engage in activities we like and go back to our lives.

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With The Coronavirus Creeping Back In Mass., Health Experts And Community Groups Call For Action - WBUR

‘This Place Is Just Peace’: Finding A Mental Health Respite Through Peer Support – LAist

Posted: at 4:58 pm

Keris Jn Myrick, chief of peer and allied health professions for L.A. County's Department of Mental Health. (Robert Garrova/LAist)

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If you were preparing for a difficult journey, say a trip up Mt. Everest, you would want a guide to help you along the way, someone who's been there before.

That's the basic idea behind an alternative approach to mental health: peer support, where people who know what it's like living with a mental illness help others with their psychiatric condition.

It takes the form of peer-run drop-in centers and peer respite centers, where guests can stay for up to two weeks.

Pre-pandemic, Keris Jn Myrick showed me L.A.'s Peer Resource Center, a building that once was used for storage, in the Wilshire Center neighborhood.

"This is like the best building ever, this is L.A. County's first directly-operated peer run center," Myrick said.

"It's hard to navigate everything, so [it helps] having somebody who's been through [it] and they're kind of like your GPS," said Myrick.

At the peer resource center, anyone can come in for a few hours to get help with their mental health, get connected to resources and maybe even take part in some karaoke.

"It's really interesting because ... I come down [and] hear people singing in different languages, yet here we all are in a group supporting each other," Myrick said.


As chief of peer and allied health professions for L.A. County's Department of Mental Health, Myrick is a big fan of peer support.

Before she worked for the county, Myrick helped set up Hacienda of Hope, one of only two peer respite centers in L.A. County.

Guests can check in for a few days to give their mind a break and find support.

Myrick says it's something she wishes she had as she struggled in years past with her schizophrenia.

"Especially when I was going through crisis, everything felt really loud and overwhelming, so I would have this habit of hiding in my closet," she said. "And I thought, wow, that's what I need, I need some place that's soothing, but I also don't want to be alone."

"You don't have to have a diagnosis to come in, we don't ask for insurance," said Hacienda of Hope Program Coordinator Joey Arcangel. There are social groups like music appreciation, but also support groups where guests can speak on what's challenging to them, she said.

Located in a two-story house on a residential street, you just have to be 18 and follow some basic house rules to be a guest at Hacienda of Hope. There are clean beds, a kitchen, an entertainment room, even a guitar for those who are inclined.

Since the pandemic, Hacienda has had to go from a capacity of 10 guests at a time to six. Staff screen new clients for the virus.

As someone who's been hospitalized for her mental health, Arcangel has a special appreciation for a place like this.

"If my mental health were to get to a level where I feel I need more support, respite would be a solution where it doesn't take away from me financially and I would still maybe be able to see my son," Arcangel said. "It's not a locked setting."

Former guest Chelle Thomas said she received "phenomenal" support during her stay at Hacienda of Hope. Now she leads a support group there.

Thomas runs "Chatting with Chelle," where guests can talk about things like finding help with their mental health and managing symptoms.

"I've had several hospitalizations but they've always been voluntary and so had I known about Hacienda of Hope [previously], I would have never had to be hospitalized in an institutionalized setting." Thomas said.

"For me, this place is just peace," she said.

There's some research on the peer support model. A UC San Diego study of Black and Latino youth (age 16-24) with serious mental illness found those with peer support got outpatient treatment more often.

"I would think that this data would provide some encouragement for the use of peer support," said Dr. Todd Gilmer, who co-authored the study.

So why are there only two peer respite centers in LA County? Myrick said she's the first chief of peer services, and she's only been on the job for two years.

"This is a big county and I think trying to do new things and start new things and get them off the ground does not happen overnight," she said.

Last week Governor Newsom signed into law a bill that paves the way to expand the use of peer providers by creating a certification process and opening up the possibility for pilot projects funded by Medi-Cal.


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Illinois Health Officials Issue Guidance on Halloween During the Coronavirus Pandemic – NBC Chicago

Posted: at 4:57 pm

Illinois officials on Wednesday released new public health guidance on several Halloween festivities like trick-or-treating, costume parties, pumpkin patches and more as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

We are still in a pandemic, and unfortunately, this year, that means the safest way to celebrate is to stay home and plan virtual gatherings," Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in a statement. "That said, IDPH recognizes that some who will choose to gather together anyway, and instead of denying that reality, we are issuing guidance and recommendations for safer ways to celebrate together in person."

"Remember, we know what our best tools are: wearing our masks, keeping our distance, limiting event sizes, washing your hands, and looking out for public health and each other," she continued.

Anyone who thinks they could have COVID-19, or has been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, should not participate in any Halloween activities, officials said.

IDPH's guidance reads as follows:

An alternative to traditional trick-or-treating is to set up in a largeparking lot or other outdoor setting with tables with individually wrappedcandy (spaced apart) where participants with a parent/guardian can parade pastwhile still keeping 6-feet of distance and wearing a face covering. Itssuggested to offer reserved time slots to limit everyone showing up at once.

After participating in any of these activities, anyone who thinks they may have been exposed should take extra precautions for at least 14 days after the event, staying home, avoiding people at increased risk for severe illness with COVID-19 and getting tested, experts say.

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Illinois Health Officials Issue Guidance on Halloween During the Coronavirus Pandemic - NBC Chicago

Digital health poised for record Q3, with fast growth in mental, women’s health investment – Healthcare Dive

Posted: at 4:57 pm

Digital health funding in the third quarter has already usurped a record-setting second quarter this year as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spur investor interest in the space, analysts say.

Digital health companies raised about $5.8 billion in the second quarter, up about 22% from the first. But funding has already reached roughly $6.7 billion since July, and could bypass $8 billion by the third quarter's close on Wednesday, Ja Lee, managing analyst of healthcare at CB Insights, said at the advisory firm's conference last week.

Either figure would set a new record for the nascent sector.

COVID-19 sharply increased consumer demand for digital products to access the healthcare system at home, like telehealth for virtual doctor visits. Experts agree it's likely to result in a long-term shift in the healthcare landscape, with a significantly greater proportion of healthcare delivered digitally going forward.

And investor activity is growing in previously niche areas, partially as a result. Mental health, for example, has seen a huge increase in deals this year, according to CB Insights. It's quickly becoming one of the most crowded areas of digital therapeutics, with conditions like depression and anxiety being exacerbated by COVID-19. A study published Wednesday in Science Advances found notable increases in acute stress and depressive symptoms in the pandemic's early months that grew significantly as deaths did in the U.S.

