- CEPAR: Home Page
- COVID-19 Personal Preparedness
- Overseeing Institution-wide Planning and Response for Disasters and Public Health Threats
- Hopkins on Alert Publications
- CEPAR’s Interim Zika Virus Travel Guidance
- The Role of the Academic Medical Center When Disaster Hits
- COVID-19 misinformation claiming to be from Johns Hopkins circulates widely online
- Confidentiality – Johns Hopkins Employer Health Programs (EHP)
- Privacy and Confidentiality
- Johns Hopkins Medicine Fax Case Study
- Protecting your mental health during the coronavirus pandemic – COVID-19 – Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
- Create structure
- Maintain your physical health
- Support–and create–your community
- Take care of your spirit
- Continue or seek out mental health treatment
CEPAR: Home Page
A new coronavirus has caused an outbreak of respiratory illness called COVID-19, which was first identified in Wuhan, China. The virus is now a global pandemic and has been detected in millions of people around the world, including in the U.S.
The Johns Hopkins Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response, in collaboration with The Johns Hopkins University, the Johns Hopkins Department of Hospital Epidemiology and Infection Control, and the Johns Hopkins Medicine Office of Emergency Management, has created system-wide guidance for faculty members, staff members and students. Read more.
COVID-19 Personal Preparedness
How can you keep you and your loved ones safe during the COVID-19 pandemic? View this personal preparedness checklist.
Overseeing Institution-wide Planning and Response for Disasters and Public Health Threats
CEPAR oversees enterprise-wide planning and response to disasters or other emergencies that may affect the entire Johns Hopkins Medicine and Johns Hopkins University systems. The CEPAR director is Gabe Kelen, M.D., (right) and the executive director is Jim Scheulen, M.B.A. (left).
Hopkins on Alert Publications
Johns Hopkins CEPAR develops a quarterly newsletter highlighting news and information relating to emergency preparedness and CEPAR.
Read the latest Hopkins on Alert articles.
From tricking people into revealing personal information to shutting down entire computer systems, cybercriminals will do anything to get what they want. Attackers can steal identities, medical records and more, but, most often, they want money. It’s important to know the facts if you want to protect yourself against cyberattacks.
CEPAR’s Interim Zika Virus Travel Guidance
Zika is a viral disease spread by a certain types of mosquitoes. Zika can also be passed from a pregnant mother to her unborn baby and through sexual transmission, a blood transfusion or laboratory exposure.
The species of mosquitoes that can carry Zika virus exist in the southern region of the United States, including Maryland.
Zika is usually asymptomatic or a mild illness that requires no specific treatment, but it can cause serious birth defects, such as microcephaly and other neurological conditions.
In 2016, Johns Hopkins CEPAR convened Johns Hopkins institutional leaders and subject matter experts to develop and issue interim travel guidance for faculty, staff, students and trainees. Representatives of academic centers who wish to view a sample of CEPAR’s Zika virus interim travel guidance may click here.
Other Zika virus resources:
Disaster Planning Apps Available
Researchers and scientists with CEPAR's research arm, the National Center for the Study of Preparedness and Catastrophic Event Response (PACER) have developed a suite of applications to help hospitals, emergency departments, first responder organizations and disaster planners prepare for disasters and flu outbreaks.
Download the apps.
The Role of the Academic Medical Center When Disaster Hits
When a disaster hits, what is CEPAR’s protocol for determining whether or not sending a response team is appropriate? Read this article for more details about how a decision is made and what is and isn’t always helpful following a disaster.
COVID-19 misinformation claiming to be from Johns Hopkins circulates widely online
Misinformation about COVID-19 purporting to come from Johns Hopkins is circulating widely online, including one particular message described as an “excellent summary” that has been shared extensively worldwide in the past few weeks.
The message, which has no identifiable connection to Johns Hopkins, includes approximately 20 bullet points, the first of which begins “The virus is not a living organism … .” It is sometimes attributed to a Johns Hopkins doctor, or immunologist, or to “Irene Ken, whose daughter is an Asst. Prof in infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins University.”
The information, which is being widely shared via email and on social media, has been reviewed by the popular online fact-checking resource Snopes and labeled “misattributed.” A Johns Hopkins statement says the message “lack[s] credibility.”
“We have seen rumors and misinformation circulating on social around the coronavirus and have received questions from many of you about these posts,” Johns Hopkins Medicine said in a statement.
