Editorial Board Memorandum

Race as a social determinant of health takes center stage.

Over the past weekend, we have seen our country react to the on-camera killing of George Floyd. Since the time of the killing, the police officer who ended Floyd's life has been charged with murder and manslaughter. It is more clear than ever that racism and discrimination are detrimental to the health and safety of minorities in the United States, particularly Black Americans. Since the outbreak began here in the United States, Brief19 has covered reports in the medical literature describing worse outcomes experienced by Black and other people of color with SARS-CoV-2 infection. Among the first inequities described was lower rates of viral testing among non-White persons. Later, disproportionately higher rates of hospitalization and deaths among Black persons have been repeatedly shown in various settings around the country. It seems increasingly apparent that the disparate outcomes have more to do with chronic and systemic issues which are manifestations of our country's history of structural racism than differences in acute care. That is to say, it is the effects of racism, not a patient's race (i.e. not any genetic predispositions), that accounts for many of the health inequities before us. For example, it is not just Black persons but Black Americans in particular that are known as having amongst the highest rates of elevated blood pressure in the world, a risk for poorer covid-19-related outcomes. Covid-19 has merely pulled the curtain back on the fact that many serious acute illnesses (including infections like covid-19 but also many others) are far more likely to become critical and life-threatening when pre-existing chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure go undertreated or even undiagnosed owing to lack of primary and preventative care. Lack of medical treatment can be the result of a number of factors including inadequate access to healthcare or suspicion of the healthcare system resulting from previous breaches of trust. Over the past few days the American Medical Association, and several emergency medicine societies have issued strong statements to reflect this, specifically calling out police brutality and structural racism, and urging for systemic changes that will provide care and outcome equity in the future. As the AMA writes, "racism is detrimental to health in all its forms." Brief19 remains committed to highlighting the injustices of racism and inequality in medicine, and the consequences such racism has on the health of our communities. In the meantime, experts have expressed concern for covid-19 spread during protests, and offered concrete suggestions for how demonstrators and all of the public can limit their risk.

—Brief19 Editorial Board


GetUsPPE Weekly Briefing

This document features the GetUsPPE.org's weekly briefing in an edited and condensed format for brief19.com.

image

By Amanda Peery-Wolf

GetUsPPE Article in The Lancet

The Lancet recently published a Correspondence authored by several of our team members. The article analyzes data from GetUsPPE's Demand Data Hub, showing that the PPE shortage remains widespread. It looks at the breakdown of registered needs across income quadrants, regions of the country, and urban, suburban, and rural areas. This study establishes GetUsPPE as the leading source of PPE demand data in the United States.

The Fairness Framework

One of the most heart-wrenching questions our team faces is where and how to distribute a limited supply of PPE. Given the urgency of the PPE crisis, we are prioritizing speed and efficiency in getting PPE to frontline healthcare workers. But with COVID-19 continuing to have a disproportionate effect on under-resourced communities, we are also committed to not perpetuating inequities in access to medical supplies.

Public health equity and logistics experts on our team consulted with other experts and worked with developers to create what we are calling the Fairness Framework for the distribution of PPE. The Fairness Framework is built around an algorithm that allows us to consider factors such as whether a facility accepts Medicaid, whether it offers low- or no-cost treatment, and demographic data about the population it serves.

We hope that someday soon we will not need the Fairness Framework, or any framework, to think about the distribution of necessary medical equipment. We hope that someday soon every frontline worker will have the PPE they need to stay safe. 

Makers Mobilized

Makers are an important force bolstering the global supply of PPE. The GetUsPPE Makers Team works with maker networks all over the country, including a group called Open Source Medical Supplies (OSMS). In this video, OSMS tells the story of 28,000 makers signing up for their movement off the bat. They reported making 238,000 units of PPE across the world in just one week. To join the maker force and register PPE designs for vetting, visit the makers page on our site.

A Sampling of GetUsPPE Success Stories

Over the past week, GetUsPPE and its regional affiliates have delivered more shipments than can fit in a briefing, but here are a few stories from around the country:

In continuing joint efforts between GetUsPPE and Boston Scientific, 7,800 isolation gowns went out to twelve sites, including a site within a Native American reservation. Three thousand face shields arrived in Oregon, to be distributed to 60 locations across the state (below far left). Cole Grinnel at Morgan State University donated 10,000 nitrile gloves (below far right).