As a result, mental and behavioral services are becoming more differentiated, with a growing number of services for different use cases peddled to employers and health plans. Analysts are reporting a rise of mental health platforms focused on psychotherapy and those leaning toward specific psychiatric services, along with mental health options targeted toward women.

Healthcare megarounds, or funding rounds of $100 million and above, in the third quarter have already exceeded that of any quarter in the previous 11 periods, according to CB Insights. One such megaround was for Lyra, a California-based mental healthcare benefits startup covering more than 1 million members, which raised $110 million in August. The deal raised Lyra's total funding up to $292 million, and brought its total valuation above $1 billion, according to the company.

Earlier the same month, virtual behavioral health care system Ginger, which sells psychiatry, therapy and coaching services, raised $50 million in its largest funding round to date.

Interest in women's health has also picked up over the last few years, and the market is expanding to offer a wider range of products and services, such as fertility, Lee said. The third quarter so far has seen more funding flow into the space, including growing interest from public companies as women's health gains more corporate acceptance and interest.

As a result, employers have more options to offer fertility benefits, like two-year-old millennial-focused startup Kindbody, which had a $34 million round in July, and five-year-old Carrot Fertility, which raised $24 million in August.

Experts also forecast rising M&A in the chronic care market, especially following virtual care vendor Teladoc's whopping $18.5 billion acquisition of chronic care player Livongo in August. Interest in the sector has snowballed as the pandemic made accessing in-person healthcare difficult, incentivizing people with chronic conditions many requiring consistent, timely check-ins to turn to telehealth, digital coaching and remote symptom monitoring.

One such company, Vida Health, has seen consultations triple in the past three months, CEO Stephanie Tilenius said at CB Insights.

"We're seeing a lot of interest in our company. So we'll see how that progresses," Tilenius said.

COVID-19 accelerated the industry by about five years, mainly by introducing more people to the concept of virtual care, but interest was growing steadily before the pandemic, argued Livongo founder Glen Tullman. Industry proponents say chronic care management has untapped potential, as current players touch only a fraction of the roughly 150 million people in the U.S. with chronic conditions.

And virtual care is becoming more of a necessity than a luxury amid the pandemic as a tool to minimize COVID-19 exposure and ensure patient access to care, though volume has flagged since a nadir in April.

As a result, telehealth businesses will continue to expand their tech and care offerings through organic growth and acquisitions, while new entrants will seek inroads, Marissa Schlueter, senior healthcare analyst at CB insights, said at the conference. For example, in-home healthcare network Heal launched a telemedicine app in March, and health data analytics firm Evidation Health raised $45 million to expand into virtual care in July.

As a result, investments will rise to fund these efforts. Telehealth startups have raised $6.15 billion across 412 deals year to date, and that's expected to grow to $8.86 billion (and 594 deals) by the end of the calendar year.

By comparison, telehealth companies raised $5.8 billion across 407 deals in 2019, according to CB Insights data.

Schlueter expects horizontal consolidation among specialty telemedicine operators, and vertical integration as payers look to bring digital services under their umbrella. And the massive Teladoc-Livongo deal marrying two of the biggest names in telehealth and chronic care management highlights that Teladoc's competitors, like Boston-based Amwell, are behind in the chronic care space.

Schlueter called out Livongo competitor Omada Health, which recently acquired a virtual physical therapy company, as an "attractive but likely pricey target" for acquirers. However, Omada CEO Sean Duffy shrugged off the speculation at a Thursday panel.

"The plan of record has always been, and for the foreseeable future remains, build the sort of business that can remain an independent business," Duffy said. But overall "there will be more deal activity, no doubt. We're seeing it, we've seen it, we'll continue to see it."

In overall healthcare funding globally, the third quarter could be on track to beat its second-quarter record, too, according to Lee.

Healthcare companies worldwide brought in a record $18 billion in the second quarter following a first-quarter slump. But given the current run rate, CB Insights projects that's likely to pass $20 billion, driven by high deal amount and volume mostly in America and Asia.

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Digital health poised for record Q3, with fast growth in mental, women's health investment - Healthcare Dive

Pa. health secretary concerned about lingering effects of covid-19 on ‘recovered’ patients – TribLIVE

Posted: at 4:57 pm

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Pa. health secretary concerned about lingering effects of covid-19 on 'recovered' patients - TribLIVE

Re-envisioning healthcare in the COVID-19 era – Modern Healthcare

Posted: at 4:57 pm

In 2012, Eastman Kodak Co. filed for bankruptcy. During its peak, the company supplied nearly 85% of the cameras and 90% of all film sold globally. But ultimately, the company was a victim of its own success. When faced with the crossroads of modernization versus history, the company chose to double down on its fee-for-film approach rather than pursue digital photography.

Healthcare, too, is standing at a crossroads. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented disruption and poses a threat to long-standing revenue streams. And in the face of a recession to which healthcare was particularly vulnerable, it discovered new agility. Telehealth programs emerged in a matter of days, new programs were started to provide care outside hospital walls, and well-being programs emerged and expanded.

Many organizations have viewed these interventions as bridging measures, set up to assist them in returning to their primary focus: elective visits and procedures. As systems face current harsh financial realities, many are tempted to jettison the very programs that helped ensure their initial adaptabilityyet outlining budgetary and operational priorities that will ensure organizational resilience is key to ensuring success in the peri- and post-COVID world.


Research over the past decade has illuminated the high levels of burnout and low levels of professional fulfillment experienced by healthcare workers and their effect on staffing and productivity. These issues are clearly being exacerbated by COVID-19.

Outside of the moral imperative to address burnout in healthcare, investing in well-being also presents a unique financial opportunity, as every $1 invested in workplace wellness programs leads to a decrease in medical costs of $3.27 and absenteeism costs of $2.73. Given the extensive workforce shortages already affecting healthcare due to the pandemic, investments in healthcare worker well-being are also necessary to secure the staffing necessary to have a resumption of elective clinical activities that hospital budgets depend on.

Population health

Prior to COVID-19, alternative payment models sought to align provider incentives around value and improving health rather than on the number of services provided. Uptake of such models had been slow due to continued pressure for volume to drive revenue. The pandemic flipped these incentives as hospitals raced to keep patients outusing care managers and community health workers to engage with high-risk populations, and partnering with skilled-nursing facilities to prevent outbreaks.

Even though many of these interventions do not generate an E&M or CPT code for billing, they are vital in the current environment. Providing the right care at the right time and place is essential for achieving the fine balance of maintaining volume and managing capacity, when hospitals must juggle performing hip replacements alongside treating COVID-19. And by establishing hospitals in leadership roles in their communities, such activities not only improve health, but also help systems capture increased market share.