“Rumors and misinformation this can easily circulate in communities during a crisis. The rumors that we have seen in greater volumes are those citing a Johns Hopkins immunologist and infectious disease expert.
We do not know the origin of these rumors and they lack credibility.”
You can find reliable information about COVID-19 from Johns Hopkins experts at https://coronavirus.jhu.edu and https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/coronavirus/.
Experts suggest that when evaluating information you find online, confirm that it comes from a trusted source—such as the Centers for Disease Control and Infection, the World Health Organization, or a reputable news organization—before sharing it. If a post makes a scientific or medical claim and attributes it to a specific source, such as Johns Hopkins, try verifying the information through the organization's publicly available resources.
“If you see something on social media and you want to take action it, it is important to first check whether a trusted source, such as a local newspaper, has reported that information,” says Mark Dredze, an associate professor of computer science at Johns Hopkins who studies how information circulates via social media. “Be skeptical and consult a trusted authority. Go to the websites of the CDC or local public health authorities, and check if it's something they recommend. If it's something medically related, consult with your doctor.”
Tara Kirk Sell, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, studies misinformation and rumors in response to public health events. She shared her expertise in a recent episode of the Johns Hopkins podcast Public Health On Call.
“There are a number of things that can be harmful about [misinformation],” she said. “People can waste their money, people can think they're protected when they're not protected and take risky actions they shouldn't be taking, and sometimes these [fake] cures can harm people themselves.”
Posted in Health, Politics+Society
Confidentiality – Johns Hopkins Employer Health Programs (EHP)
Home > About EHP > Notice of Privacy Practices > Confidentiality
Privacy and Confidentiality
EHP is committed to respecting your privacy.
The purpose of this information is to describe how your Protected Health Information (PHI) may be used and disclosed and how you can get access to this information. Please review it carefully.
EHP’s official Notice of Privacy Practices (NPP), which is included in your enrollment packet and is also available upon request by calling Customer Service, fully describes:
- EHP’s routine use and disclosure of PHI
- Use of authorizations
- Access to PHI
Please take time to review your Notice of Privacy Practices. You can also call Customer Service at 800-261-2393 to request a copy. Please contact the Johns Hopkins Privacy Office at 410-614-9900 if you have any questions regarding the NPP’s content.
Health information means information that identifies you and tells about your past, present, or future physical or mental health or condition and provision of health care to you. It also includes information about payment for health care services, such as your billing records. By law, we are required to:
- Ensure that your health information is protected
- Provide to you the NPP describing our responsibilities and privacy practices with respect to your health information
- Follow the terms of the Notice that is currently in effect
In addition, EHP has implemented internal policies and procedures that address how we protect oral, written, and electronic use of PHI. For your protection, EHP always verifies the identities of both the member and the requestor prior to responding to a request for a member’s PHI. Examples of such contact are:
- Questions about your treatment or payment activities
- Requests to look at, copy, or amend your Plan records
- Requests to obtain a list of Plan disclosures of your health information
EHP secures and limits access to all hardcopy and electronic files. All electronic data is password protected. EHP limits workforce member access to all hardcopy and electronic files.
Internal controls are in place to ensure that only those workforce members with a “need to know” have access to information required to perform their specific job function.
All workforce members are required to only utilize and/or access the “minimum necessary” information.
EHP takes disclosure of PHI to plan sponsors (employers) very seriously. Our first duty is to protect your privacy. EHP has placed very specific controls on your information to ensure that it is protected.
We will only release your health information to the plan sponsor for administrative purposes if certain provisions have been added to EHP to protect the privacy of your health information, and the sponsor agrees to comply with the provisions.
EHP will not disclose PHI to the plan sponsor for employment-related actions, or for decisions in connection with any other benefit or benefit plan of the sponsor, unless the individual signs an authorization permitting such disclosure. Download the forms required to permit an authorization of disclosure and learn more about NPP.
Johns Hopkins Medicine Fax Case Study
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Continuing Medical Education (CME) is an accredited provider of the American Medical Association Physician’s Recognition Award Category 1 Credits.™ Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine CME offers over 800 educational opportunities a year with over 100,000 attendees.
Several issues were arising while processing their high volume of mandatory daily paperwork consisting of accreditation forms, disclosures, and signed contracts. Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine CME realized that an on-premise fax server solution was not a cost-effective or practical investment.
Business continuity was their major concern when utilizing fax machines. Productivity was suffering from the amount of time involved in manually printing, scanning, and faxing documents.
