- Johns Hopkins Magazine
- Technical and Scientific Resource to Meatless Monday
- How it all began
- Meatless Monday Outreach
- Hopkins Hospital wants to tear down Brady Building for a larger replacement
- Cancer Update from Johns Hopkins Hospital
- Johns Hopkins and Bloomberg Philanthropies, with New York State, Launch Online Course to Train Army of Contact Tracers to Slow Spread of COVID-19
Johns Hopkins Magazine
Here and Abroad
In October, Johns Hopkins' Nitze School of Advanced International Studies named Jan Kiely the new American co-director of the Hopkins-Nanjing Center, a post-graduate program run jointly by Hopkins and Nanjing University.
Kiely, who was the director of the Furman in China Programs and an associate professor of history and Asian studies at Furman University in South Carolina, will be responsible, along with the Hopkins-Nanjing Center's Chinese co-director, for managing the center's affairs.
He will also teach courses at SAIS on the history of U.S.-Chinese social and cultural interaction.
A Bloomberg School of Public Health study, published in the September/October issue of Health Affairs, reports that the United States spends more on health care than other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries (OECD is an organization of developed countries committed to democracy and the market economy), due to higher health care prices and per capita incomes. Using 2004 data, the most recent available, the study found that per capita health care spending here was two and a half times greater than the OECD median; we spend 15.3 percent of the GDP on health care; and we have fewer physicians, nurses, and hospital beds per capita than the OECD median.
In September, JHPIEGO, an international health organization affiliated with Johns Hopkins University, was named NGO Leader of the Year by the Malaria Foundation for its work in Africa. The 2007 Malaria Awards also recognized the University Leader of the Year (the Bloomberg School), the Educational Document of the Year (the Bloomberg School's Malaria Course, one of its OpenCourseWare online lectures), Celebrity of the Year (Bono), Movie Actors of the Year (Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt), and the First Lady Malaria Advocate of the Year (Laura Bush), among others. — CP
“This past summer, I was enrolled in four courses, including Systems Counseling and Consultation: Family, School, and Community, taught by Eric J. Green [assistant professor at the School of Education's Montgomery County campus].
From the moment I received the syllabus, I knew he set high expectations and that he would challenge us to do our best. Dr. Green has a way of making everyone feel comfortable. He has a reassuring voice and a one-of-a-kind sense of humor.
He also shares a lot of his own experiences with us-he brings his own everyday life into the classroom and connects it to the curriculum so that we are able to fully understand the concepts taught. His positive energy and welcoming nature are contagious.
Even after a strenuous day, I looked forward to sitting through one of his lectures.
“I already use what I learned in his course in my work as a teacher, collaborating and consulting with other staff members at the school-the principal, the management team-in order to better help students who might have behavioral problems, problems at home, or a language barrier. I can use the methods I learned in class to take a systematic approach to the consultation. If we don't collaborate, if we're not brainstorming, we don't have results.
“Besides being my instructor, Dr. Green is also now my adviser. Whenever I have a concern, I know I can rely on Dr. Green. He has guided me in making choices that have enabled me to thrive in the school counseling program.”
Jaclyn Smith is a third-grade teacher at the Fields Road Elementary School in Montgomery County. She is working toward her master's degree in school counseling at Johns Hopkins' School of Education.
The Center for Africana Studies awarded grants of up to $1,500 each to six students last summer to support undergraduate and graduate research in African studies, African American studies, and African diaspora studies. Here's a look at two of the recipients:
Steffi Cerato, A&S '08: “A Glance at Savannah's Free Black Community in the Decades Before the Civil War”
Last summer, Cerato conducted research at the South Carolina and Georgia state archives on free blacks filing lawsuits in Southern courts prior to the 1860s.
In the course of that research, she found documents for Savannah that detailed substantial portions of the area's free black population.
The documents recorded their ages, occupations, residences, and birthplaces, as well as the names of white citizens who acted as legal representatives for the people listed in the registers. The result is a detailed picture of these communities in and around the city.
Cerato says the records speak volumes as to the size and economic diversity of the free black population and provide information about family ties and migration patterns.