InnovationOrganizational agility and growth often hinge on strategic investments that do not coincide with short-term returns in the core business. A prominent example of this during this pandemic is telehealth, a largely nascent endeavor that proved to be critical for healthcare resilience during the pandemic.

Investments in innovations that do not have an immediately apparent returnwhether due to restrictive payment policies, legal hurdles or cultural/workplace inertiaare difficult to justify for short-term budgetary forecasts, especially in the current environment. However, this is also the moment where innovation's role is most critical. Continued investment is necessary not only for continued shocks with the current pandemic, but also for shocks that will be created by other industry disrupters now and into the future.

In 1977, 35 years before filing for bankruptcy, Kodak's innovation team filed a patent for the "electronic still camera." Kodak leased this technology to Apple for its first commercial digital camera, the QuickTake, convinced that digital photography would never catch on. And while the QuickTake ultimately wasn't a success, it was the first step toward the eventual takeover by digital photography.

Despite being uniquely positioned to succeed, Kodak chose the path of least resistance. In the same way, the question for healthcare organizations now is: Will health systems recognize the power of transformation and leverage it to enact long-term changes?

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Re-envisioning healthcare in the COVID-19 era - Modern Healthcare

Maryland Smith-CHIDS Conference on Health IT & Analytics Goes Virtual Oct. 8-10 – PRNewswire

Posted: at 4:57 pm

COLLEGE PARK, Md., Sept. 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ --TheCenter for Health Information and Decision Systems (CHIDS) at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business will host theConference of Health IT and Analytics, online, from noon to 3 p.m. each day, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, October 8-10, 2020.

In its 11th year, the event aims to deepen the understanding of strategy, innovations, and processes fostering health technology and analytics value, and to stimulate new ideas with both policy and business implications. Researchers, clinical executives and policymakers will share and discuss the latest findings and practices connected to the design, implementation and use of information technology and artificial intelligence in healthcare during this event.

The conference each year attracts over 120 participants and features presenters from more than three dozen institutions. The forum facilitates collaboration among academia, government, and industry.This year's keynote speakers are Keith Dunleavy, MD, CEO and chairman of the board of Inovalon; Daniel Durand, MD, chief innovation officer of LifeBridge Health; Joshua Gans, PhD, professor of strategic management and holder of the Jeffrey S. Skoll Chair of Technical Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management; and Kartik Hosanagar, PhD, John C. Hower Professor of Technology and Digital Business and professor of marketing at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

"Unprecedented opportunities to improve health outcomes and control costs are being created through combining large amounts of digitized medical data with state-of-the-art machine intelligence methods," says CHITA Chair Ritu Agarwal, founding director of CHIDS, Robert H. Smith Dean's Chair of Information Systems and interim dean at the Maryland Smith. "CHIDS is pioneering work at the intersection of AI, digital applications and healthcare, and is proud to convene CHITA, where experts will debate the landscape and impact of current uses and potential future breakthroughs such as deep learning." As in previous years, an invitation-only doctoral consortium will take place ahead of the conference 9 a.m.-noon Wednesday, Oct. 7. And, Saturday will include awards presentations for best paper, best student-authored paper, and best junior researcher-authored paper.

CHITA is produced in partnership with the University of Michigan School of Public Health and is supported in part by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Review the full program and Register in advance atCHITA 2020. CHITA attendees also are eligible for a discount to the Maryland Smith's new AI Leadership for Healthcare executive education program.

The first 100 registrants receive a complimentary e-book authored by keynote speaker Kartik Hosanagar: "A Human's Guide to Machine Intelligence: How Algorithms Are Shaping Our Lives and How We Can Stay in Control."

About CHIDSThe Center for Health Information and Decision Systems (CHIDS) is a research center of excellence based in the Department of Decision, Operations & Information Technology (DO&IT) at the Robert H. Smith School of Business that collaborates closely with industry, government and other key health system stakeholders. CHIDS' research seeks to understand how digital technologies and data analytics can be more effectively deployed to address outcomes such as patient safety, healthcare quality, efficiency in healthcare delivery and a reduction in health disparities. CHIDS offers the benefit of renowned scholars in health data science and artificial intelligence, technology innovation, implementation and design. The pool of talent, knowledge and expertise in DO&IT is acknowledged by several publications as a top-five performer in research production worldwide; the Information Systems group is ranked in the top 10 worldwide by BusinessWeek and U.S. News and World Report. CHIDS pioneers in the study of digitally enabled health system transformation and is widely known for its thought leadership and research collaborations.

About theUniversity ofMaryland'sRobert H. Smith School of BusinessThe Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at theUniversity ofMaryland,College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full- and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialty masters, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations inNorth AmericaandAsia.

Contact:Greg Muraskiat[emailprotected].

SOURCE University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business


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Maryland Smith-CHIDS Conference on Health IT & Analytics Goes Virtual Oct. 8-10 - PRNewswire

Health in Focus: Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery with Dr. Adam Kremer – 9&10 News

Posted: at 4:57 pm

If youre considering back surgery, you may want to explore as many options as you can including minimally invasive methods. We chat with Dr. Adam Kremer, from the Jagannathan Neurosurgery Institute about this procedure, and its benefits in this edition of Health in Focus.

Dr. Kremer is the newest team member at the Jagannathan Neurosurgery Institute. He is a board-certified neurosurgeon and is bringing something new to the operating table with his specialty.

Traditional back surgery is done via a big long midline incision, and in order to do a procedure on a pinched nerve they typically remove a lot of important anatomy bones that are there for a reason, explained Dr. Kremer. He added that the traditional method may make you feel better, but the pain may come back and youll need surgery again.

He recommends minimally invasive spine surgery for back issues like pinched nerves. I use a small tube smaller than your finger to access the pathology directly on the nerve without weakening the spine, Dr. Kremer said. The results provide longer-lasting relief of pain and hopefully not require more back surgery.

In addition, Dr. Kremer claims that there is also less tissue, muscle, and bone damaged with minimally invasive spine surgery leading to quicker recovery times. Please note that this also depends on the health of the patient.

For more information about Dr. Adam Kremer, click here.

Learn more about the Jagannathan Neurosurgery Institute here.

