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In the wake of COVID-19 (caused by SARS-CoV-2) we have seen canceled events, people not wanting to be in large groups, and a lot of questions on WHY this is happening. These cancellations are all part of an extreme measure called “social distancing.” I wanted to give you all some information on why social distancing (paired with washing your hands and other preventive measures) is EXTREMELY important!
Note that this is not to scare you or incite panic in any way.
Epidemiology rule #1: Don’t panic! I wanted to equip you with some great information as our new generation of public health professionals.
The below article is about the mitigation of the spread of the Spanish Flu in 1918 where, even though the virus could not be contained, public officials had a chance to slow the spread. The article compares Philadelphia’s slow response (the solid line below) to St. Louis’ quick response. I thought this was cool because we just talked about normal curves and kurtosis.
This next article gives more details on “flattening the curve” by cancelling mass gatherings, working from home, self-quarantine, and self-isolation for the reduction in the peak of an outbreak.
The CDC website on COVID-19: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
A JAMA article on “New Insights on a Rapidly Changing Epidemic”: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2762510
A NEJM article on clinical characteristics of COVID-19: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2002032
Up to date information on the spread of COVID-19: https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html?utm_source=Nature+Briefing&utm_campaign=ee09f96136-briefing-dy-20200130&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_c9dfd39373-ee09f96136-44653105#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6
For NAU news on the COVID-19, visit the coronavirus page.
Congratulations to Dr. Heather Williamson, assistant professor for the Department of Occupational Therapy and the Center for Health Equity Research, who was recently appointed to the Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) board of directors. The appointment is for a two-year term.
Dr. Williamson has worked in health care, social services and public health addressing in the needs of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Florida, Arkansas and Arizona. Her goals are to address the health equity of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities as well as other underserved populations.
Would you like to talk about your Alzheimer’s disease or dementia caregiving experience? Researchers from the Southwest Health Equity Research Collaborative (SHERC) are conducting a study that will identify the needs and assets of diverse caregivers of persons with Alzheimer’s and related dementias (ADRD) in northern Arizona.
The multi-disciplinary research team received a one-year, $374,906 administrative supplement grant from the National Institutes of Health to study diverse caregivers of persons with ADRD living in northern Arizona.
Family caregivers provide the bulk of care to individuals with Alzheimer’s and similar conditions. These intense responsibilities cause many caregivers to experience high rates of chronic stress, anxiety, depression, and physical health conditions. The symptoms intensify for caregivers of diverse and rural backgrounds who have fewer means to access health and support resources, according to past research.
To identify caregiver needs, researchers from the study will conduct focus groups and surveys of family caregivers as well as interview policymakers and providers. The research team will also produce a report on the healthcare and social support resources that are available to caregivers in northern Arizona, and participants will receive personalized maps and information on what resources are close to them. In the future, the results will be used to reduce health inequities of American Indian, Latino, and rural caregivers and develop a multi-level understanding of their needs to promote future policies, practices, and research initiatives.
The grant is led by principal investigator Dr. Julie Baldwin, director of the Center of Health Equity Research with co-investigators Dr. Dorothy Dunn, associate professor for the NAU School of Nursing, Dr. Evie Garcia, associate professor for the NAU Department of Educational Psychology, Dr. Michael McCarthy, associate professor for the Department of Social Work, and Dr. Heather Williamson, assistant professor for CHER and the NAU Occupational Therapy department, with the assistance of Rachel Bacon, the project coordinator, and Morgan Regalado Hustead, a doctoral student. The project is funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health under grant No. 3U54MD012388-03S1.
If you know of caregivers, providers, or policy makers who might be interested in participating in this study, please contact Rachel Bacon at Rachel.Bacon@nau.edu. The online survey associated with this study is also up and ready. Follow this link to take it now, or share it with a caregiver you know!
A standing-room-only audience of more than 100 people filled the Native American Cultural Center at Northern Arizona University for Dr. Jennifer Denetdale’s presentation on “Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women” on Feb. 5, 2020.
Dr. Denetdale (Diné) is a professor of American Studies at The University of New Mexico, and is a member of the Missing & Murdered Diné Relatives (MMDR) working group, which started in May 2019. She received the UNM Presidential Award of Distinction in 2017.
According to Dr. Denetdale, the “lack of resources to ensure the safety of Navajo women––combined with the socio-economic challenges within the Navajo Nation, gang violence, poverty, and low educational attainment––perpetuate a systemic culture of violence against Navajo families and communities.”
Dr. Denetdale maintains that underpinning the lack of resources and socio-economic challenges experienced by Navajo people, especially women, is the ongoing deployment of settler colonialism and its logic of elimination.
“My job is to illuminate the structures that sustain violence against our people and to disrupt colonial violence,” Dr. Denetdale said.
Dr. Denetdale said that from 1951 to 2019, there were 164 documented missing Navajo persons cases, with 30 % female and 70 % male and an average age of 31. Twenty-two percent of the cases reported involved girls under 18 years old.
Dr. Denetdale said that the MMDR Working Group is creating a Missing Persons Community Toolkit that would include:
Also presenting was Jolene Holgate, MMDR coordinator, who said the MMDR Working group is now “coordinating with existing Navajo Nation working groups and available resources to address missing and murdered Navajo people,” and that the Navajo Nation Police Department is creating a Missing Persons Unit and expanding Navajo Nation 911 emergency call services. She said that currently, resources are inadequate. Within the Navajo Nation, there is only one police officer for every 1,000 Navajo citizens compared to the U.S. national rate of 16 to 24 officers for every 1,000 citizens. Navajo Nation is recruiting additional police officers and is seeking additional resources to hire victim advocates.
“Dr. Denetdale’s work and advocacy is pivotal to understanding the determinants of Indigenous health and provides Indigenous public health advocates like me with historical knowledge to create effective and community-informed solutions to stop violence against Native women,” said Carmenlita Chief, a senior program coordinator at the NAU Center for Health Equity Research and contributing MMDR task force member, who attended the event.
The “Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women” event was sponsored by NAU’s Women’s and Gender Studies, Applied Indigenous Studies, Native American Cultural Center, Office of Native American Initiatives, and the Southwest Health Equity Research Collaborative. The event was also partially sponsored by NIH/NIMHD U54MD012388.
For more information on MMDR, visit their Facebook page.
Congratulations to Carmenlita Chief, senior program coordinator for Northern Arizona University Center for Health Equity Research (CHER) and the Southwest Health Equity Research Collaborative (SHERC), who was recently appointed as vice president of the Native Americans for Community Action, Inc. (NACA) executive board of directors. The appointment is for a one-year term effective January 15.
Chief has a Bachelor of Science in Conservation Biology from Arizona State University and a Master of Public Health from the University of Arizona.