George Mason University
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George Mason University

A Thank You from the Dean: To Our Nurses, Social Workers, Public Health Professionals, and Others Battling This Pandemic

April 7, 2020

3 faculty staff members with PPE gowns masks goggles outside MAP clinic

Mason faculty and staff pictured outside the Mason and Partners (MAP) Clinic responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Liz McGrath, MAP Nurse Practitioner; Rebecca Sutter, co-director of the MAP Clinics; Bridget Jennison MAP Clinic Coordinator)

Dear Mason Colleagues, Students, and Alumni:

The response to the COVID-19 pandemic has brought out the best in so many and has provided countless opportunities for leadership, community spirit, and generosity. I am so very proud of the work that all our alumni, students, staff, and community partners are doing to combat this disease. It will take all of us to prevail.  

I wanted to take a moment to spotlight the work of our nursing and public health workers–faculty, staff, students, and alumni–who are helping deliver health care in our community. Our MAP Clinics and Population Health Center have rapidly expanded telehealth services at this time of crisis to make a difference in the lives of many, including our most vulnerable populations. While our care related to COVID-19 is front and center, I’ve not lost track of the importance of managing complex chronic diseases, substance misuse and preventive services among so many other issues.

As we celebrate the Year of the Nurse and Midwife in 2020, I think back to the start of my career as a nurse where I worked largely in surgical specialty units and renal dialysis. Since I was in school full-time, I worked second shift and had limited resources relative to the day shift, despite it being the time of day when many patients’ health took a turn for the worse. 

Watching the news has made me realize how many resources I actually had at my disposal relative to what nurses and others have to work with today in battling this pandemic. Across all outbreaks and pandemics, nursing and public health workers are essential in not only controlling spread but in helping affected individuals and communities recover. Nursing and social work are time-honored professions. Throughout the 21st century, annual Gallup polls report that nurses have the top rankings for ethics and honest—higher than that for physicians, pharmacists or dentists. A recent Gallup poll reported that “…the nursing profession continues to serve as the very lifeblood and connective tissue of the U.S. healthcare system.” All of you are a part of this fabric.   

To all faculty, staff, and alumni continuing to practice your profession and to our students faced with learning skills that earlier cohorts escaped, I applaud you.  Be safe, be well and know you’re appreciated.

With pride and thanks,

Germaine

Germaine M. Louis, PhD, MS
Professor and Dean
College of Health and Human Services

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