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Health in Focus: Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery with Dr. Adam Kremer - 9&10 News

Preventing Eviction Is Good For Health. Is The CDC’s Temporary Ban Enough? : Shots – Health News – NPR

Posted: at 4:57 pm

Heavenly Pettigrew, left, and her parents Stephanie and Robert outside their two-bedroom rental apartment in Milwaukee. Without assistance from the nonprofit Community Advocates, the family likely would have faced eviction after the pandemic forced Robert and Heavenly out of their steady jobs. Coburn Dukehart/Wisconsin Watch hide caption

Heavenly Pettigrew, left, and her parents Stephanie and Robert outside their two-bedroom rental apartment in Milwaukee. Without assistance from the nonprofit Community Advocates, the family likely would have faced eviction after the pandemic forced Robert and Heavenly out of their steady jobs.

In August, Robert Pettigrew was working a series of odd jobs. While washing the windows of a cellphone store he saw a sign, one that he believes the "good Lord" placed there for him.

"Facing eviction?" the sign read. "You could be eligible for up to $3,000 in rent assistance. Apply today."

It seemed a hopeful omen after a series of financial and health blows. In March, Pettigrew, 52, learned he has an invasive mass on his lung that restricts his breathing. His doctor told him his condition puts him at high risk of developing deadly complications from COVID-19 and advised him to stop working as a night auditor at a Motel 6, where he manned the front desk. Reluctantly, he had to leave that job and start piecing together other work.

With pay coming in less steadily, Pettigrew and his wife, Stephanie, fell behind on the rent. Eventually, they were many months late, and the couple's landlord filed to evict them.

Then Pettigrew saw the rental assistance sign.

"There were nights I would lay in bed and my wife would be asleep, and all I could do was say, 'God, you need to help me. We need you,' " Pettigrew says. "And here he came. He showed himself to us."

A sign inside a Boost Mobile store in Milwaukee prompted Robert Pettigrew to call Community Advocates to ask for help with rent. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says stable housing is vital to controlling the coronavirus pandemic. Coburn Dukehart/Wisconsin Watch hide caption

As many as 40 million Americans faced a looming eviction risk in August, according to a report authored by 10 national housing and eviction experts. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cited that estimate in early September when it ordered an unprecedented, nationwide eviction moratorium through the end of 2020.

That move a moratorium from the country's top public health agency spotlights a message experts have preached for years without prompting much policy action: Housing stability and health are intertwined.

The CDC is now citing stable housing as a vital tool to control the coronavirus, which has killed more than 200,000 Americans. Home is where people isolate themselves to avoid transmitting the virus or becoming infected. When local governments issue stay-at-home orders in the name of public health, they presume that residents have a home. For people who have the virus, home is often where they recover from COVID-19's fever, chills and dry cough in lieu of, or after a hospital stay.

"Without action from Congress, we are going to see a tsunami of evictions, and its fallout will directly impact the health care system and harm the health of families and individuals for years to come."

Aug. 6 letter to Congress from more than two dozen leading health care groups

But the moratorium is not automatic. Renters have to submit a declaration form to their landlord, agreeing to a series of statements under threat of perjury, including "my housing provider may require payment in full for all payments not made prior to and during the temporary halt, and failure to pay may make me subject to eviction pursuant to state and local laws."

Confusion surrounding the CDC's order means some tenants are still being ordered to leave their homes.

Princeton University is tracking eviction filings in 17 U.S. cities during the pandemic. As of Sept. 19, landlords in those cities have filed for more than 50,000 evictions since March 15. The tally includes about 11,900 in Houston, 10,900 in Phoenix and 4,100 in Milwaukee.

Heavenly Pettigrew and her 3-year-old son moved in with her parents in May after the St. Louis child care center where she'd been working closed because of the pandemic. The two-bedroom, one-bath apartment is tight for three generations, says Heavenly's father, Robert, "but it's our home." Coburn Dukehart/Wisconsin Watch hide caption

It's an incomplete snapshot that excludes some major American cities such as Indianapolis, where local housing advocates say court cases are difficult to track, but landlords have sought to evict thousands of renters.

Children raised in unstable housing are more prone to hospitalization than those with stable housing. Homelessness is associated with delayed childhood development, and mothers in families that lose homes to eviction show higher rates of depression and other health challenges.

Mounting research illustrates that even the threat of eviction can exact a physical and mental toll from tenants.

Nicole MacMillan, 38, lost her job managing vacation rentals in Fort Myers, Fla., in March when the pandemic shut down businesses. Later, she also lost the apartment where she had been living with her two children.

"I actually contacted a doctor, because I thought mentally I can't handle this anymore," MacMillan says. "I don't know what I'm going to do or where I'm going to go. And maybe some medication can help me for a little bit."

But the doctor she reached out to wasn't accepting new patients.

With few options, MacMillan moved north to live with her grandparents in Grayslake, Ill. Her children are staying with their fathers while she gets back on her feet. She recently started driving for Uber Eats in the Chicagoland area.

Nicole MacMillan, 38, lost her job managing vacation rentals in Fort Myers, Florida, when the pandemic shut down businesses in March. Later, she also lost the apartment where she had been living with her two children. Image from Nicole MacMillan hide caption

"I need a home for my kids again," MacMillan says, fighting back tears. The pandemic "has ripped my whole life apart."

Searching for assistance to stay at home

That store window sign? It directed Pettigrew to Community Advocates, a Milwaukee nonprofit that received $7 million in federal pandemic stimulus funds to help administer a local rental aid program. More than 3,800 applications for assistance have flooded the agency, says Deborah Heffner, its housing strategy director, while tens of thousands more applications have flowed to a separate agency administering the state's rental relief program in Milwaukee.

Persistence helped the Pettigrews break through the backlog.

"I blew their phone up," says Stephanie Pettigrew, with a smile.

She qualifies for federal Social Security Disability Insurance, which sends her $400 to $900 in monthly assistance. That income has become increasingly vital since March when Robert left his motel job.

He has since pursued a host of odd jobs to keep food on the table such as the window-washing he was doing when he saw the rental assistance sign work where he can limit his exposure to the virus. He brings home $40 on a good day, he says, $10 on a bad one. Before they qualified for rent assistance, February had been the last time the Pettigrews could fully pay their $600 monthly rent bill.

Just as their finances tightened and their housing situation became less stable, the couple welcomed more family members. Heavenly, Robert's adult daughter, arrived in May from St. Louis after the child care center where she worked shut down because of concerns over the coronavirus. She brought along her 3-year-old son.

The CDC hopes through its order to curtail evictions that only add additional family members and friends to already stressed households. The federal order notes that "household contacts are estimated to be 6 times more likely to become infected by [a person with] COVID-19 than other close contacts."