Other risks they faced was a higher error rate as many documents would require multiple attempts at faxing and a security risk when confidential faxes were sometimes left out in the open or misplaced. If the recipient was the office, delays in processing could occur.
In addition, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine CME needed a reliable centralized fax infrastructure that would provide them with high availability and pandemic planning capabilities which are not available with fax machines. “The majority of our business requires documents to be faxed.
If for some reason we were not able to go into the office to work, fax machines would not allow the option of telecommuting, so there would be no way to work from outside of the office,” stated Lorraine Spencer, IT Manager at John Hopkins University School of Medicine CME.
After evaluating several solutions, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine CME chose Concord Fax Online, a hosted IP fax, over a fax machine, due to its ease of deployment, cost, reliability, network capabilities and user friendly interface.
IP fax was also a logical solution due to speed of implementation, real-time failover for both inbound and outbound communications and fully-secured data centers that are encrypted; guaranteeing secure communications that is in line with compliance standards.
IP fax enables employees to securely process accreditation forms, contracts and disclosures and keeps a paper trail for all processing – important given the ever increasing regulations of the industry. Concord Fax Online features a fully redundant IP fax platform that supports multiple secure methods for customers to connect.
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine CME utilizes Concord’s enforced TLS feature which are vital assets to the company’s business need for security. In addition, Concord Fax Online features Fax to Email (F2E) and Email to Fax (E2F) where you receive faxes by simply attaching one or multiple files to an email message.
When the email is sent to the Concord network, the attachments are processed and transformed into a format suitable for delivery to fax machines. The fax is then delivered to its destination fax machine anywhere in the world. The fax transmission is completed within moments. Delivery status is returned to the sender in the form of an email message.
These features provide Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine CME employees with the added security benefit of having all faxes safely stored and eliminate the risk of misplacing important documents with confidential information.
Concord Fax Online also proved to be more cost effective for Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine CME as it drastically decreased printing and supplies costs. “Concord Fax Online solutions is saving us 60% over our previous process. I am very happy with the service they provide. From an IT perspective, it’s really easy to support,” stated Spencer.
Employees are more productive, service their clients faster, and have the electronic tools at their fingertips to securely process mandatory paperwork for accreditation, contracts and disclosures. Using an IP Fax has enabled organizations to operate, collaborate, and transfer data, efficiently and inexpensively on a global basis.
Concord Fax Online provides a reliable centralized IT infrastructure with high availability and pandemic planning capabilities to maintain business continuity. The integration of Concord Fax Online enables Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine CME employees to communicate more efficiently by sharing and exchanging files in a secure, real-time environment which helps in speeding up the decision making process.
“Concord Fax Online solutions is saving us 60% over our previous process. I am very happy with the service they provide. From an IT perspective, it’s really easy to support.”
Lorraine Spencer, IT Manager Johns Hopkins University OCM
Protecting your mental health during the coronavirus pandemic – COVID-19 – Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
The daily counts of COVID-19 cases and deaths tell the public story of the coronavirus outbreak. Privately, the effects of the pandemic aren’t as clear.
The new reality of social distancing and other safety measures is testing everyone, and those living with mental illness may find this time even more challenging if the support system they rely on is not in place.
Experts from the Department of Mental Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health put together these tips and resources on how to protect your mental health during these trying times.
As the coronavirus pandemic has unfolded across the U.S., ordinary life has been put on pause. Lockdowns, travel restrictions, school closings, work closings, and social distancing have created a level of social isolation previously unseen across the globe.
Fears about finances and food shortages have placed additional stressors on an already anxious and sensitized population. The practices recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization are necessary and designed to protect the community, particularly the most vulnerable individuals.
However, this pandemic and the associated changes, including serious financial implications for many households, can have profound consequences for our mental health.
Traumatic or stressful experiences put individuals at greater risk for not only poor physical health but poor mental health outcomes, such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
You may notice that yourself or others around you are more edgy, irritable, or angry; helpless; nervous or anxious; hopeless, sad, or depressed. Sleep may be disrupted and less refreshing.
Practicing social distancing may leave you feeling lonely or isolated. If you are at home with children, you may have less patience than before.
Those who are especially vulnerable to COVID-19—older individuals and people with medical comorbidities or immune-comprised systems—who need to be especially stringent in following guidelines from the health authorities, may be the very people whose mental health may suffer the most. Individuals with a pre-existing mental health condition, such as an anxiety disorder, are also at heightened risk for poor mental health outcomes as a result of coronavirus.
