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NHS Alumni, Now Physicians, Reflect on COVID-19 Pandemic

April 24, 2020 – Some NHS alumni, who have gone on to medical school, have been working during the COVID-19 response to provide direct care to affected individuals, to keep other patients in their care healthy and safe, and to coordinate research efforts. A few responses follow.

Dr. Nadeen Hussain (BS-Human Science 2015, Medicine 2019)

A photo collage of Dr. Nadeen Hussain's head shot and a picture of her with her team in personal protective equipment
Dr. Nadeen Hussain (NHS’15, M’20)

“I’m working in the Medical ICU at the West Haven VA Hospital. As Yale residents, we spend time rotating there in addition to our main site, Yale New Haven Hospital.”

Working with some of the sickest COVID patients in the ICU is challenging but also rewarding. I am inspired by my colleagues, who have come up with creative ways to care for these patients. The other day, one of the nurses played tic-tac-toe with a patient on the glass window. My co-resident arranged for a cake to be delivered on another patient’s birthday. I am surrounded by talented, resilient, and dedicated health care workers who really embody the principle of caring for the whole person.”

(Pictured with her all-female team, including attending, fellow, and residents)

Dr. David Fajgenbaum (BS-Human Science 2007)

A photo of Dr. David Fajgenbaum in his white physician's coat in a board room. This photo is copyrighted by Steve Boyle
Dr. David Fajgenbaum (NHS’07)
(Photo © Steve Boyle)

Fajgenbaum is an assistant professor of medicine and the director of the Center for Study & Treatment of Lymphadenopathies & Cytokine Storms (CSTL) at the University of Pennsylvania.

“I’ve re-directed my lab and Center to get involved in drug repurposing efforts against COVID-19,” he writes. Learn more about this effort.

Dr. MaryJo Kramer (BS-Human Science 2014, Medicine 2019)

“I am an anesthesiology resident physician at Harvard/BWH in Boston. I have been working on a COVID-positive unit for the past several weeks, and our census is still increasing every day.”

A head shot of Dr. MaryJo Kramer
Dr. MaryJo Kramer (NHS’14, M’19)

“Residents have been working on the frontlines from the beginning, between the ED, inpatient units, and ICUs, taking care of patients wherever needed. We are fortunate to have adequate PPE at this time, and the hospital has done a great job preparing for our surge by regionalizing our COVID patients and creating multiple new ICUs including converting operating rooms to ICUs.”

“I am feeling healthy and strong and taking things one day at a time. Wishing all the best to my co-residents and the other NHS alums working around the country.”

Dr. Antonia Kopp (BS-Human Science 2014)

Kopp is a pediatric resident physician at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. 

A head shot of Dr. Antonia Kopp
Dr. Antonia Kopp (NHS’14)

“Fortunately, children are less severely infected than the rest of the population during this pandemic, so I feel extraordinarily grateful to my adult provider colleagues, who I truly consider to be on the front lines.”

“However, my pediatric colleagues and myself are still at risk every time we go to work, and there is always a level of uncertainty about how things will change each day. So I am also very thankful for all those staying home and practicing physical distancing, because you are helping to keep us safe!” 

Dr. Laura Boitano (BS-Human Science 2010) and Dr. Jaskaran Singh (BS-Health Care Management & Policy 2010, Medicine 2015)

Dr. Jaskaran Singh and Dr. Laura Boitano in clinical attire in hospital
Dr. Jaskaran Singh (NHS’10, M’15) and Dr. Laura Boitano (NHS’10)

Boitano and Singh have been working on the COVID-19 response at Massachusetts General Hospital, where Boitano is a vascular surgery resident and Singh is an ICU fellow.

Boitano writes, “I participated in an access service, which focused on placing central lines and arterial lines in the critically ill, and Jaskaran is a fellow in one of the COVID ICUs. It is impressive to see how the hospital has transformed itself and everyone has come together on every level to take care of the patients. We have seen the true definition of patient-centered care which is inspiring.”

Editor’s Note: Updated April 25, 2020

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COVID-19