Field Notes, Update

Mask up, cheers to 15 years, and text me all about it

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Mask up

With US cities opening public places, many people are not following health guidelines, which is contributing to a rise in COVID-19 cases. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation predicts that if 95% of Americans wore face masks, it could prevent 45,000 deaths by November 1 from COVID-19. Check out the visualization of masks vs. no masks on the COVID-19 projection model.

Here in Washington, masks are now required indoors in public spaces and outdoors when you can’t stay six feet apart. Check out Public Health—Seattle & King County for the lowdown about face coverings, and let’s #MaskUpWA.

DEI in cancer research

Cancer doesn’t discriminate, but the research may. Current cancer prevention tools—like risk calculators—are based primarily on the genetic data of white participants who make up the majority of the studies. Without inclusive data, risk factors may be missed, and medicines may not be as effective for diverse populations. Fred Hutch is aiming to change that with its five-year study to include multiethnic populations and bring diversity and equity into cancer prevention. One step toward health equity.

Cheers to 15 years

Malaria No More, PATH, and other partners celebrated the 15-year anniversary of one of the most effective investments in global health—the US President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI). It has contributed to saving more than 7 million lives and prevented more than 1 billion cases, and today, protects more than 570 million people at risk of malaria.

PMI’s work to strengthen health infrastructures in 24 countries, such as training health workers and improving lab and surveillance capacities, is paying off during the COVID-19 pandemic, too.

Text me all about it

Keshet Ronen, at the University of Washington Department of Global Health, is developing natural language processing tools for SMS text messaging interventions. Her goal is to use texts to monitor and support maternal mental health in Kenya.

The tools Ronen develops will be used to improve the efficiency and adaptability of text messaging programs that connect new moms to health care workers and helpful resources in real time. No one will get ghosted with these texts.

¡Viva México!

Mexico currently ranks seventh globally for COVID-19 deaths, so WGHA members are working quickly to reach residents in rural areas.

Focus on the fundamentals

War, food and water shortages, a cholera outbreak, and now COVID-19—Yemen is facing multiple crises at once. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has been on the ground in Yemen since 2012 and is working tirelessly to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect the 3.3 million displaced residents. The IRC is providing protective gear, clean water and sanitation services, and critical information about symptoms to help refugees prevent COVID-19.

Testing…1, 2, 3

Testing is a crucial part of slowing the spread of COVID-19, and Medical Teams International has been busy supporting testing clinics in the PNW since March. Its mobile testing vans have supported screening for some of the most vulnerable populations and high-risk areas, including inside CHOP and Mary’s Place centers.

In King County, Medical Teams has screened more than 2,500 people so far. And in Yakima County—one of the current hot spots—it increased testing capacity by 50% in one day.

Around town

“We don’t know what’s going to happen with COVID-19. The idea of doing one’s part, though, should be so simple: Wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands. That alone means you are contributing to the betterment of your house, your work, your town,
your society as a whole.”

Tom Hanks, in an interview with TODAY

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