More than a Health Crisis

This message is from IHP President Paula Milone-Nuzzo's desk


-April 1, 2020-

Dear IHP Community,

With overwhelming gratitude, I thank all of you for your flexibility and unwavering commitment during these unprecedented times of uncertainty. We are witnessing why the world needs exemplary leadership to advance care for a diverse society, a cornerstone of the Institute’s mission.

COVID-19 is more than a health crisis, as we recognize that members of our community are facing disparate challenges at this time. For instance, Asian American students are facing more overt forms of racism amid the pandemic. Our low-income students may experience additional challenges in accessing resources they need. These abrupt changes have left many of our own valued community members feeling vulnerable, frustrated, and unsafe.

A core value of the IHP is our inclusive and welcoming environment where every person is treated with dignity and respect. Here are things I urge you to incorporate in all we do to advance care for our diverse community and society: 

  • Take care of yourself. Remember to practice self-care and/or community care. Recognize your own stress, manage yourself before managing others, and make time for your physical and emotional needs. If you need support from others to engage in these practices, please ask others. In these times, it’s important for us to have a community of support. The Partners Employee/Student Assistance Program is a resource that is available to all students, faculty, staff, and household members.
  • Be an ally and invite others to join you. Reflect on your Power, Privilege, and Positionality and reject racism, classism, and xenophobia, both in person and online. For example, use the correct term for the virus, “novel coronavirus” (or “SARS CoV-2”) and for the disease, COVID-19.

Spend time to learn more about how members of our society are experiencing this pandemic differently. Check out the virtual Brookline Town Hall "Being An Ally for Asian Americans, Targeted During Pandemic" on April 3 at 2:30 p.m. EDT (view on Zoom), or the free webinar “Under the Blacklight: The Intersectional Vulnerabilities that COVID Lays Bare” on April 1 at 8:00 p.m. EDT. You can learn more about webinars and other professional development opportunities through the IHP Daily News, or connect with DEI directly.

Complete the 2020 Census and encourage others to complete it as well, especially those from marginalized and minoritized backgrounds. The 2020 Census will determine congressional representation and provide data that will impact communities for the next 10 years. Watch a video on the importance of this year’s census. It will inform the allocation of hundreds of billions in federal funding every year to more than 100 programs, including Medicaid, Head Start, block grants for community mental health services, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP. Therefore, it is especially important for marginalized and minoritized communities to be counted, as their data will determine access to federal resources.

  • Be kind and empathetic regarding expectations and circumstances. Everyone has different life circumstances which are changing quickly at this time. Sometimes, we may not get immediate answers to questions. Communicating through email, text, and video conversations in these circumstances is new for all of us, so let’s be extra kind, extra patient, and treat everyone with dignity and respect, both in their presence and in their absence.
  • Share if you can. Reflect on how you may be able to share resources and help others during this time. Not everyone can move, work from home, survive without a job, or go virtual. All of us benefit in the long run when we help our most vulnerable neighbors now. As you are able, please support nonprofits such as: food pantries, charities for those who have lost jobs, community services, or our hardworking medical and first responder communities.
  • Physically distance, yet socially connect. Even as we create the physical gaps that slow this virus, we can stay socially connected. To the extent you feel comfortable and have time and energy, build community with and (re)connect with others.

At the Institute, we prepare practitioners to lead the next generation of interprofessional, compassionate care. This is a time for unprecedented solidarity and collective care as we work together to “flatten the curve.” We are committed to remaining nimble, curious, lifelong learners who adapt to changing care and care settings. Ultimately, this experience will help us educate the next generation of health professions leaders, capable of delivering the very best care for all, locally and globally.

With gratitude,

Paula Milone-Nuzzo, PhD, RN, FHHC, FAAN
President and John Hilton Knowles Professor

IHP Communications

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