Researchers at the Center for Equitable Family & Community Well-Being surveyed more than 600 low-income residents across Ypsilanti about the impact of COVID-19. Their work is giving voice to the needs of those disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, ensuring that local health and economic responses attend to issues of equity.
Professor Trina Shanks and Patrick Meehan, Program Manager of the Center for Equitable Family and Community Well-Being, wrote an op-ed for the Michigan Journal of Public Affairs. They write: “As the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines begins, the medical establishment faces a critical challenge: earning Black Americans' trust.”
PhD Student Charles Williams II spoke with the Detroit Free Press about the skepticism in Black communities about the COVID-19 vaccination. As a clergy member who interacts with patients in hospital settings and in his church, Williams qualified to get an early vaccine. He hopes to convince his church members that the vaccine is safe. “As a leader, as a pastor… if I have to be the one to get my arm poked so folks can feel a little bit comfortable about them doing it, so be it,” said the Rev. Charles Williams II, current PhD student.
Every member of the School of Social Work community should know that the building exceeds the university standards for public health safety. SSW passed a strict university approval process before reopening. People greatly reduce the risk of COVID transmission if they wear a mask, wash their hands and follow social distancing guidelines. No symptomatic people are allowed to enter the building.
There are incidences of COVID-19 at U-M and in most communities across the nation. Testing and environmental surveillance are going on across campus. Last week, U-M started a new Contact Tracing Corps.
Testing is available from University Health Service, local health care providers, pharmacies and urgent care centers. If you have a health care provider, contact them about testing.
Thanks to alumna Carrie A. Rheingans for providing the following information from Washtenaw County Health.
Joyce Lee, PhD student, has co-authored a children's book on fighting anti-Asian racism during COVID-19. The book is free and provides an educational resource to help generate meaningful discussions between adults and children about anti-Asian racism.
On Wednesday, Detroit teachers voted to authorize a “safety strike,” should their concerns about protective equipment and protocols not be met. Associate Research Scientist Roland Zullo spoke with the Detroit Free Press about the potential legal consequences and public reaction. "No one knows about the exact risks" of COVID-19, Zullo said. "I don't think it'd be unreasonable and my guess is that the public would be on the teachers' side."
Associate Professor Terri Friedline discusses the drop in demand for small-dollar loans with Morning Consult. Without additional government relief, she expects “things to get a lot worse as people are forced to take on debt, including higher-cost, small-dollar loans, to survive the pandemic.”
Associate Professor Shawna Lee’s research is cited in a New York Times article that discusses how the tremendous changes wrought by the pandemic can mimic, mask or amplify depression-like feelings. According to the research she conducted in April, a third of respondents reported symptoms of depression including fatigue, insomnia and feelings of hopelessness.
Assistant Professor Katrina Ellis is part of a team of U-M researchers evaluating the programs at the Silver Center, which offers enrichment and educational classes via phone to help adults 60 years old or older stay connected. While the program predates the pandemic, it has become especially timely for older adults who may have little or no access to technology and are isolated at home. The U-M team will evaluate how these activities may have helped participants cope with the isolation and stress of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We will learn what went well, what can be improved and how we could expand the program,” Ellis said. “This can bring attention to new ways of delivering services to older adults. We also hope that it increases awareness of community resources and opportunities for learning new things.”
During times of uncertainty and crisis, people come together to support one another. COVID-19 is a new test of our collective strength. The Community Engagement team and the Office of Field Education have created a webpage that includes a list of volunteer opportunities to support community members and organizations as well as additional resources.
"The partnership, collegiality and collaboration between the Community Engagement Team, the Office of Field Education, and our students is an extraordinary example of teamwork at its best in this time of crisis. Collectively, we have developed and identified numerous opportunities for our students to be able to support our communities and those in need as we all confront the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. It makes me proud to be a social worker," said Assistant Dean of Field Education Dan Fischer.
"Coming together like this provides a teachable moment. When there is a difficult or emergency situation, we can work together to share resources and come up with answers. No one person has to figure everything out on their own. The COVID-19 virus has brought lots of uncertainty, but the School of Social Work community can do its part to uncover and respond to needs as they arise," said Professor and Director of Community Engagement Trina Shanks.
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