Lindsey Reynolds, SPH, second-year PhD student: “Orphans, Vulnerability, and the Politics of Development Aid in South Africa”
Reynolds' doctoral research focuses on the role George W.
Bush's President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has in shaping children's programs in South Africa. PEPFAR guidelines define who is eligible for care-orphans and vulnerable children-and the services they can receive.
Reynolds is examining how these guidelines shape not just the programs but also the experiences of children and families in AIDS-affected communities.
Her work explores how a policy decision finds expression as it travels from Washington to local African communities and back. The grant enabled her to conduct preliminary research to plan her dissertation. —MB
Return to November 2007 Table of Contents
Technical and Scientific Resource to Meatless Monday
The Center provides technical assistance and serves as a science advisor to the national Meatless Monday campaign. The Center harnesses expertise from throughout JHU to conduct activities that contribute to the scientific foundation of the campaign.
This includes a range of work that builds upon the Center’s comparative strengths as an interdisciplinary academic center within a school of public health, and includes: research projects, literature reviews, communication and science translation activities, educational programming, as well as outreach activities that engage selected public health and nutrition science communities.
How it all began
The Center for a Livable Future (CLF) has been integrally involved with the Meatless Monday campaign since its creation in 2003 as a product of several conversations between CLF staff and advertising mastermind, Sid Lerner about high-fat American diets and the increased risk of chronic, preventable diseases.
National dietary recommendations in the Surgeon General's Healthy People report and by the American Heart Association suggested reducing consumption of saturated fat – found mainly in meat and animal products – by about 15 percent.
Recognizing that 15 percent works out to one day of the week and remembering back to the Meatless Monday rationing strategy used during both world wars, Sid Lerner worked to revitalize Meatless Monday as a public health campaign with a creative grassroots marketing strategy.
The goal of the campaign is to encourage people to refrain from eating meat one day a week as a way to improve not only individual health, but also the health of the planet by reducing the environmental burden associated with meat production.
Building upon the success of Meatless Monday and leveraging the unique cultural associations of Monday as a day for starting healthy behaviors, the Monday Campaigns organization was founded in 2009.
Today, working with the Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, and many other organizations across the country, the Monday Campaigns aims to help end preventable disease in the U.S. using the “Monday approach” of communicating health messages surrounding physical activity, stress reduction, smoking cessation, sexual health and nutrition. two literature reviews conducted by the Center, using weekly periodic prompts and tapping into natural behavior patterns on Mondays (a day that people are more ly to go to the gym, start a diet, quit smoking, etc.) can help to improve health promotion strategies.
Meatless Monday Outreach
The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) is thrilled to attend the EAT Stockholm Food Forum, where we’re exploring a range of solutions for achieving healthy and sustainable diets and representing Meatless Monday, a campaign for which we serve as technical adviser.
On the eve of the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) in San Francisco, the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) and the Meatless Monday Campaign co-hosted an event to highlight the role businesses, organizations, and communities can play in shifting towards climate-friendly diets.
Hopkins Hospital wants to tear down Brady Building for a larger replacement
Photo Ed Gunts
James “Diamond Jim” Brady was a colorful New York railroad tycoon known for his love of flashy jewelry, which he called “my pets” and wore on every article of clothing, even his underwear. He also suffered with prostate problems and diabetes.
In the early 1900s he went to the best hospitals in New York and New England in search of a cure for his ailments, but all of them turned him away. Then he visited the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore and was treated successfully.
Brady was so grateful that he gave Hopkins $220,000–worth millions today–so it could help other patients the way it helped him. The result was the first dedicated hospital for urology in the United States, the James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute, and a seven-story building to house it, the Brady Building, which opened in 1915.
Located at 1770 E. Monument St., the Brady Building stands today as one of the oldest structures on Hopkins’ East Baltimore medical campus, and one of the first named after a patient rather than a doctor or administrator.
Brady’s gift represented one of the largest donations to Hopkins since the $7 million bequest from its founder.