"That's where that couch surfing issue comes up people going from place to place every few nights, not trying to burden anybody in particular, but possibly at risk of spreading around the risk of coronavirus," says Andrew Bradley of Prosperity Indiana, a nonprofit focusing on community development.

The Pettigrews' Milwaukee apartment a kitchen, a front room, two bedrooms and one bathroom is tight for the three generations now sharing it.

"But it's our home," Robert says. "We've got a roof over our head. I can't complain."

Housing loss hits Black and Latino communities

A U.S. Census Bureau survey conducted before the federal eviction moratorium was announced found that 5.5 million of American adults feared they were either somewhat or very likely to face eviction or foreclosure in the next two months.

State and local governments nationwide are offering a patchwork of help for those people.

In Massachusetts, the governor extended the state's pause on evictions and foreclosures until Oct. 17. Landlords are challenging that move both in state and federal court, but both courts have let the ban stand while the lawsuits proceed.

"Access to stable housing is a crucial component of containing COVID-19 for every citizen of Massachusetts," Judge Paul Wilson wrote in a state court ruling. "The balance of harms and the public interest favor upholding the law to protect the public health and economic well-being of tenants and the public in general during this health and economic emergency."

The cases from Massachusetts may offer one glimpse of how federal challenges to the CDC order could play out.

By contrast, in Wisconsin, Gov. Tony Evers was one of the first governors to lift a state moratorium on evictions during the pandemic thereby enabling about 8,000 eviction filings from late May to early September, according to a search of an online database of Wisconsin circuit courts.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin's biggest city, has seen nearly half of those filings, which have largely hit the city's Black-majority neighborhoods, according to an Eviction Lab analysis.

In other states, housing advocates note similar disparities.

"Poor neighborhoods, neighborhoods of color, have higher rates of asthma and blood pressure which, of course, are all health issues that the COVID pandemic is then being impacted by," says Amy Nelson, executive director of the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana.

"This deadly virus is killing people disproportionately in Black and brown communities at alarming rates," says Dee Ross, founder of the Indianapolis Tenants Rights Union. "And disproportionately, Black and brown people are the ones being evicted at the highest rate in Indiana."

Across the country, officials at various levels of government have set aside millions in federal pandemic aid for housing assistance for struggling renters and homeowners. That includes $240 million earmarked in Florida, between state and county governments, $100 million in Los Angeles County and $18 million in Mississippi.

In Wisconsin, residents report that a range of barriers from application backlogs to onerous paperwork requirements have limited their access to aid.

In Indiana, more than 36,000 people applied for that state's $40 million rental assistance program before the application deadline. Marion County, home to Indianapolis, had a separate $25 million program, but it cut off applications after just three days because of overwhelming demand. About 25,000 people sat on the county's waiting list in late August.

Of that massive need, Bradley, who works in economic development in Indiana, says:

"We're not confident that the people who need the help most even know about the program that there's been enough proactive outreach to get to the households that are most impacted."

After Milwaukeean Robert Pettigrew saw that sign in the store window and reached out to the nonprofit Community Advocates, the group covered more than $4,700 of the Pettigrews' rental payments, late charges, utility bills and court fees. The nonprofit also referred the couple to a pro-bono lawyer, who helped seal their eviction case that means it can't hurt the Pettigrews' ability to rent in the future, and ensures the family will have housing at least through September. The CDC moratorium has added to that security.

The federal eviction moratorium, if it withstands legal challenges from housing industry groups, "buys critical time" for renters to find assistance through the year's end, says Emily Benfer, founding director of the Wake Forest Law Health Justice Clinic.

"It's protecting 30 to 40 million adults and children from eviction and the downward spiral that it causes in long-term, poor health outcomes," she says.

Doctor: Evictions akin to "toxic exposure"

Megan Sandel, a pediatrician at Boston Medical Center, says at least a third of the 14,000 families with children that seek treatment at her medical center have fallen behind on their rent, a figure mirrored in national reports.

Hospital officials worry that evictions during the pandemic will trigger a surge of homeless patients and patients who lack homes are more challenging and expensive to treat. One study from 2016 found that stable housing reduced Medicaid spending by 12% and not because members stopped going to the doctor. Primary care use increased 20%, while more expensive emergency room visits dropped by 18%.

A year ago, Boston Medical Center and two area hospitals collaborated to invest $3 million in emergency housing assistance as community organizing focused on affordable housing policies and development. Now the hospitals are looking for additional emergency funds, trying to boost legal resources to prevent evictions and work more closely with public housing authorities and state rental assistance programs.

"We are a safety-net hospital. We don't have unlimited resources," Sandel says. "But being able to avert an eviction is like avoiding a toxic exposure."

Sandel says the real remedy for avoiding an eviction crisis is to offer Americans substantially more emergency rental assistance, along the lines of the $100 billion included in a package proposed by House Democrats in May and dubbed the Heroes Act. Boston Medical Center is among the 26 health care associations and systems that signed a letter urging congressional leaders to agree on rental and homeless assistance as well as a national moratorium on evictions for the entire pandemic.

"Without action from Congress, we are going to see a tsunami of evictions," the letter stated, "and its fallout will directly impact the health care system and harm the health of families and individuals for years to come."

Groups representing landlords urge passage of rental assistance, too, although some oppose the CDC order. They point out that property owners must pay bills as well and may lose apartments where renters can't or won't pay.

In Milwaukee, Community Advocates is helping the Pettigrews look for a more affordable apartment. Robert Pettigrew continues attending doctors' appointments for his lungs, searching for safe work. He looks to the future with a sense of resolve and a request that no one pity his family.

"Life just kicks you in the butt sometimes" he says. "But I'm the type of person I'm gonna kick life's ass back."

For this story, NPR and Kaiser Health News partnered with the investigative journalism site Wisconsin Watch, Side Effects Public Media, Wisconsin Public Radio and WBUR.

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Preventing Eviction Is Good For Health. Is The CDC's Temporary Ban Enough? : Shots - Health News - NPR

COVID-19 vaccine won’t be ready by November, health experts say – Medical Economics

Posted: at 4:57 pm

Members of the coalition weigh in on the latest information on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Members of the MJH Life Sciences COVID-19 Coalition have weighed in on the latest coronavirus pandemic news in a new survey.

All the members of the coalition agreed that they do not believe that a COVID-19 vaccine will be released by Nov. 1, while identifying engagement and uptake as the top challenge to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services vaccine distribution strategy. Coalition members also says that physicians should receive the flu vaccine as soon as possible, according to the graphic.

