COVID Continues, Anti-racism Efforts Emerge

Yesterday, we reached the kind of milestone no one wants. There are now more than two million cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. Although a number of states currently show increases in infections, cases in Minnesota are leveling off with fewer hospitalizations and deaths. We all know that could quickly change, and we continue to remain ready to respond to new developments.

With this in mind, I thought you’d like to hear some of the good news that has already resulted from your hard work.

  • As part of our M Health Fairview partnership, a community testing site is being developed at the Progressive Baptist Church in St. Paul to offer drive-up and walk-up testing options periodically over the next several months.
  • Of the more than 600 staff working at Bethesda Hospital, only two have contracted COVID-19. The amount of staff effort that represents is amazing.
  • Also reflecting incredible effort, the outstanding patient care at Bethesda has resulted in survival rates significantly higher than the norm, 82% survival overall and 75% survival for ICU patients. By contrast, survival rates for ICU patients in New York were 12%, in Seattle 50%, and in Wuhan, China, 39%.
  • The response to internal and external COVID-related grant opportunities continues to be overwhelming, with 20 proposals submitted last week alone and well over 100 proposals submitted total.
  • Publishing efforts have been active throughout the school. Check out the new website featuring Medical School publications related to COVID-19.

And, as we begin to mobilize our efforts to remove racism and bias, I would ask all of you to take a few minutes to read the Medical School’s Statement on the Death of George Floyd, which was released this week. In it, we describe the initial guiding principles we will follow to create change. This is just a start. We will continuously evaluate the success of our efforts and modify our work to ensure we are getting meaningful, lasting results.

I would also strongly recommend that you read “Creating Real Change at Academic Medical Centers — How Social Movements Can Be Timely Catalysts” and “Stolen Breaths” from the New England Journal of Medicine. If you are not already familiar with it, please also read a brief history of the Southside African American Community in Minneapolis.

I want to thank everyone who has shared their experiences of racism, suggestions for improvement, ideas for new directions, and concerns about what you have seen or read. This is how I (and we) learn and improve. I’m sure everything hasn’t been said yet, so please take a moment and use the Feedback button below.