While COVID-19 vaccines have been available for several months and millions have been vaccinated, many still have questions or are hesitant to get vaccinated, often because of rumors and misinformation. Recent news about virus variants also has people wanting to know more.
The Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine COVID-19 vaccine task force was created to provide accurate information to the community, particularly medical professionals, regarding these issues and more.
The task force has been busy creating educational resources for the medical community to share with patients and others who need more information.
The resources can be viewed at medicine.wright.edu/covid19vaccine.
The group is also involved in community outreach, spending Saturday mornings at Five Rivers MetroParks’ 2nd Street Market in downtown Dayton. They have had the opportunity to interact with hundreds from the community, providing information and answering questions.
Commonly asked questions revolve around vaccine safety, side effects, booster shots, availability for certain age groups of children, protection for the immunocompromised and against the Delta variant.
“Many people thanked us for our outreach efforts and encouraged us to keep up the good work,” said Aamir Akram, M.D., internal medicine resident and task force member.
“This has been a scary time for people, and health care workers need to recognize that while information seems accessible, oftentimes it’s contrasting and difficult for patients to understand,” said We’am Hussain, M.D., ’18, a gastroenterology fellow at the Boonshoft School of Medicine.
We’am and her sister, Anam Hussain, a fourth-year medical student, came up with the idea of bringing together medical professionals representing a variety of medical specialties to collaboratively provide information about COVID-19 and the vaccines. With the assistance of Glen Solomon, M.D., chair of the Department of Internal Medicine and Neurology, the COVID-19 vaccine task force was formally organized in late 2020.
When forming the task force, We’am and Anam Hussain were focused on ensuring information was available to the medical community in Dayton to help providers talk with patients. The group held a virtual symposium in January 2020, that attracted over 150 Dayton-area medical professionals, and included presentations from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley ’09.
“By first sharing information with health care professionals, we believe that information will trickle down from provider to patient,” Anam Hussain said.
The educational resources include videos and a toolkit that is updated regularly with links to information ranging from vaccines and youth to virus variants to how to talk to patients about the vaccines. Additional videos and new content are in the works and will be continually added, so check back often.
Along with We’am Hussain, Anam Hussain, Akram and Solomon, the COVID-19 vaccine task force includes the following members from the Boonshoft School of Medicine community: Cynthia Sheppard Solomon, clinical associate professor with internal medicine and neurology; Jonathan Miller, M.D., former child psychiatry resident who now a fellow at the University of Cincinnati; H. Bradford Hawley, M.D., professor emeritus of internal medicine and past president of the Infectious Diseases Society of Ohio; Muhammad Soofi, M.D., internal medicine chief resident; Lisa Aron Carter, M.D., senior resident in internal medicine; Grace Smith, M.D., second-year internal medicine resident; third-year medical students Leah Burke and Steven Borchers; second-year medical students Miriam Soliman and Tiffani Spaulding; first-year medical students Noah Parker and Monica Rainn; and Yash Agarwal, a senior at Centerville High School, whose parents are physicians and associated with the School of Medicine.
Serving as consultants to the group are Steven Burdette, M.D., division director of infectious disease and professor of internal medicine, and Mamle Anim, M.D., associate professor of internal medicine and medical director of Five Rivers Health Center in Dayton.
The task force is motivated to help clinicians partner with their patients to get vaccinated, continue to slow the spread of COVID-19 and help the community be healthy and safe.
“Ultimately the vaccines are only beneficial when they are appropriately distributed and used, this is our vision for the Dayton community,” We’am Hussain said.