The biggest COVID-19 myth, according to the coalition, is that herd immunity is right around the corner, and 75 percent of member believe well soon see a significant spike in COVID-19 cases in the U.S.

See below for the full infographic.

TheMJH Life Sciences COVID-19 Coalitionis a partnership with 10 nationally recognized experts in infectious disease, public health, epidemiology, and virology, who work to generate the most accurate, up-to-the-minute information on the pandemic's ever-evolving impact on health care professionals and the patients they treat through live, biweekly webinar events, white papers, and surveys.

The next COVID-19 Coalition event, Navigating the COVID-19 Treatment Landscape, will be held October 13, 2020, at 6PM ET.


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COVID-19 vaccine won't be ready by November, health experts say - Medical Economics

A Washington Ozaukee Public Health Board member resigns after comparing someone’s IQ to whether they’ll wear a mask – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Posted: at 4:57 pm

Members of the Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department discussed health concerns and potential enforcements regarding the coronavirus pandemic at a virtual meeting Sept. 18. A board member who compared someone's IQ to whether they'll wear a mask resigned after the meeting.(Photo: Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department)

A member of the Washington Ozaukee Public Health Board resigned after comparing someone's IQto whether they'll wear a mask during the coronavirus pandemic.

"Wearing a mask isnt political, but it is a reflection of your IQ, said Cathy Cero-Jaeger, referencing a saying she heard.

Washington County Executive Josh Schoemann and Ozaukee County Board Chairman Lee Schlenvogt called for Cero-Jaeger's resignation after hearing her comments.

Not only did she imply county citizens have lower IQs, her tone was especially appalling, Schoemann said in a statement. No public official elected or appointed should ever question the motives or intelligence of our constituents."

In her resignation letter,Cero-Jaeger, who said she's been a nurse for 35 years, added her "inappropriate comment" stemmed from "frustration" in the increasingnumber of coronavirus cases in the community. The COVID-19 positivity rate in Washingtonand Ozaukee counties has substantially increased throughout September, according to county data.

"Mask wearing helps limit the spread of COVID-19," Cero-Jaeger wrotein her letter. "It should not be politicized. I regret doing so, and apologize to all those offended or unfairly represented by my comments."

She added she was resigning so "her words do not continue to cloud this important public health issue."

"It was an honor to serve on the board, and I thank all my colleagues in Ozaukee and Washington (counties) and around the state for their tireless efforts to communicate the best science-based public health policy,"Cero-Jaeger said.

Just before the Sept. 18 meeting was adjourned, Cero-Jaeger, appointed to the board as a volunteer citizen in Ozaukee County, asked board members if its true that mask enforcements were ending.

Kirsten Johnson, Washington Ozaukee Public Health Department officer, said the rise in coronavirus cases warrants an extended health order, and it would post a statement on its website that recommends continued mask wearing.

We are in a little bit of a difficult position of making an order, Johnson said during the meeting. Im pretty sure if I were to order a mask requirement, similar to what the governor did, it would be struck down immediately, and I dont think thats a win for any of us. We want people to wear masks; we dont want to make it controversial.

Gov. Tony Evers recently extended the state's mask mandate until Nov. 21 after issuing a new public health emergency in response to surge in coronavirus cases in Wisconsin.

Cero-Jaeger questioned the enforcement of mask wearing, asking if its voluntary for businesses and restaurants if they refuse to enforce the policy.

Cathy Cero-Jaeger, center, implied during a Sept. 18 Zoom meeting of the Joint Washington-Ozaukee Board of Health that people who refuse to wear masks have low IQs.(Photo: Screenshot)

Theoretically, its the law right now, but its being enforced differently in different jurisdictions, said Johnson.

When Johnson said enforcement is at the local level, County Board Supervisor Kris Deiss told Cero-Jaeger, this is politics.

Cero-Jaeger responded to the board with her IQ statement.

Several board members laughed as Cero-Jaeger said, sorry, had to throw that in there.

Well thats why we live in a free country where everyone has an opinion and they can voice it as they wish, Deiss said.

Despite their IQ, Cero-Jaeger said. Ill shut up at that.

Washington and Ozaukee counties each have citizen appointments and county supervisors on the health board. The Ozaukee County Boardwill fill her vacancy through an appointment process.

Schoemann, who has been outspoken against Evers' orders during the pandemic, added in a statement: I have repeatedly said that our constituents are smart enough to do what is best for them and our community. I do not support Gov. Evers continued illegal public health emergencies. I do not support a heavy handed government approach. This pandemic is best controlled by the obvious: stay home when sick, get tested and alert close contacts. Wearing a mask remains recommended by the White Houses Task Force.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said when people can't social distance one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of the coronavirus is to wear a mask.

Eddie Morales can be reached at 414-223-5366 or eddie.morales@jrn.com. Follow him on Twitter at @emoralesnews.

Our subscribers make this reporting possible. Please consider supporting local journalism by subscribing to the Journal Sentinel at jsonline.com/deal.


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SMOKE REPORT: The Air Will be Hazardous to Health in Hoopa and Willow Creek Today, Air Quality Management District Warns – Lost Coast Outpost

Posted: at 4:57 pm

Several fires continue to impactour region with smoke: RedSalmon Complex, AugustComplex, Slater/DevilFire and Zogg Fire. USFS Air Resource Advisors (ARAs) areassigned to fires impacting our area and provide daily smoke outlookforecasts within our jurisdiction. NoAir Quality ALERTs have been issued today. Air qualitymonitors and current AQI can be viewed at https://fire.airnow.gov.

The ARA on the Red Salmon fireadvise winds will be light and terrain driven. Smoke will be similarto yesterday. Tomorrow should bring gradual improvements, startingalong the coast and northern edge as winds become north to northwest.Improvements will be slow as winds will generally be light.

The ARA assigned to the AugustComplex forecasts light winds and strong inversion conditions overthe fire will cause smoke to accumulate with worsening air quality.Communities in close proximity to the fire will see Unhealthy to VeryUnhealthy conditions. Locations in the river drainages and deepvalleys could see periods of Hazardous air quality - this is likelyto occur in the Mad River, Ruth Lake, Van Duzen and Eel River areas.These conditions will continue through the weekend, with only slightimprovement for coastal communities as transport winds shiftgenerally out of the west tomorrow.

Wednesday will be a transition dayfor smoke transport as the winds shift and push smoke to the north.Winds will be light and smoke impacts will be higher in areaslocalized to the fires and northward. Another shift in winds to theNorth to Northwest is forecast for Thursday.

