As with the rest of the world, COVID-19 has turned our lives at Male Contraceptive Initiative upside down. We have closed our office in Durham and taken to working from our respective homes the past week, and each of us is doing our part via social distancing and nearly compulsive hand-washing. These are uncertain days, to say the least.
It is easy to get stressed out and overwhelmed with the seeming constant onslaught of increasingly negative news. It is critical during these trying times to find moments of levity and seek of positivity. Our Executive Director Heather Vahdat sends out a daily email to the team with puns, fun facts, and adorable pictures of animals, and has set up standing video calls with the whole team every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday just so we all get the chance to socialize and see each other. The small things make huge differences sometimes, and we encourage you all to focus on staying positive as well as healthy. We will get through this together.
To help inspire some optimism, and for us to take the opportunity to brag a bit, we wanted to share the work our Advocacy Strategist Kathryn Carpenter has been up to. During times like this, it is critical that our healthcare professionals get all the support that they need to continue their work. But with so many closings and with such stringent limitations on movement and community gatherings, many in the area struggle to find childcare support.
In response to this challenge and need, Kathryn and her colleagues at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health set to work and built this website to connect healthcare professionals to the childcare resources they need. They’ve been working tirelessly to provide this great resource to our community, so please join us in thanking them for their wonderful service. We’re proud of you Kathryn!
We also wanted to share a message on behalf of our friends at the American Red Cross about how you can help during this challenging time. Heather serves on the Board of Directors for the Eastern North Carolina Chapter and is committed to sharing the message that giving blood during the COVID-19 outbreak is safe and considered an essential community service. We are experiencing a critical need for blood product donations on a national level. This need is being further impacted by the cancellations of blood drives due to business and school closures, which impacts patients who need surgery, victims of emergencies, and patients fighting cancer. The Red Cross has implemented additional safety protocols to ensure the safety of donors, volunteers, employees, and blood recipients. If you are healthy and not in a high-risk category for COVID-19 exposure, please consider scheduling a time to donate blood or platelets, or serving as a volunteer to assist with Red Cross efforts in your community.
We will continue to update you on COVID-19 developments that impact our community and work. In the meantime, stay safe and healthy everyone. And please reach out to us if there’s anything we can do to help you during this time.