Another large gift came from Harriet Lane Johnston, the niece of President James Buchanan and widow of banker Henry Johnston, who gave Hopkins more than $400,000 in 1903 in memory of two sons who died in childhood. Hopkins used her gift to build the Harriett Lane Home for Invalid Children, the first hospital in the nation devoted to children.
For years, Brady’s portrait was displayed in the building’s lobby as a reminder of his donation. It was the second largest portrait of a single individual at the hospital, after one of Johns Hopkins.
Today, a smaller version is shown in a timeline of “highlights, milestones, discoveries” ona main corridor within the hospital. Newspaper writer H. L.
Mencken counted “no less than nine gorgeous diamonds” in the portrait, including one that was three-quarters of an inch in diameter.
“This monster is in ‘white satin necktie,'” Mencken observed in an article. “Another, almost as large, is in a ring on his left hand. Two more appear in what is to be seen of his watch-chain. The remaining five glitter from the buttons of his waistcoast, which bulges beautifully over the noble arc of his equator.”
One hundred and thirteen years after it opened, this brick-and-mortar reminder of Hopkins’ beginnings and Brady’s generosity may soon disappear.
Hopkins has applied to the city for a permit to demolish the Brady Building to make way for a new structure.
The building’s occupants have been relocated, the loading dock has been closed and the building has been fenced off while the interior is gutted in preparation for the wrecking ball.
According to Sally MacConnell, senior vice president in charge of facilities for the Johns Hopkins Health System and vice president of facilities for the hospital, Hopkins wants to replace the Brady building with an extension of the adjacent Children’s Medical and Surgical Centerbuilding (CMSC) and is currently working on conceptual plans and schematics. She did not provide a budget or construction timetable for the proposed replacement.
CMSC opened in 1964, the first building at the hospital in which a relative could stay overnight at the patient’s bedside. No longer occupied by pediatric patients, it has most recently housed a variety of uses, including faculty offices and research labs.
An addition to CMSC would be one of the first new buildings to rise on the main campus since the Charlotte R. Bloomberg and Sheikh Zayed towers opened along Orleans Street in 2012 and the Skip Viragh Outpatient Cancer Building opened on Broadway. It would also be one of the first demolitions in many years of one of Hopkins’ older structures.
Despite its history as the first U.S. home of a then-new branch of medicine, and the link with its famous namesake and benefactor, the Brady Building is not protected from demolition by local or national landmark status.
Only three structures on Hopkins’ medical campus are listed on the National Register of Historic Places: the domed Billings administration building, and the Marburg and Wilmer buildings, all on Broadway.
A fourth, the Henry Phipps Psychiatric Clinic, where Zelda Fitzgerald and others were treated, was renovated for office use after preservationists questioned an earlier Hopkins plan to tear it down.
Hopkins spokeswoman Helen Jones referred questions about the demolition request and the replacement project to Kim Hoppe, director of public relations and corporate communications for Johns Hopkins Medicine, and Ken Willis, assistant director. They did not respond to requests for information.
Baltimore’s housing department has issued permits for interior demolition work, which is underway. According to housing officials, the city has not issued a demolition permit for the structure itself but is reviewing Hopkins’ application. Berg Corporation would be the demolition contractor, according to a sign on the building.
Thomas Harcum, an inspector with the housing department, said he can understand why Hopkins wants to take down the Brady building.
The 1915 structure does not occupy the entire site, and Hopkins would have a larger footprint to build a replacement if it can use the loading dock and build out to the street, he said.
Constructing a new building may also be less expensive than retrofitting a 113-year-old structure, he added. “It makes a lot of sense.”
Harcum noted this demolition is challenging because the Brady building is so close to other structures, including buildings where patients receive care.
He said demolition work can add dust and debris to the air, and that could be especially harmful to people with respiratory problems.
He also noted that the Brady Building is close to Monument Street, where cars and people pass by throughout the day.
Harcum said the housing department wants to be sure patients and staff are protected during any demolition, and he suggested that parts of the adjoining hospital may need to be evacuated while work is underway.