It is important that as a population, we learn how to protect our mental health during this stressful and ever-changing situation, while also following the guidelines set by health authorities to protect our physical health. Here are some strategies that can be used during these challenging times to protect your and others’ mental health.
- Create a daily schedule for you and your family. Feelings of uncertainty can lead to increased mental health symptoms.
- Try to limit the amount of time you spend watching, reading, or listening to the news. Get your information on the coronavirus outbreak from a trusted source, such as the CDC or WHO, once or twice a day.
- Make space for activities and conversations that have nothing to do with the outbreak.
Maintain your physical health
- Protect your sleep. Good quality, sufficient sleep not only helps to support your immune system but also helps you to better manage stress and regulate emotions. Adults should aim for 7–9 hours, while children and teenagers need even more. [See recommendations by the National Sleep Foundation].
- Try to eat at regular times and opt for nutritious foods whenever possible. Some people may crave junk food or sugary snacks and be tempted to snack mindlessly when stressed or bored, and others may skip meals altogether.
- Maintain an exercise routine, even if you can’t go to your local gym.
Exercise at home using an online workout video, or go for a walk, run, or bike ride in a sparsely populated area.
Support–and create–your community
- Create a virtual support group and check in with those around you. There are many options for connecting, including video conferencing software, such as Google Hangouts and Facetime. During this time of isolation, connecting face-to-face (online) is more important than ever.
If you can’t stream, then calling and texting is important. Check out some ideas at Wirecutter and Prokit for how to be social during the quarantine.
- Crises offer a time for community cohesion and social solidarity, and volunteering is one way to not only help others, but yourself as well.
Science has repeatedly shown that volunteering can improve mental health. Check out this article for a list of organizations to donate to and this article for other ways to help your neighbors and community.
- If you have children, talk to them honestly about what is going on in an age-appropriate manner. Help kids express their feelings in a positive way, whether playing in the backyard, drawing, or journaling.
Check out these guides by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Child Mind Institute, or National Association of School Psychologists for tips on how to talk to your kids about coronavirus.
Take care of your spirit
- Find a place of worship that is streaming or recording services. If prayer is an important part of your life, make time for it. Stay connected to your church community through phone calls, emails, and video chats.
- Try meditation, deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or another mindfulness or relaxation technique. Check out or phone apps such as Calm or Headspace for guided meditation exercises. Consider enlisting friends and family and practicing meditation together at least once a day.
Mindfulness can help lower blood pressure, reduce stress, support your immune system, and protect brain health.
Continue or seek out mental health treatment
- If you are currently in mental health treatment, continue with your current plan if possible, being mindful of approaches to minimize contact with others. Consider reaching out to a mental health professional even if you haven’t before. Make sure you have ongoing access to any medications you need.
- Ask about video therapy or phone call appointments.
Most states have already made emergency exemptions to insurance coverage for telehealth. Regulations have been temporarily relaxed to allow even non-medical software Skype, Facetime, and Zoom to be used for telehealth. Even if this option wasn't available with your provider previously, it may be now! Contact them to ask about remote services.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol, particularly if you have a pre-existing mental health or substance use disorder. Check out online support groups and meetings, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Smart Recovery, and In The Rooms.
- The need for social distancing may make it difficult to see symptoms of depression in others.
In “hunker-down” mode, the in-person opportunities that we usually have to notice that friends, family, and colleagues may be struggling with a problem are no longer there. One way to think about it is that child abuse or intimate partner violence is missed more often in winter because long clothes cover bruises.
Conduct regular “check ins” with your network and stay attuned to symptoms of depression, such as persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, or changes in sleep and weight.
Remember that the emotions you may be experiencing are normal reactions to difficult circumstances. Accept that things are different right now and everyone is adjusting. Prioritize what’s most important and know that it’s okay to let some things go right now.
Be kind to yourself and others. Try to stay positive and use this time to spend more time with your children or spouse, try things you’ve been putting off, such as taking an online class, learning a new skill, or getting in touch with your creative side.
It can be hard to think past what is going on today, let alone in a week or in six months, but give yourself permission to daydream about the future and what is on the horizon. Remember that this is temporary, and things will return to normal.
Calliope Holingue, postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Mental Health and the Department of Neuropsychology at Kennedy Krieger Institute; M. Daniele Fallin, Mental Health chair; and Mental Health faculty Luke Kalb, Paul Nestadt, and Elizabeth Stuart co-authored this piece.
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