COVID-19 Updates & Resources

COVID-19: A Gender Lens
Statement from the American Medical Women’s Association

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrust our nation into unprecedented times and highlighted disparities of race, ethnicity, and gender.

Sex and gender differences impact all health conditions and must inform clinical decision-making concerning COVID-19 at every level of care, including prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.  In addition, sex and gender must be considered as crucial variables in any research or public health surveillance conducted.  The American Medical Women’s Association calls for sex-disaggregated data in all COVID-19 surveillance reports as well as clinical and basic science research.

While women comprise about 75% of the healthcare workforce and thus will likely be disproportionately impacted during the pandemic, women healthcare leaders continue to be largely underrepresented across the nation. In addition, women healthcare professionals usually serve as primary caretakers on the home front, and the challenges of work/life integration will be compounded by exposure to potentially fatal occupational hazards. As with other crises, especially those resulting in loss of jobs and increased risks of anxiety and substance abuse, higher rates of domestic violence against women have been reported.  Inclusion of women in leadership is essential to identify disparities that affect women in the workplace and at home. We must safeguard principles of equity, address gender bias and discrimination, and ensure that health care is based on the science of sex and gender differences.

Sex and Gender Based Health Differences in COVID 19

Gender Equity and COVID -19 

Credit: AMWA, Dr. Somalee Banerjee, AMWA Artist-in-Residence 2019-2020. Feel free to share with credit to AMWA. Not for commercial use.

COVID-19 Other Gender Issues

COVID-19, Reproductive Health, and Pregnancy

The COVID-19 Pandemic and Racial/Ethnic Disparities
in the United States of America

Underserved populations in the United States suffer from health inequity based on race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and geographic location. The COVID-19 pandemic has not only thrust our nation into unprecedented times, but has highlighted on-going racial and ethnic disparities. Now is the time to help protect our most vulnerable populations and improve the quality of life for these marginalized groups.

As social determinants of health impact all health conditions, understanding these differences in terms of risk factors for COVID-19, disease presentation, treatment, and prognosis must inform our research and clinical decision-making at all levels. This paradigm underscores the need for data disaggregated by race and ethnicity in both clinical and basic science research. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated vast differences in infection rates, illness, and death rates in underserved communities compared to other groups but data are lacking from many states.

The American Medical Women’s Association calls for the following:

  • Data collection and dissemination. HHS, CDC, CMS, and other state and federal government organizations should collect and release nationwide racial and ethnic demographic data on COVID-19 testing, confirmed cases, ventilator access, intubation time, and deaths. Data should be collected in a national, standardized, valid, and inclusive manner while promoting autonomy and transparency among participants engaging in data collection.
  • Guidance. Immediate and explicit guidance from HHS, CDC, and CMS on mitigating health disparities
  • Immediate resource allocation to impacted communities. Federal, state, and city/county governments should provide the following to heavily impacted communities: targeted testing, contact tracing, outreach to residents through community-based organizations, PPE for all essential employees (not limited to healthcare workers), additional healthcare workers, oxygen and ventilators.
  • Equitable resource allocation. Medical and public health interventions and allocation of resources and funding must be guided by data. Social and structural determinants of health must be considered as part of the decision-making process about allocation of all resources including but not limited to: healthcare providers, medicines, medical equipment, adequate nutrition, and clean water to ensure that minoritized groups are not denied needed resources that could prevent unnecessary harms.
  • Immediate housing support. Local and state governments should work with hotels, uninhabited rental spaces, empty schools, and other organizations to provide safe housing to individuals experiencing homelessness to promote social distancing and self-quarantine. Housing for recently discharged individuals experiencing homelessness should be prioritized.
  • Research and analysis of the most affected communities by infectivity and mortality rate. This will guide future healthcare modeling for clinicians. Moreover, such data will serve to guide instruction for the necessary preparation our healthcare system needs in the event of future disaster pandemics.

Furthermore, the focus on resolving pre-existing health disparities and inequities must extend beyond this pandemic, with the goal of eliminating the implicit biases and prejudices that have historically influenced resource allocation. Data collection on health disparities, guidance on mitigating disparities, and improved resource allocation to underserved communities must remain federal and state priorities.

Contact us at: DiversityChief@amwa-doc.org or follow us @AMWA_diversity, @AMWADoctors, @DoctorADDA, and @drnicolesandhu

Additional Reading

Media

Population Epidemiology

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and COVID-19

Journal Articles

General Resources

Testing

Vulnerable Populations

Regulatory Changes During the Pandemic

Publications

CDC Resources

Other Resources

For Providers

Taking Care of the Providers

Dr. Mary Rorro, co-founder of our AMWA Music and Medicine Committee, composed the MWIA Centennial Congress theme song “Physicians, Healers.” Inspired by the tremendous dedication, sacrifice and compassion that physicians around the world have shown in battling COVID-19. Dr. Rorro composed this variation on her centennial song, with lyrics to honor the “Physicians, Heroes” of COVID-19.