A Call for Volunteers

At GetUsPPE, we're growing quickly and we're looking for volunteers to join our 200-plus-person central organization. We're hoping to fill a wide variety of roles, so whether or not you have experience in healthcare or nonprofit work, you could be a much-needed volunteer. Check out our biggest needs here. Join the charge by filling out our volunteer form or emailing us with a brief description of any relevant skills and experience at volunteer@getusppe.org.

text

International branches of GetUsPPE are springing up across continents, most recently in South Africa, Australia, and India. As we prepare for a potential second wave of COVID-19, volunteers around the world are getting ready to do something about it.

image
In Rhode Island, a regional group distributed 1880 PPE units in a day, with another distribution day to come and the remaining PPE to be given to the RI Department of Health.

GetUsPPE.org’s Weekly Briefing 5/15

This document features the GetUsPPE.org's weekly briefing in an edited and condensed format for brief19.com.

image
Delivery of respirators by Todd and Asher Green.

Big Delivery with Boston Scientific and Amazon, and PPE for Native American Nations

By Amanda Peering We all need good news right about now. So at GetUsPPE, we were heartened by a major accomplishment this week, which we achieved thanks to some of the experienced doctors and scrappy volunteers on our team, along with two industry-leading businesses. In a joint effort with Boston Scientific and Amazon, GetUsPPE delivered one million face shields to hospitals and health centers in more than 40 U.S. states and territories. Read all about it in our Press Release.

This story begins with the healthcare workers who registered their need for PPE on our site, helping us build the country's largest database of PPE demand: the Demand Data Hub. Then Boston Scientific leapt into action to manufacture and donate protective equipment, with employees at twelve of their sites producing face shields by the box-full. Some of these boxes were loaded onto Amazon trucks, while others were transported by grassroots groups of volunteers. At the end of the line, all one million face shields were handed over to healthcare facilities in need from New York to the Navajo Nation.

The Indefatigable Verlon Jose

Tohono O'odham translates to "Desert People." This is the name of a Native American tribe with 34,000 enrolled members whose land stretches from Southern Arizona into Mexico. Verlon Jose is the Governor of the Traditional O'odham Leaders.

While the state of Arizona reopens businesses, the Tohono O'odham Nation is still operating under a stay-at-home order and an enforced curfew. COVID-19 is not as widespread there as it is in the nearby Navajo Nation but, Verlon says, "we're thinking ahead of the game." There is just one grocery store on the reservation, and there are many multigenerational homes, some without running water. Verlon says that COVID-19 "could wipe out our community just like that."

Healthcare workers in Verlon's Nation are in need of almost every type of PPE. ProtectNativeElders, a group working to address PPE shortages in tribal areas, helped coordinate the delivery of 1,000 face shields with GetUsPPE and Boston Scientific, along with 1,000 N95s from another group. "When the supplies were delivered," Verlon says, "there was a sense of relief...there were smiles on the faces of first responders." The need for PPE and essential goods is still great. Beyond that, the people of the Tohono O'odham Nation are anxious but working together to stay safe from the virus. "We've been here 500 years and we'll be here another 500 years," Verlon says, "We'll survive one way or another."

Generosity Takes Flight

In the same area of the country, a father and a son—Todd and Asher Green—landed a small plane under a wide Arizona sky. They had come from Chicago, where they had loaded up the plane with about 10,000 donated respirators collected by the group GetMePPE Chicago.

In Tempe, Todd and Asher were met by volunteers from a nonprofit called StopTheBug. StopTheBug picked up the respirators and set out to distribute them to a dozen tribal nations, including the Hopi, Havasupai, Paiute, Zuni, and Pueblo Nations. A final box was dropped off with the University of Nebraska's UNMC CoRe: Covid Relief group.

A Call for Volunteers

At GetUsPPE, we're growing quickly and we're looking for volunteers to join our 200-plus-person central organization. We're hoping to fill a wide variety of roles, so whether or not you have experience in healthcare or nonprofit work, you could be a much-needed volunteer. Check out our biggest needs here. Join the charge by filling out our volunteer form or emailing us with a brief description of any relevant skills and experience at volunteer@getusppe.org.

image
International branches of GetUsPPE are springing up across continents, most recently in South Africa, Australia, and India. As we prepare for a potential second wave of COVID-19, volunteers around the world are getting ready to do something about it.