Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Brigham Office of Strategic Communication has invited staff to share moments of hope and compassion, inspiring examples of teamwork, displays of community support and demonstrations of our values in action. Do you have a story to share? Send it to bulletin@bwh.harvard.edu or submit it to our gratitude board.

We hope you enjoy this collection of Shining Moments from March 2020.


Gratitude for Community Support

On March 18, the Brigham received a donation of more than a hundred N95 masks from students and teachers at Brookline High School, along with this touching note of appreciation for the efforts of all our staff:

“I am Ann, a senior from Brookline High School. I know that this is a very tough time for all of you. So, we want to help as much as we could. Our school bought 105 N95 masks with donations from our teachers and students. Even though it is not a lot, as a group, we want to let you all know our appreciation. Thank you all for your efforts to prevent us from the virus.”

Kind Words Lift Spirits

Margaret Pelton, MEd, a family liaison in the Bretholtz Center for Patients and Families, expressed how restorative simple expressions of kindness have been for her and her colleagues:

“I work in the Bretholtz Center, which is one of the surgical waiting rooms. This is where patients wait to be called into pre-op and their families wait to speak with the doctor afterwards. Since these trying times began and now that the virus has arrived, my coworkers and I are hearing ‘thank you for being here’ or ‘please stay safe’ from almost everyone we encounter. These simple words go along way with the non-clinical staff who are also in the storm.”

Loved Ones Express Gratitude

Lillian O’Leary, BSN, RN, C-NNIC, a staff nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), shared how care teams and patients’ families are supporting each other and keeping our tiniest patients safe:

“We recently changed our visiting policy in our NICU to allow only ‘band wearers,’ which are two parents or legal guardians of the infant to visit daily. Surprisingly the response from our families was so positive! I was taking care of three infants that day and each parent graciously expressed their gratitude and prayers for us, the staff, who were doing as much as possible to protect their baby. We love our families, but most especially, our precious babies.”

Clinical Team Shares Expertise with Peers at the Brigham and Beyond

A multidisciplinary team of Brigham intensivists, fellows, respiratory therapists and pharmacists has launched — and continually updates — a free online clinical resource, covidprotocols.org, for the benefit of their peers here and around the world.

The team, which is led by C. Lee Cohen, MD, a fellow in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, is documenting the rapidly evolving clinical guidelines for critical care in COVID19 patients. In addition to incorporating recommendations from scientific literature about COVID-19 — which remains limited as this crisis continues to unfold — the team is collaborating with clinicians in China to learn from their experiences.

Learn more about the project in this New Yorker article.

Brigham Begins Rolling Out COVID-19 Testing Booths

Testing for COVID-19 in B-Protected booth

From left: Sherry Yu, MD, and Kevin Giordano, MBA, FACHE, use a prototype booth to demonstrate how a test swab would be conducted. (No swabs were used in the photo to preserve critical supplies.) Photo credit: James Rathmell, MD

Drawing inspiration from health care professionals in South Korea, the Brigham’s Engineering team and clinical leaders teamed up to build freestanding booths for conducting COVID-19 testing.

The thick polycarbonate panels — which have two cutouts with built-in rubber gloves — serve as a physical barrier between clinicians and patients, further protecting frontline providers while also reducing the need for personal protective equipment (PPE).

After each use, the booth is cleaned using disinfectant wipes. The booths will be set up at the Brigham’s tented COVID-19 testing facilities on the main campus.

Nurse’s Compassionate Act ‘Lets Light In’

Mary Kelley, BSN, RN, of Shapiro 9/10, lifted the spirits of a patient by arranging a special “visit” with her loved ones. After coordinating with the patient’s family to stand on the sidewalk by the Shapiro bridge, Kelley brought her patient to the bridge so she could see her family through the windows while they spoke over the phone.

“It was such an easy thing for me to do, but it meant the world to my patient and her family,” Kelley said. “She teared up at the idea and told me that this visit gave her strength to go on the next few days in the hospital. It also put her loved ones at ease to see her through the glass and know she was ok.”

Cameron Nutt, MD, internal medicine resident, took to Twitter to share Kelley’s act of kindness: “A Brigham and Women’s cardiology colleague, Mary Kelley, RN, showed how humanity can triumph in the time of social distancing: by prioritizing dignity. That bridge’s windows let in light — so do acts like this.”

Adding Light During Difficult Times


Nurses, patient care assistants and unit coordinators from Shapiro 7 West and Shapiro 9/10 shared an uplifting video they created to “add some light during difficult times,” says Heather DeMeo, RN, of Shapiro 9/10.

Nurse director Deb Pelletier, MSN, RN, noted that this short video, produced by Danielle Noseworthy, MSN, RN, captures the “Brigham spirit.” She says, “I’m so proud of the dedication, teamwork and compassion of our staff in responding to this unprecedented challenge. It’s a privilege to work with such incredible nurses every day.”

Yes, Heroes Do Work Here

Heroes work here sign

Inpatient physical therapist Katie McKenna spotted this colorful display of community support posted outside our Emergency Department, paying tribute to the heroic commitment of our incredible staff. No matter your role, your tireless contributions are an inspiration to all in these trying times.

‘When Co-Workers Become Family’

Kaleigh McRoberts, BSN, RN, a nurse in one of our COVID-19 Special Pathogens Units (SPUs), shared this touching tribute to her colleagues — one that beautifully reflects the power of teamwork and how we’re stronger together:

“With how unsettling this time in our lives is, I have the absolute best co-workers to always lean on. Big shout out to Tony Molina, Meaghan Pedlow and Lian Atturio for always having the phone ready or a shoulder to lean on when I’ve needed them. I couldn’t do this without them. It’s a great feeling when co-workers become family.”