Field Notes, Update

The Fauci effect, diversifying heart health, and rooting for Rollie

The info hub for the hub of global health

The Fauci effect

Med school applications are on the rise, thanks to what many are calling the Fauci effect. Curious how this is impacting local universities? Read on to see which schools have caught the bug:

  • WSU College of Medicine, Spokane, saw a 21% increase in primary applications
  • UW School of Medicine reported a 26% increase in applications across its six campuses
  • Additionally, Seattle University’s College of Science and Engineering has quadrupled enrollment in its computer science program since 2009.

And yours truly is encouraging even more students to choose STEM careers. Tell the teachers in your life to join us on January 30 for our STEM Global Educator Workshop to build the pipeline of future STEM all-stars

Speaking of education

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Allan Golston shared his reflections on the state of education in the US, and how his team plans to deliver equitable opportunities and improvements for Black and Latino students and for students in poverty.

What’s in your heart  

Since 2008, scientists within the PAGE consortium—Population Architecture using Genomics and Epidemiology—have been working to estimate a person’s risk for disease based on their genetic makeup. While this practice historically hasn’t included enough communities of color, Fred Hutch researchers won a $9.8M grant to improve predictions for heart disease among racially and ethnically diverse populations.

COVID at home

All eyes have been on our home state since the first US outbreak in March. And despite the politicization of vaccines, many of us are optimistic about the first round of vaccine deployment. Here’s how some WGHA members are preparing:

  • Frozen on ice: We’re not talking about the Disney version. The Washington State Department of Health expects nearly 400,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine this month, which poses a new challenge to medical facilities needing to store the vaccine at the recommended sub-zero temps. UW Medicine will lease ultra-frozen storage units at four locations for its three hospitals, while Washington State University is on tap for distribution east of the mountains.
  • Looking ahead: If vaccine distribution is scaled up over 45 days, and people continue to mask up, IHME models estimate that around 40,000 lives could be saved by April 1, 2021. Panorama’s Pandemic Action Network is encouraging everyone to take action and adapt holiday traditions to stop the spread with its #SpreadCHEER, not COVID campaign.

COVID abroad

  • Let the light in: Amplio stepped in to support Ghana’s government response to COVID-19 by providing Talking Books loaded with COVID-19 messages so that Ghana Health Services can deliver reliable and localized health information to “media dark” rural communities.
  • No case left behind: Mixco, a suburb outside of Guatemala City, has one of the nation’s highest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Medical Teams International secured $1.35M for its COVID-19 response, which aims to reach nearly 28,000 people with hygiene kits and over 335,000 people with COVID-19 prevention messages through January 2021. Medical Teams has been working in rural Guatemala since 2008 and within indigenous communities in-country since 2013.

So long, snooze button

According to the National Sleep Foundation, 60% to 75% of Americans experience insomnia. Darius Zoroufy, sleep medicine specialist with Swedish Sleep Medicine, doesn’t need Vegas odds to bet that these numbers will increase for 2020. Whether you’re suffering from insomnia or vivid dreams, check out Dr. Zoroufy’s recommendations for a healthy night’s sleep.

Rooting for Rollie

Veterinarians at Washington State University are investigating if a drug used to treat breast cancer in humans could be used to safely delay the growth of cancerous tumors in dogs, which account for 80% to 90% of all canine cancer cases. Their first patient is Rollie the Collie, who has cancer on the lining of his bladder. If the trial is successful, it will give pet owners a safe, affordable, and non-invasive option to care for their pups

People in the news

Equity means all kinds of things, and will mean different things to us. Sometimes it whispers to us, sometimes it shouts at us. We need to be nimble and be listening and looking for equity.”

Dr. Anu Taranath, equity consultant, educator, and author,
WGH Seattle Quarterly Gathering

Note from the editorThis is our last Field Notes for 2020. Thank you for reading and for sharing with your friends and colleagues. This year has been a whirlwind—we hope you can recharge over the break and look forward to connecting in 2021. Happy Holidays!


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