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 firstname.lastname@example.org or submit it to our gratitude board.
We hope you enjoy this first collection of Shining Moments from April 2020.
Innovating Under Constraint
Labs across the Brigham are turning their focus to the most pressing challenges that their clinical colleagues are facing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. One example is the Karp lab — a team of bioengineers with expertise in creating advanced biomaterials and devices. The lab is currently working to develop a long-lasting sanitizer and an anti-viral nasal spray that they hope will help their colleagues on the COVID-19 frontlines.
It’s a challenging time to be conducting research, but, as Jeff Karp, PhD, notes, “It’s orders of magnitude more challenging for our colleagues on the clinical front lines, which is why we’re committed to finding ways to help.”
Read more about their efforts in Brigham Clinical & Research News. Find out about other research efforts underway through the Mass General Brigham Center for COVID-19 Innovation.
Sending Love to Health Care Workers
Allison Startzell, RCIS, a cardiovascular technologist in the Cardiac Catheterization Lab, has been crafting heartwarming signs of support for her colleagues and sharing them with her local community of Scituate. The effort is part of Hearts for Health Care Workers, a grassroots campaign to recognize health care workers and first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants are invited to place hearts on their front doors and windows to demonstrate support for those on the front lines of this crisis.
Startzell put her own creative spin on the project by creating the signs from refurbished pallets and picket fencing with the help of her family. After donating the signs to loved ones and neighbors, she says the response has been overwhelming. She is trying to keep up with the demand for more, including setting some aside for her colleagues.
“When many of our Cath Lab nurses got reassigned to the COVID units, it really hit me hard and I was worried for them. A friend gave me a small heart on a piece of wood to hang on my house because she knew I was in health care,” she says. “This project is helping to keep me busy and deal mentally with this very challenging time. I also wanted my boys to experience how to give back and put a smile on people’s faces.”
Thankful for a Special Connection
Tara Bisceglia, senior administrative manager for Orthopaedics, Sports Medicine and Physiatry at Brigham and Women’s/Mass General Health Care Center in Foxborough, shared her and her colleagues’ appreciation for Information Systems (IS) staff and the tremendous support they have provided as technology plays an even bigger role now for the team:
“The Foxboro Orthopaedics team would like to send a special thank you to the IS department for their utmost help and availability during this time of crisis,” Bisceglia said. “They have helped us get our team up and running with swiftness and ease at all hours, day or night. They have spent countless hours working with our many devices and exuded the utmost patience with our technological challenges. We are a unique joint department for BWH and MGH, and we are very grateful to have such a competent, kind and compassionate team of people in our technology departments for both institutions.”
Brigham Staff Celebrated During #ClapBecauseWeCare
On April 3, Massachusetts residents took a moment to applaud and thank first responders and essential workers in their communities as part of #ClapBecauseWeCare, a nationwide movement that invites people around the country to cheer for those on the front lines from a safe distance, such as their window, balcony or front door.
Among those honored was our very own Natasha Cacciatore, BSN, a nurse in the Burn, Trauma, Surgical ICU, who received a small-scale parade from friends, family and neighbors outside her Waltham home. The touching demonstration of love and support moved her to tears.
“It was really nice to see everybody in person and have that human connection again,” she told Boston 25.
‘This Is Why We Cheer’
At the end of virtual Town Meeting on April 7, Brigham Health President Betsy Nabel, MD shared an inspirational video created by ESPN. In the video, ESPN reporter Jeremy Schaap noted that the enthusiasm, appreciation and applause that fans normally give to their favorite sports teams is now being redirected to those who most deserve it: health care professionals and other essential personnel working on the front line of this pandemic.
“No cheers have ever been more deserved or heartfelt,” Schaap says in the video. “Our sports heroes enrich our lives. These heroes are saving them. These are the heroes we need. This is why we cheer.”
We encourage you to take a moment and view this video, and know that people everywhere are cheering for you. Thank you for all that you do.
Staff Receive Heartfelt Messages of Encouragement, Gratitude
Kevin Giordano, MBA, FACHE, senior vice president of Clinical Services and logistics section chief for Incident Command, and Sherry Yu, MD, Deland Fellow and Dermatology resident, shared a collection of heartfelt messages their teams have received from grateful supporters around the world. Several included packages of medical supplies with their message.