Physicians, Heroes
Dr. Mary C. Rorro (composer), April 2020

Mental Health PPE

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought professional and personal stress the breath of which this generation of physicians has never seen. We are treating a communicable disease that we know precious little and fear we can take home to those we love. Many have changed to an isolated manner of living in their own homes while having the unexpected task of schooling and childcare. Virtually all hospitals have changed their operations.  Some have the unanticipated financial loss having been furloughed due to the decrease in patients. We witness patients dying alone without their family’s hands and hugs to say goodbye. Without a cure or herd immunity the end is not known. There may be days when our spirit is fatigued. There may be days when our soul is scarred. There may be days when we are broken.

These burdens may weigh more heavily on the hearts and minds of women physicians. A March 2020 JAMA article of healthcare workers in Wuhan China indicated that women, nurses and frontline healthcare workers are more likely to experience adverse psychological effects. On April 26, a New York City emergency physician took her own life after recovering from COVID. The news rocked the community with the feeling if it happened to her it could be any one of use. We have physical PPE- we now also need to focus on mental PPE.

Suicidal ideation can happen with overwhelming situations (such as COVID, malpractice, divorce, death of a child, etc.). The thought of killing oneself can crop up when a physical or psychological pain overwhelms the coping tools at that moment. With enough stress it could happen to any human being.  The trick is to alter the balance with less pain and increased coping. This is much easier to do if one has a plan before getting into the crisis situation.

A Safety Plan is a mental health equivalent of putting on a car seat belt. It could help save your life one day or the life of someone you love. One can develop a personal crisis management plan (PCMP) to call on when thinking starts to go off the rails.  It is something to hold on to from a time with a clearer frame of mind.  It is important to remember that most people do not want to die-they want to be out of pain.  The PCMP gives concrete suggestions of another course of action.

Each plan in individual but tend to share the common threads of:

  • Connections.
  • Calling (purpose, sense of enjoyment, reason for living).
  • Compassion.

For help in developing  your own personal crisis management plan, please download this Personal Crisis Management Plan document.

Resources

AMWA Spokesperson Dr. Saralyn Mark on COVID-19

  • Dr. Saralyn Mark quoted in Forbes article: How The NASA SpaceX Launch Will Shed Light On COVID-19: Isolation, Telehealth, PPE
  • Dr. Theresa Rohr-Kirchgraber (AMWA Past President) RadioMD Covid 19 Podcast Interviewing
  • Dr. Saralyn Mark on MSNBC, 4/5. Watch HERE.
  • Dr. Saralyn Mark on FOX News, 3/31: Can’t forget coronavirus treatments’ potential side effects: Former White House medical adviser. Watch HERE
  • Dr. Saralyn Mark on FOX News with Dana Perino, 3/16. Watch HERE.
  • Dr. Saralyn Mark on MSNBC with Alicia Menendez, 3/14, 7pm. Watch HERE.
  • Dr. Saralyn Mark on MSNBC with Alicia Menendez, 3/14, 4pm (with AMWA Board Member Dr. Ana Viamonte Ros). Watch HERE.
  • Dr. Saralyn Mark on MSNBC with Ari Melber, 3/13. Watch HERE. Read the transcript.
  • Dr. Saralyn Mark on Fox News with Dana Perino, 3/10. Watch HERE.
  • Dr. Saralyn Mark on MSNBC with Alicia Menendez, 3/8. Watch HERE.

AMWA Applauds the Heroic Work of Dr. Helen Chu

Student Efforts to Support the Medical and Local Community

Hot Topics 

Reopening the Country

When will coronavirus end in the US? (Independent)

Therapeutics

Clinical Trials on Therapeutics Need to Answer:

-What–what is the most effective and safe dose?

-How-how is the drug administered such as by pill, injection, infusion, patch?

-When-when should the drug be administered during the course of the illness?

Antibody Dependent Enhancement Syndrome

Molecular Mechanism for Antibody-Dependent Enhancement of Coronavirus Entry (Journal of Virology)

4 Myths About Coronavirus Antibodies (Forbes)

How AMWA Members Can Be A Resource for Their Communities

HEALTH RESERVE CORPS in every state.

A COMMUNITY RESERVE CORPS will help neighbors who are senior citizens and have medical conditions and should not leave their homes. Help them stay out of hospitals and clinics if possible. Neighbors can be sure they have food, supplies and medical care if needed.

Simple steps for community members:

  1. Designate yourself to be a block leader.
  2. Get contact information for your neighbors and share the list.
  3. List if anyone is a health professional.
  4. If anyone has face masks, gloves -offer them to health professional neighbors.

PPE SHORTAGE: Calling All People Who Sew And Make: You Can Help Make Masks…(Forbes)

Donate Bipap and Cpap Machines

Resources and Updates on COVID-19

Have something to add? Please submit HERE

Share your experience of managing the COVID-19 pandemic in your institution. How are you keeping your family safe? How are you handling the PPE shortage? Follow us @AMWADoctors as we share this information.

PPE For Healthcare Workers – Join #GetUsPPE

  • WRITE TO CONGRESS: HEALTHCARE WORKERS NEED PPE’S. Look up your representative HERE.

AMWA Outreach to Other Countries

As a member organization of the Medical Women’s International Association, AMWA has been in touch with colleagues in countries around the world where women physicians are often on the front lines of treating COVID-19 patients. Through the American Women’s Hospitals Service, we are working to provide support both abroad and here in the U.S. To support this effort, donate to AWHS and designate COVID-19 support and the funds will be directed as needed.

For Students:

Webinars