He also said the sidewalk on the south side of Monument Street needs to be closed, which it has been, partially. If adequate precautions aren’t taken to protect the public, he said, “someone could get killed.
Hopkins has at least one recent precedent for evacuating part of the hospital because of construction activity. During renovation work in the Meyer Building several years ago, Hopkins temporarily relocated psychiatry and behavioral sciences patients so they wouldn’t be disturbed by construction-related sounds on other floors.
Tammy Hawley, chief of strategic communications for Baltimore’s housing department, said the city has stringent guidelines that demolition contractors must follow to protect the public and dispose of debris in accordance with the city’s sustainability standards. She provided a statement from Berg that outlines the steps it would take to meet the city’s requirements.
Preservationists, meanwhile, say they weren’t aware of Hopkins’ demolition plans. Representatives from Baltimore’s Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation noted that the city agency would not necessarily be alerted to the demolition plan because the building does not have local landmark status, which would give CHAP authority to review and approve Hopkins’ plans.
The building’s history is well documented in Hopkins publications and biographies of Brady. The accounts describe a structure that is significant for the pioneering work that took place there, as well as its connection to a wealthy businessman.
“The first urology department in the United States–and only the second in the world–set up to provide patient care backed by clinical and basic research, the Brady Urological Institute quickly becomes a leading urology center and one of the main referral centers for prostate care,” the timeline in the hospital states.
Brady (1856-1917) was hardly the most upstanding of New Yorkers. To the contrary, he was known as much for a voracious sexual appetite as for the diamonds he wore. He was a Gilded Age version of the modern day film mogul Harvey Weinstein, one of the first corporate executives brought down by the #MeToo movement, with more than a little Trumpesque hedonism thrown in.
A panel on the history of the Brady Building at Johns Hopkins. Photo by Ed Gunts.
Born in New York City, the son of Irish immigrants, Brady was a self-made millionaire who never married but was well known for being the first New Yorker to own an automobile and for his longtime relationship with the actress and singer Lillian Russell.
His reputation was heightened by the publication of a 1934 biography, the release of a 1935 movie by Preston Sturges entitled “Diamond Jim,” and a 1940 movie, “Lillian Russell.
” He is thought to have been the inspiration for the character of “Big Jim” in the Bob Dylan song, “Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts.”
Brady’s gastronomic habits were also legendary, and reportedly contributed to the health problems that led him to Hopkins. He had a reputation for eating so much that a gourmet restaurant chain, Lawry’s Prime Rib, named a steak dinner after him. After he died, doctors discovered that his stomach was six times the size of that of an average man.
“His superhuman appetite established him as the ‘greatest eater’ of the late 19th century America’s Gilded Age,” according to Lawry’s’ website. “It was said that in one sitting he could put away enough food to feed ten people. A midday snack alone might include three dozen oysters, six lobsters, turtle soup, a steak and a two pounds of bonbons for dessert.”
In its timeline, Hopkins says Brady’s doctor, Hugh Young, came to be known as “the father of modern urology,” which is the branch of medicine that focuses on the function and disorders of the urinary system in males and females, and the male reproductive organs.
According to Hopkins’ timeline, Young is credited with performing the first radical prostatectomy in the world and playing a lead role in transforming urology into a major surgical specialty. He also developed the first residency in urology and founded the Journal of Urology.
The Brady Building was designed by George Archer of Archer & Allen architects, a firm that designed several other buildings for Hopkins.
Archer’s residential masterpieces included the white marble Graham-Hughes residence at the southwest corner of N. Charles and W. Madison streets in Mount Vernon, and the town house at 6 W. Mount Vernon Place.
The Brady Building consisted of seven stories and a basement, with an exterior of brick and stone; its construction cost $200,000.
When it opened, the Brady Building contained beds for about 60 patients, plus labs, clinics and waiting areas. The basement had rooms for “animal experimentation.” Interns lived on the sixth floor.
The Urological Institute was so successful that it was later moved from the Brady Building to another building on the medical campus. Most recently, the Brady Building was used to house employees from a series of medical departments, including radiology, oral surgery, neonatology, infectious disease and nephrology.