We are so thankful for these uplifting words of encouragement and generous donations from our friends and extended Brigham family.
Love and Appreciation for Our Environmental Services and Food Services Colleagues
Mary Aquilino, RN, a nurse in Interventional Radiology, shared her profound appreciation for her hardworking colleagues in Food Services and Environmental Services:
“I just wanted to take a moment to say a very big THANK YOU to everyone in the cafeteria working so hard to feed all of us. These people come in every day, much earlier than most of us, and they make us our breakfast, lunch and dinner, and they all do it with a smile on their faces. With all the thanks going around, they deserve it too, so thank you Sean, Alex, Michael and all the staff in our cafeteria.
“Same goes to the housekeeping and Environmental Services staff, who are putting themselves just as much at risk every day as those of us in the front lines. My thanks go out to them for keeping BWH clean for us and our patients. We are all trying to do our best in this unprecedented time.”
Helping Our New York Brethren
When NYU Langone Health in Manhattan inquired the evening of April 6 about the coronavirus testing booths that the Brigham had recently developed, staff were quick to respond. The innovative B-PROTECTED COVID-19 booths — developed through a collaboration between Sherry Yu, MD, and the Brigham’s Engineering team — require no use of personal protective equipment and keep physicians safe while they test and swab potentially infected patients. Brigham staff shared engineering details with NYU Langone via web conferencing the next morning.
Kevin Giordano, senior vice president for Clinical Services, offered to send one of the Brigham’s 10 booths to New York to help out. “From what we see and hear,” Giordano wrote to his NYU Langone brethren, “New York City is at a critical time and if we can help in any way, we would want to do that.”
Douglas Carney, senior vice president of Real Estate, Facilities and Operations, worked with Turner Construction in New York and Boston to have one of their trucks deliver the booth to NYU Langone.
It left the Brigham at 4:45 p.m. the next day and arrived at NYU Langone at 9 p.m. that evening — a mere 10 hours after the offer was made.
There has always existed a certain Boston-New York rivalry in the sports and culture worlds. But rivalry or not, we’re stronger together.
A Special Delivery from Foxborough to Boston
Brian Atkinson, radiology equipment manager in the Department of Radiology, and his colleagues had just finished delivering some medical equipment to Boston Hope on Friday morning when he received a call. There was a lot more equipment that needed to be transported to the center. Come to Foxborough — and quickly.
Earlier that morning, a Brigham team of Ambulatory leaders and staff had identified and gathered the additional patient care devices needed at Boston Hope. Equipment transports had been underway all week, and the center was due to open and begin seeing patients Friday afternoon.
After getting the call, Atkinson and his colleague, Brian Monahan, senior radiology equipment manager, jumped in their truck and headed to Foxborough, where staff were waiting with patient monitors, portable suction machines, defibrillators and other critical equipment. Atkinson and Monahan loaded everything in the truck and hurried back to Boston Hope. The whole effort took about 90 minutes.
Atkinson credited the Foxborough team — including Katy Kehoe, MS, Cynthia Peterson, MBA, Julia Raymond and Jeff Taylor, MPH — for coordinating everything so quickly and smoothly.
“They did the work. We just picked it up and delivered it,” Atkinson said. “It was great to see people all working together to get all of this equipment ready in such a short period of time. It was very fulfilling to see such teamwork.”
Support from Our Friends Across the System
Sarah Rockett, manager of Benefits Analytics and the Wellbeing Program in Human Resources at Partners, shared these words of support and gratitude for the contributions of Brigham staff:
“My son Liam and I wanted to share our heartfelt thanks to the Brigham Health community for your resilience, bravery and tireless perseversance in the face of the pandemic. Here is a special message displayed in front of our Boston home to express our eternal gratitude to one and all, at every single level of our organization. We salute you!”
A Message of Gratitude from Boston Marathon Survivors
On April 15, One Boston Day, Boston Marathon survivors expressed their gratitude for first responders and hospital workers on the front lines of the pandemic in this video.