Humboldt County AnAir Quality ALERT is issued today for Hoopa and Willow Creek. AnADVISORY is issued today for Orleans, Weitchpec, Bridgeville, andGarberville.

Eureka (including Rio Dell toTrinidad within the coastal influence) Overall Moderateconditions with periods of Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups.

Orleans Unhealthy conditions.

Weitchpec Unhealthyconditions.

Hoopa Hazardousconditions.

Willow Creek Hazardousconditions.

Bridgeville - Unhealthy to VeryUnhealthy conditions.

Garberville & Redway Unhealthy conditions.

Del Norte County NoAir Quality ADVISORY issued today.

Crescent City Good to Moderateconditions.

Gasquet Moderate withimprovement in the afternoon.

Klamath Moderate conditionsexpected.

Trinity County AnAir Quality ADVISORY is issued today for Weaverville, Hayfork,Trinity Pines, Ruth, Zenia-Kettenpom areas.

Weaverville and surroundingcommunities Generally Unhealthy with periods of Unhealthy forSensitive Groups.

Hayfork Generally Unhealthywith periods of Very Unhealthy conditions.

Trinity Center Unhealthy forSensitive Groups with periods of Unhealthy conditions.

Ruth, Zenia-Kettenpom Unhealthy to Very Unhealthy conditions expected, depending on fireactivity.

Trinity Pines Unhealthy toVery Unhealthy conditions expected, depending on fire activity.

Particulate Matter (PM2.5) monitorsare located in Crescent City, Gasquet, Eureka, Fortuna, Weaverville,Hoopa, Weitchpec, Willow Creek, Klamath, Trinity Center, Bridgeville,and Garberville. Updateswill be provided as conditions change.

Fireinformation can be found at http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/or https://fire.airnow.gov/.Current weather informationcan be found at http://www.wrh.noaa.gov.

As with all wildfires, ash falloutis possible depending on fire activity and proximity to the fires.Ash fallout information can be found in the Wildfire Smoke Resourcessection of our webpage at http://www.ncuaqmd.org.

Health Information for Smoke Impacts

Concentrations of smoke may varydepending upon location, weather, and distance from the fire. Smokefrom wildfires and structure fires contain harmful chemicals that canaffect your health. Smoke can cause eye and throat irritation,coughing, and difficulty breathing. People who are at greatest riskof experiencing symptoms due to smoke include: those with respiratorydisease (such as asthma), those with heart disease, young children,and older adults.

These sensitive populations shouldstay indoors and avoid prolonged activity. All others should limitprolonged or heavy activity and time spent outdoors. Even healthyadults can be affected by smoke. Seek medical help if you havesymptoms that worsen or become severe.

Follow these general precautions toprotect your health during a smoke event:

Minimize or stop outdooractivities, especially exercise.

Stay indoors with windows anddoors closed as much as possible.

Do not run fans that bring smokyoutdoor air inside examples include swamp coolers, whole-housefans, and fresh air ventilation systems.

Run your air-conditioner only ifit does not bring smoke in from the outdoors. Change the standardair conditioner filter to a medium or high efficiency filter. Ifavailable, use the re-circulate or recycle setting onthe unit.

Do not smoke, fry food, or doother things that will create indoor air pollution.

If you have lung disease (includingasthma) or heart disease, closely monitor your health and contactyour doctor if you have symptoms that worsen. Consider leaving thearea until smoke conditions improve if you have repeated coughing,shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightnessor pain, palpitations, nausea, unusual fatigue, lightheadedness.

Updatedguidance from the CDC is available on reducing wildfire smokeexposure given COVID-19 considerations:https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/covid-19/reduce_exposure_to_wildfire_smoke_covid-19.html.

For further information, visit the Districts website atwww.ncuaqmd.orgor call the Districts Wildfire Response Coordinator at(707) 443-3093 x122.

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SMOKE REPORT: The Air Will be Hazardous to Health in Hoopa and Willow Creek Today, Air Quality Management District Warns - Lost Coast Outpost

How This NYC Bill Would Address Harassment And Discrimination In Healthcare – Forbes

Posted: at 4:57 pm

New York City (NYC) City Council Member Helen Rosenthal (R) has introduced a bill that would ... [+] establish a Gender Equity Advisory Board for NYC's hospitals. (Photo: Courtesy of NYC City Council Member Rosenthal's Office and the Committee of Interns & Residents)

Whats worse than experiencing harassment and discrimination? How about experiencing harassment and discrimination with nowhere to turn for help?

Whats worse than having nowhere to turn for help? How about turning to people for help and then later realizing that they are aligned with the perpetrators of the harassment and discrimination in the first place?

New York City (NYC) Council Member Helen Rosenthal, MPH has heard stories of how women medical students, residents, physicians, and other health care professionals have been caught in such situations. Theyve told her how theyve tried to go through the channels offered by their institutions, such as medical schools or hospitals, only to get little help and even suffer retaliation, resulting in damage that could take years to heal. Learning of such experiences prompted Rosenthal, who is also the Chair of the NYC Committee on Women and Gender Equity, to introduce legislation that, if passed, would establish a Gender Equity Advisory Board for NYC's hospitals.The Advisory Board would advise the Mayor and City Council on how to keep women healthcare workers in NYC safe at their workplaces.

The key is that this Advisory Board would be independent of medical schools, hospitals, and other healthcare institutions in NYC and consist of people from different diverse disciplines, demographics, and backgrounds. Such a structure could help prevent the institutions and their leadership from having sway over the board. It would also provide a potentially safer, more empathetic channel for people to register complaints about discrimination, harassment, or both. After all, it can be more difficult to understand discrimination and harassment if you havent experienced it specifically yourself.

Making sure that women feel safe in healthcare environments should be kind of important to you, assuming that you like being alive and you like your family and friends to be that way too. After all, theres a darn good chance that a woman healthcare professional will care for you, your family, or your friends at some point. According to Rosenthal, women make up close to 80% of the healthcare workforce." And women have been comprising close to half of all medical students for quite a while now, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). That means lots of doctors are currently and will continue to be women. If you still believe that women dont make as good doctors as men, then maybe its time to ditch such antiquated thinking along with the sundial or hourglass that you are currently using to keep time.

So which then would you prefer, when it comes to the people taking care of your health and potentially your life? Would you want them stressed out, distracted, and even burnt out because they are facing discrimination or harassment? Or would you want them to feel safer and more comfortable so that they can make full use of their talents and abilities to help you? So whats it going to be? Do you even have to think about it?