In all, the Hopkins medical campus contains about 5 million square feet of space for teaching and research and another 5 million square feet for patient care.
The Brady Building is one of several older structures along Monument Street that Hopkins planners have identified as possible candidates for demolition and new construction.
Others include the Carnegie Building and Halsted/Osler, also steeped in Hopkins history.
City housing officials say they won’t issue a demolition permit for the Brady Building until they visit the site and are certain that the public will be protected. As of mid December, a date for the site visit had not been scheduled, Hawley said.
Cancer Update from Johns Hopkins Hospital
Just as urban legends and rumors eventually become attached to the most famous exemplars of the subjects they discuss (e.g.
, any fast food-related legend, no matter where it originates, will inevitably be told about McDonald’s), so do many of the spurious medical articles circulated on the Internet eventually become attributed to the world-renowned Johns Hopkins university, medical school, and hospitals.
A putative “Cancer Update from Johns Hopkins Hospital” began as an e-mailed preface to another piece about the supposed dangers of using microwave ovens to heat food stored in plastic containers:
CANCER UPDATE FROM JOHN HOPKINS HOSPITAL, US – PLEASE READ
1. Every person has cancer cells in the body. These cancer cells do not show up in the standard tests until they have multiplied to a few billion. When doctors tell cancer patients that there are no more cancer cells in their bodies after treatment, it just means the tests are unable to detect the cancer cells because they have not reached the detectable size.
2. Cancer cells occur between 6 to more than 10 times in a person’s lifetime.
3. When the person’s immune system is strong the cancer cells will be destroyed and prevented from multiplying and forming tumors.
4. When a person has cancer it indicates the person has multiple nutritional deficiencies. These could be due to genetic, environmental, food and lifestyle factors.
5. To overcome the multiple nutritional deficiencies, changing diet and including supplements will strengthen the immune system.
6. Chemotherapy involves poisoning the rapidly-growing cancer cells and also destroys rapidly-growing healthy cells in the bone marrow, gastro-intestinal tract etc, and can cause organ damage, liver, kidneys, heart, lungs etc.
7. Radiation while destroying cancer cells also burns, scars and damages healthy cells, tissues and organs.
8. Initial treatment with chemotherapy and radiation will often reduce tumor size. However prolonged use of chemotherapy and radiation do not result in more tumor destruction.
9. When the body has too much toxic burden from chemotherapy and radiation the immune system is either compromised or destroyed, hence the person can succumb to various kinds of infections and complications.
10. Chemotherapy and radiation can cause cancer cells to mutate and become resistant and difficult to destroy. Surgery can also cause cancer cells to spread to other sites.
11. An effective way to battle cancer is to starve the cancer cells by not feeding it with the foods it needs to multiply.
CANCER CELLS FEED ON:
a. Sugar is a cancer-feeder. By cutting off sugar it cuts off one important food supply to the cancer cells. Sugar substitutes NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, etc are made with Aspartame and it is harmful.
A better natural substitute would be Manuka honey or molasses but only in very small amounts. Table salt has a chemical added to make it white in color. Better alternative is Bragg’s aminos or sea salt.
b. Milk causes the body to produce mucus, especially in the gastro-intestinal tract. Cancer feeds on mucus. By cutting off milk and substituting with unsweetened soya milk cancer cells are being starved.
c. Cancer cells thrive in an acid environment. A meat-based diet is acidic and it is best to eat fish, and a little chicken rather than beef or pork. Meat also contains livestock antibiotics, growth hormones and parasites, which are all harmful, especially to people with cancer.
d. A diet made of 80% fresh vegetables and juice, whole grains, seeds, nuts and a little fruits help put the body into an alkaline environment. About 20% can be from cooked food including beans.
Fresh vegetable juices provide live enzymes that are easily absorbed and reach down to cellular levels within 15 minutes to nourish and enhance growth of healthy cells.
