Field Notes, Update

Power couple, crystal ball, and cat videos

The info hub for the hub of global health

Power couple

With the quarantine, critical COVID-19 research from two local organizations is now happening under the same roof. Meet the research power couple.

Dr. Lynda Stuart, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is leading the foundation’s team researching a vaccine for the virus. Dr. Adam Lacy-Hulbert, Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason, is designing new studies to find what makes some cells immune to COVID-19.

In between, they’re home-schooling two young daughters, helping with grade school homework, and chasing their Labradoodle.

Pay it forward

Doctors are hopeful as Swedish, UW Medicine, Providence St. Joseph Health, and other hospitals start an experimental treatment for patients with COVID-19—infusing convalescent plasma from recovered patients.

Bloodworks NW is overseeing local plasma collection from people who have recently recovered from COVID-19, as they usually have high levels of antibodies in their blood that could help other patients fight the virus. If all goes well with acute cases, the treatment will expand to milder cases to speed up recovery.

Thank a health hero

Organizations like SightLife are fortifying the frontlines by sending food and PPE to medical professionals working tirelessly through COVID-19.

You can send your thanks to the frontlines, too. Thank a Swedish health worker or send a Partners In Health e-card to your health care hero.

Nominate a health hero

The Pioneers of Global Health Awards shine a light on people and organizations working to improve health equity around the world. This year, the awards have a twist—recognizing leadership, impact, and collaboration specifically around the COVID-19 pandemic. Awardees will be honored at the Pioneers of Global Health Awards on Wednesday, October 28. Save the date to join us!

In the meantime, nominate your global health heroes by Friday, May 22.

Crystal ball

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) expanded its COVID-19 forecasting model to include projections for European countries. The model is also showing lower death rates in the United States than originally projected, largely due to people staying home.

The next version will show projections as social distancing guidelines are lifted. All eyes will be on that model as governments wrestle with when and how to open local economies.

Jerry Maguire said it best

The Global Health Council (GHC) has drafted an open letter to the Trump Administration protesting the decision to withhold funding from the World Health Organization. GHC is accepting individual and organizational support for the letter through 2:00 pm PST on April 20.


Helping you help others

Fox Rothschild LLC is offering pro bono services for medical professionals who want to come out of retirement or volunteer for the response to COVID-19 in a hard-hit state. Fox Rothschild can help you navigate the legal aspects of returning to practice, from updating your license to understanding the state-based protections and regulations you need to know.

Contact CovidHealthHeroes@FoxRothschild.com and bring your skills to the front lines.



Researchers at Fred Hutch found a new way to sequence and analyze single cells that’s faster and up to five times cheaper than current methods. Single-cell RNA sequencing allows researchers to see which genes are being activated and generates information about proteins on the cells.

Safe space

Students at the University of Washington (UW) Department of Global Health banded together to create Women of Color in Global Health Critical Learning Community, a community support group to share their unique challenges, mentor one another, and welcome new women of color into the department.

Mobile phones and Talking Books

VillageReach is advising the Malawi government on integrating COVID-19 messaging into the interactive “health center by phone” platform, Chipatala cha pa Foni. It’s also partnering to develop appropriate digital health messaging via WhatsApp and Facebook for other countries such as Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Amplio is partnering with Literacy Bridge Ghana, Ghana Health Services, and UNICEF to share lifesaving COVID-19 info such as symptoms, prevention, and social distancing with people in remote communities in north Ghana through Amplio Talking Books.

To wear or not to wear

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its guidance and recommends wearing facemasks to slow the spread of COVID-19. Now, even the Fremont Troll is wearing one.

While many people are breaking out their sewing machines, some people of color are expressing fears that wearing face masks in public could put them at greater risk for racial profiling.

For parents with little ones, check out these tips for navigating masks with kids.

Cat videos

Vets at Washington State University’s One Health Clinic and its partners aren’t zoning out to pet videos at home—they’re using telehealth to examine and treat the pets. The clinic, which typically provides in-person medical care for people experiencing homelessness and their animal companions, has pivoted to provide care for these pets via phone calls, photos, and video chats.

Around town

“Social distancing may be the recommendation, but social solidarity must be the path forward.”

—James Pfeiffer, executive director of Health Alliance International,
in a statement on COVID-19

Do you have a tip for Field Notes? Send it to Jayanna Thompson, jayanna.thompson@wghalliance.org

Copyright © 2019 Washington Global Health Alliance, All rights reserved.