No one is untouched by the COVID-19 pandemic. Although all departments in the School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins Health System have come together in remarkable ways to meet this challenge, no group has given more than the Department of Medicine. COVID-19 is fundamentally a medical illness, and our department is at the forefront in every aspect. Our nurses, residents, fellows, faculty and administrators are all involved and have substantially changed their work flow and, in many cases, their job descriptions to meet the demands of COVID-19. Each of our divisions has contributed in unique ways, addressing the clinical care, research and educational missions that are so critical to this response. With profound gratitude for these efforts, we are dedicating a series of brief reports to inform, thank and celebrate the contributions of these key divisions to our COVID-19 response.
Division of Addiction Medicine:
- Faculty and staff have effectively adapted to telemedicine, and weekly outpatient visit numbers now exceed pre-COVID-19 numbers. They have conducted telemedicine visits with both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients.
- Members of the Division of Addiction Medicine are making extra efforts to reach out more frequently to patients with substance use disorders who have been cut off from support groups.
- Michael Fingerhood and colleagues in the Bloomberg School of Public Health are working on a grant proposal that will examine how state health service delivery policies influenced effects of the COVID-19 crisis on receipt of addiction treatment and rates of drug overdose, as well as characterize state and local policy implementation to identify policy gaps and changes needed to enhance treatment access and prevent overdose during and following disasters.
- Megan Buresh, Lee Gilman and Michael Fingerhood have continued to provide virtual buprenorphine treatment to individuals with opioid use disorder seeking care via the Behavioral Health Leadership Institute (BHLI) van outside the jail and at Amazing Grace Church. Additionally, since the pandemic started, the program has used telemedicine to initiate buprenorphine treatment to over 60 individuals seeking help with opioid use disorder.
Division of Infectious Diseases:
- Damani Piggott has worked with Infectious Diseases Society of America to highlight disparities that appear to cause higher rates of severe COVID-19 in some communities.
- Joyce Jones and Seun Falade-Nwulia support the care for patients who are particularly vulnerable during the pandemic including those with HIV infection and substance use disorders.
- Lisa Maragakis, Sara Cosgrove, Valeria Fabre, Clare Rock, Sara Keller, Geeta Sood and the Hospital Epidemiology and Infection Control (HEIC) team have provided and sustained comprehensive leadership on testing, patient and employee safety and hospital management in an ever-changing environment.
- Morgan Katz is leading the health system’s response to long-term care facilities and has partnered with community leaders, the State of Maryland and her colleagues at Hopkins to coordinate an effort to control the transmission of COVID-19.
- Clinical Director Paul Auwaerter leads the COVID-19 Therapeutic Guidance group that provides expert opinion in the absence of robust clinical trial data to assist clinicians in the care of this viral disease. He also leads a call each morning to coordinate and direct COVID-19 efforts among ID practitioners in the entire health system, and has brought much needed philanthropic support to sustain COVID-19 research efforts.
- Annie Antar is working with Andrea Cox to lead the institutional effort to coordinate testing for inflammatory markers in COVID-19 patients.
- Noreen Hynes is leading the Hopkins involvement in the nations leading COVID-19 clinical trial of remdesivir.
- Justin Bailey and Andrea Cox are part of a team that are working to define the immune responses and antibodies associated with COVID-19. Andrea also is the driving force on the COVID-19 repository at Johns Hopkins putting countless hours of work into building that resource for the community.
- Michael Melia and Natasha Chida have not only continued to lead and direct the fellowship program, but host COVID-19 grand rounds every Tuesday to provide relevant and timely information about the care of patients with COVID-19.
- Robin Avery has been a constant presence in the transplant center seeing virtually every COVID-19 patient and leading clinical research and care efforts there.
- Kathleen Page is leading an array of efforts to promote testing and treatment in the Latinx populations who have been heavily affected by COVID-19.
- Jonathan Zenilman is helping the City of Baltimore coordinate its COVID-19 response.
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