To obtain live enzymes for building healthy cells try and drink fresh vegetable juice (most vegetables including bean sprouts) and eat some raw vegetables 2 or 3 times a day. Enzymes are destroyed at temperatures of 104 degrees F (40 degrees C).
e. Avoid coffee, tea, and chocolate, which have high caffeine. Green tea is a better alternative and has cancer-fighting properties. Water-best to drink purified water, or filtered, to avoid known toxins and heavy metals in tap water. Distilled water is acidic, avoid it.
12. Meat protein is difficult to digest and requires a lot of digestive enzymes. Undigested meat remaining in the intestines become putrefied and leads to more toxic buildup.
13. Cancer cell walls have a tough protein covering. By refraining from or eating less meat it frees more enzymes to attack the protein walls of cancer cells and allows the body’s killer cells to destroy the cancer cells.
14. Some supplements build up the immune system (IP6, Flor-ssence, Essiac, anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, EFAs etc.) to enable the body’s own killer cells to destroy cancer cells. Other supplements vitamin E are known to cause apoptosis, or programmed cell death, the body’s normal method of disposing of damaged, unwanted, or unneeded cells.
15. Cancer is a disease of the mind, body, and spirit. A proactive and positive spirit will help the cancer warrior be a survivor. Anger, unforgiveness and bitterness put the body into a stressful and acidic environment. Learn to have a loving and forgiving spirit. Learn to relax and enjoy life.
16. Cancer cells cannot thrive in an oxygenated environment. Exercising daily, and deep breathing help to get more oxygen down to the cellular level. Oxygen therapy is another means employed to destroy cancer cells.
Both of those articles were said to have originated with Johns Hopkins, but neither was issued by (or had any connection to) the Johns Hopkins university or hospital, and Johns Hopkins has disclaimed the contents of both:
Information falsely attributed to Johns Hopkins called, “CANCER UPDATE FROM JOHN HOPKINS” describes properties of cancer cells and suggests ways of preventing cancer.
Johns Hopkins did not publish the information, which often is an email attachment, nor do we endorse its contents.
The email also contains an incorrect spelling of our institution as “John” Hopkins; whereas, the correct spelling is “Johns” Hopkins.
Another hoax email that has been circulating since 2004 regarding plastic containers, bottles, wrap claiming that heat releases dioxins which cause cancer also was not published by Johns Hopkins.
The web site of Johns Hopkins’ Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center also noted of the “Cancer Update” e-mail that:
It has become such a problem that the National Cancer Institute, American Cancer Society, and individual cancer centers the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center have posted warnings on their Web sites.
Emails offering easy remedies for avoiding and curing cancer are the latest Web-influenced trend. To gain credibility, the anonymous authors falsely attribute their work to respected research institutions Johns Hopkins.
This is the case with the so-called “Cancer Update from Johns Hopkins.”
The gist of this viral email is that cancer therapies of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy do not work against the disease and people should instead choose a variety of dietary strategies.
Traditional therapies, such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy, work. The evidence is the millions of cancer survivors in the United States today who are alive because of these therapies.
We recognize that treatments don’t work in every patient, or sometimes work for awhile and then stop working, and there are some cancers that are more difficult to cure than others.
These problems are the focus of ongoing cancer research.
Interested readers are directed to a point-by-point debunking of the “Cancer Update” e-mail published by the Kimmel Cancer Center.
Johns Hopkins and Bloomberg Philanthropies, with New York State, Launch Online Course to Train Army of Contact Tracers to Slow Spread of COVID-19
Newswise — With the urgent need to limit the spread of COVID-19, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, with Bloomberg Philanthropies, today launched a free online course to help train a new cadre of contact tracers to reach and assist people exposed to the virus. Taking and passing this course will be a requirement for thousands of contact tracers being hired by the state of New York to fight the pandemic.
The new course, “COVID-19 Contact Tracing,” highlights how contact tracing is a key component of a public health strategy to slow the spread of COVID-19 without large-scale shutdowns and stay-at-home orders.
Through presentations by expert faculty and role plays, the course teaches the basics of interviewing people diagnosed with COVID-19, finding their close contacts who might have been exposed, and providing them advice and support for self-quarantine.