To say that discrimination and harassment may occur in medicine and health care would be kind of like saying there may be mosquitoes who want to bite people. Studies have found both discrimination and harassment to be quite prevalent. For example, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, revealed that 65.1% of women general surgery residents reported gender discrimination and 19.9% reported sexual harassment. As I have reported before for Forbes, other studies have found even higher numbers.

Despite the prevalence of harassment and discrimination, studies have at the same time revealed that many women health care professionals may be reluctant to report such transgressions. An AAMC survey showed that only 21% of medical students who suffered harassment or other offensive behaviors ended up reporting the incidents to faculty members or administrators. The reasons for this silence? Well, for 37%, it was I did not think anything would be done about it, for 28% fear of reprisal, and for 9% I did not know what to do. Thats well over half feeling like there is no real recourse. According to a 2018 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report, low reporting rates continue well beyond medical school deep into womens medical and health careers. Reporting rates are even lower for women of color such as Black women, Asian American women, and Latinas. In this case, silence is not golden. Instead, it can be lead, like a lead pipe.

This is the impact of cultural misogyny, which is insidious, explained Rosenthal. It is so deeply embedded everywhere and starts with a ruling class. The old guard were taught and trained to be physicians in a certain way. Since it worked well for them, they are continuing that when training others.

The majority of leadership of medical schools and hospitals continue to be White men, despite medical school classes since the 1990s being a majority women and men of color. You would expect several decades of many men of color and women going through medical school to result in more of them in leadership positions at established institutions. However, a Perspective piece in the New England Journal of Medicine estimated that at the current rate academic medicine would not reach gender parity for at least another 50 years. Yes, climate change may be in some ways moving faster than diversification.

Rosenthal has long been interested in health care, having gotten a masters in public health and studied issue about physicians in medicine and medical malpractice. The idea for the bill came after plaintiffs in an age, race, and sex discrimination lawsuit against the Mount Sinai Health Systems Icahn School of Medicine approached her. I previously covered for Forbes the initiation of this lawsuit as the following tweet summarized:

We started brainstorming and worked with the city council to think about what it is the city has jurisdiction over, related Rosenthal. What can the city do to shine a spotlight on discrimination and harassment and change the culture.

Pictured here are Anu Anandaraja, MD, MPH, (R) one of the founders of Equity Now, along with other ... [+] protesters outside the Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine on December 21, 2019. (Photo: Courtesy of Anu Anandaraja/Equity Now)

Consider how much damage [perpetrators of discrimination and harassment] are doing to all of the medical students and doctors as well as patients, said Rosenthal. If there is an environment that is dismissive of women, they have a bigger challenge in earning respect both from peers and superiors and from patients. How confident then will the patient be of the woman medical student or physician? She added, This is not good for anyone. Much like systemic racism, it is embedded in how these supervisors teach and behave.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit have claimed that they used the available channels at the Icahn School of Medicine like Human Resources (HR) to complain about the discrimination and harassment that they were facing. According to them, while they initially were assured that these channels would protect them and maintain confidentiality, this didnt turn out to be the case. Instead, much of the efforts of the institution allegedly seemed to be to protect its leaders and those people chosen by the leaders.

On their website, Equity Now, an initiative launched by the plaintiffs, describes themselves as a group of current and past employees of the Arnhold Institute for Global Health at Mount Sinai. We are physicians, public health practitioners, administrative assistants and project managers. The website continues by saying that Over the last few years, we have all experienced workplace discrimination that damaged our careers and personal lives. Our attempts to address these issues through institutional mechanisms failed, and we found ourselves left with no option but the legal route to have our voices heard.

As example of institutional mechanisms failing, one of the plaintiffs, Amanda Misiti, EMPA, a Program and Policy Research Manager at the Arnhold Institute for Global Health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai said: There was no integrity to the investigation we participated in. Our confidentiality was not respected, there was no transparency and ultimately we were retaliated against and further hurt by institutional gaslighting.

Another plaintiff, Stella Safo, MD, MPH, an attending physician at Mount Sinai and a Strategic Advisor at Premier Inc. related that she found that your complaints could get you in more trouble. HR is not your friend. HR works for the institution first.

Safo mentioned suffering gaslighting that tried to make you think that you are the problem. They try to convince you that what you are seeing isnt happening and these things that you are experiencing arent so bad. In this situation, gaslighting doesnt have anything to do with using a cigarette lighter and any liquid or emission that may be referred to as gas. Instead, the Encyclopedia Britannica defines gaslighting as an elaborate and insidious technique of deception and psychological manipulation, usually practiced by a single deceiver, or gaslighter, on a single victim over an extended period. That single deceiver can be a group of people, an organization, or an institution. The encyclopedia entry continues by saying, Its effect is to gradually undermine the victims confidence in his own ability to distinguish truth from falsehood, right from wrong, or reality from appearance, thereby rendering him pathologically dependent on the gaslighter in his thinking or feelings.

The following tweet from @EquityNowSinai forwarded a list of gaslighting techniques:

Safo explained how such actions damages your psyche and how they tried to separate people, whispering that other people didnt agree with you to create in-fighting. Safo, who earned her medical degree from Harvard Medical School, said: There is no reason so many of us have to work this hard just to keep a few men happy. I want to help other Black women know how to navigate such a system.

Misiti emphasized: Third party reporting systems for discrimination are of the utmost importance if organizations are truly committed to equity. This is something I feel very strongly about from my experience.

Of note, in response to the lawsuit and its allegations, representatives of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai provided me with the following statement: "Our primary focus remains on delivering a welcoming, safe, equitable environment so that all staff and students thrive. We strongly disagree with the claims made by the lawsuit and will continue to vigorously defend against it.

Having a truly independent body for those experiencing discrimination or harassment to turn to could go a long way towards changing many existing systems in medicine and healthcare. Again, independent means separate from the influence of medical school, hospital, or other health care institution leadership. After all, youve heard the saying about not wanting foxes to run the henhouse. In other words, would you want leadership of an institution ruling on complaints that may be about the leadership or people being protected by the leadership? That could be like someone saying, oh, you are complaining about me, and then putting a complaints department hat on and asking you to trust him. One of the hopes is a State colleague will pick this bill up and institute a similar bill for New York State, said Rosenthal. The State has authority across all of the hospital systems in New York State and can institute changes. Until such changes occur, how many more people will either suffer in silence or face retaliation when speaking up about discrimination and harassment? And how in turn could this affect you and other patients?

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How This NYC Bill Would Address Harassment And Discrimination In Healthcare - Forbes

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