In times of crisis, I like to reflect and look for the positive things that can come from it. Sometimes there’s a teachable moment or a new perspective we haven’t considered. The negative hits us with such force, but we must not forget that bad times can also bring out the best in people. We can open our hearts even more with grace, love, and kindness. We can grow when confronted with life’s challenges.
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At Seven Counties Services, we help people with developmental and intellectual disabilities embrace their independence and empower them to achieve it in their daily lives. Let me introduce you to one of our long-term clients, a 56-year-old named Robin, who receives services through our Developmental Disabilities team.
Telemedicine technology has been around for a few decades but it was never optimally utilized until the COVID-19 pandemic. Insurance reimbursement was a big barrier in utilizing telemedicine along with other systems barriers. In March 2020, COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). After this, telemedicine was considered the preferred modality of treatment in the health care industry, and insurance supported the use of this technology. This was a big change for physicians. We had to adapt to this new technology within days. This transition had its pros and cons, and there was a lot of uncertainty about the usage of telemedicine at that time. When the pandemic started, we were worried if we would be able to continue to safely provide care for our patients or not. With telemedicine as a preferred modality, several of us started working from home. It’s been more than a year now since we have been doing Telemedicine and it has been an interesting experience. Some of us love it and some not so much.
Racial inequality impacts every aspect of life in this country for youth of color. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the inequalities and injustices youth of color endure. As a black physician, I have asked myself, “What can I do to help?” It is fundamental to understand their perspective; simply ask what they are experiencing during this crisis. This article highlights how COVID-19 has impacted youth of color and social injustice and some of the ways health care professionals can provide support. I asked my daughter, who is a junior at a public high school in the city, to pose this question to the social justice group she leads, “How have you been impacted by social injustice and the pandemic”? The responses she received are as follows: people feeling it is their right to wear a mask or not; people not being able to access the internet for school; families and friendships disrupted due to social distancing; and unequal access to health care, including the vaccine.