Contact tracing is a public health practice that has been successful in breaking the chain of transmission of other infectious diseases, including measles and tuberculosis.
New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and former three-term mayor of New York City, recently announced an initiative to develop a large-scale contact tracing program in New York state.
The program will include a baseline of 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 residents in the state and will utilize additional tracers the projected number of cases in each region.
The program is expected to have 6,400 to 17,000 tracers statewide depending on the projected number of cases.
Bloomberg Philanthropies is supporting the state Department of Health with recruiting and interviewing applicants, and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School has developed this online curriculum to train candidates.
Vital Strategies’ initiative Resolve to Save Lives will provide technical and operational advising to New York state health department staff.
The program will serve as an important resource to gather best practices and as a model that can be replicated across the nation.
“Contact tracing allows us to communicate with people infected with COVID-19, identify those who may have been exposed, and provide all of them with guidance to limit the spread of the disease,” said Bloomberg.
“This new training course, which we’re making available online for free, will teach contact tracers how to do this work effectively—and help cities and states across the nation undertake these critical efforts.
“Testing and tracing are critical to our reopening plan, and New York is leading the nation on both fronts.
We’re testing more than any other state and now we’re working with Bloomberg Philanthropies and Johns Hopkins to quickly build an army of tracers for our contact tracing program that can serve as a model for the rest of the nation,” said Governor Cuomo.
“This innovative online training course is a key component of our program that will provide tracers with the tools to effectively trace COVID-19 cases at the scale we need to fight this pandemic.”
A recent report from the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security at the Bloomberg School estimated that the current situation in the United States requires a new workforce of at least 100,000 contact tracers to limit the spread of COVID-19 and begin to reopen the economy.
To support the effort, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has developed the contact tracing course that is available for registration on the Coursera platform starting Monday, May 11, 2020.
It is open to anyone in the world, whether they are interested in becoming a contact tracer or just want to understand the process. Applicants in New York state will be invited to take the course after their application is reviewed and they pass an initial interview.
The interview, followed by taking the course and passing the final assessment within 72 hours, will be required to be hired into the New York state program.
“Controlling the spread of COVID-19 will require the hiring and training of a public health workforce in record time,” said Joshua M. Sharfstein, MD, vice dean for Public Health and Community Engagement at the Bloomberg School.
“This introductory course provides a strong foundation in the core concepts of contact tracing, from how to talk to people about COVID-19 to key ethical principles.”
The lead instructor of the course is Emily Gurley, PhD, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the Bloomberg School.
Among other contributors to the class is Bloomberg School senior research associate Tolbert Nyenswah, LLB, MPH, who was the incident commander for the response to the Ebola outbreak in Liberia.
The contact tracing course, which takes six hours to complete, is divided into five sections or “modules.” The course covers:
- Basic information on the virus and COVID-19, including symptoms of infection and how the virus is transmitted;
- Fundamentals of contact tracing, such as how to define a case, identify their contacts, and calculate how long a contact should isolate;
- Steps involved in investigating cases and tracing their contacts, including simulated scenes performed by professional actors who illustrate potential interactions that tracers may experience with infected individuals and their contacts;
- Ethics of contact tracing, including balancing privacy and public health considerations, and examples of basic technology tools that can facilitate contact tracing, such as using text messaging for check-ins and reminders;
- Skills for effective communications in the tracing process, such as what it means to be an “active listener” and how to deal with common challenges that arise when investigating cases.
“We hope the excellent content and easy accessibility of this virtual training program can contribute to achieving the speed and scale required to get the New York State program up and running,” said Kelly Henning, MD, who leads the Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Health program. “We believe it also can be useful for health departments around the country and around the world eager to aggressively expand contact tracing.”
“The Bloomberg School of Public Health has been at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19 since the beginning, helping leaders and the public understand and respond to this pandemic with the best available science and evidence,” said Ellen J.
MacKenzie, PhD, ScM, dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Massive contact tracing is a critical component of our recovery.
We are thrilled to bring our deep expertise on this important public health practice, as well as our experience in industry-leading online teaching, to the training and curriculum for this groundbreaking effort.”
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