Letter from Monica Baskin: COE using new outreach strategies in the wake of COVID-19
The O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB remains committed to standing at the forefront of cancer treatment, education and research. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has brought unprecedented challenges that require new strategies and procedures to ensure the safety of our patients and staff.
The Cancer Center is open for patient care but with new safety protocols in place. UAB has developed a website at uab.edu/fightcovid19 dedicated to patients and the public that provides the most up-to-date information. The O’Neal Cancer Center has also answered many frequently asked questions about COVID-19 and cancer on the Cancer Center blog.
Our work continues with much of our nonclinical team operating remotely off campus, including our Office of Community Outreach & Engagement.
We will not be stopped by the current obstacles, but instead we are committed to a vigilant and creative strategy to meet the needs of our underserved communities head on. Our team is making phone calls, sending text messages and emails and providing digital guidance to remain connected to every area we serve.
We are equipping our community health advisors (CHAs), who usually work physically in the communities they serve, with evidence-based communications materials related to COVID-19. In doing so, our CHAs can now disseminate accurate information to help combat misinformation and complacency, while also keeping themselves and members of these communities safe amidst this public health crisis.
Furthermore, UAB has created a symptom tracker called HelpBeatCOVID19.org to identify hot spots in the Deep South where COVID-19 is spreading. We are hoping to learn more about how coronavirus spreads in rural communities where health disparities are prevalent so we can help fight the spread of the disease within these populations. I urge you to visit HelpBeatCOVID19.org daily to report your health status and symptoms, even if you are feeling healthy and especially if you have any underlying medical conditions (cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc.). The questionnaire takes about three to five minutes to fill out.
The messages that we share with our community are even more important today than before as we grapple with the challenges brought on by this current health emergency. Thank you for helping us fight COVID-19 so we can best serve you.
Monica L. Baskin, Ph.D.
Professor and Vice Chair for Culture & Diversity
UAB Department of Medicine
Associate Director for Community Outreach & Engagement
O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at UAB