Healthcare careers are part of the fastest growing industry for job growth and development in the United States. This trend is expected to continue over the next decade.
Projections from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that healthcare jobs are expected to increase by 18 percent from 2016 through 2026. This means that the industry will add about 2.4 million new healthcare jobs.
There are several aspects that lead people to consider an exciting and rewarding career in healthcare. From potential financial reward and a diverse environment to career growth and personal fulfillment, there’s plenty of opportunities available and reasons to enter the field.
Healthcare is a wide-spanning industry encompassing a variety of jobs. The profession is no longer tied to some of the more traditional positions in doctors’ offices or hospitals. In fact, the last two decades have seen an eruption in non-doctor roles. Today, healthcare providers are also needed in less mainstream sectors such as marketing, tech positions and more.
Healthcare Career Shortages in the U.S.
This field will add more employees than any other occupation in the coming years, according to the BLS. This is largely due to the accessibility of healthcare and the aging baby boomer generation.
Most recently, retired doctors, nurses and other medical professionals have been recruited and asked to return work to help provide medical attention to patients infected with Covid-19 virus. The US was projected to face a shortage of doctors before the pandemic hit: The Association of American Medical Colleges had estimated that it could reach 46,900 to 121,900 physicians by 2032. And in rural areas, particularly in states such as Mississippi and Arkansas, doctors were already in short supply. Many states are also projected to face significant nursing shortages in the coming years, particularly California and Texas.
Accordingly, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has forecast that healthcare job opportunities will continue to soar through 2025.
Top 10 Medical Careers in Demand For 2020 and Beyond:
Registered Nurses (RN’s)
Home Health Aides
Healthcare Information Technologist
An Industry Full of Opportunity
Choosing a lasting, profitable, fulfilling career that you can be satisfied with means choosing a profession in healthcare. Many career benefits of healthcare include improving the lives of others and making a difference. The financial benefits, tremendous growth and high paying careers are limitless. It’s never too late to pursue a career in the medical field.
Source: https://medbrainmedia.com, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, gmercyu.edu
The demand for workers in areas like healthcare, supply chain and others has never been more critical than it is today. Two businesses are now joining forces to offer solutions to help organizations find top candidates while ensuring their talent pool is diverse.
Black Women in Science and Engineering (BWISE), founded by Erika Jefferson to support underrepresented women in STEM through networking, mentorship, and career development, is partnering with Cambio, a multi-faceted recruiting and diversity platform founded by Neil Patwardhan and Bob Richards. Both organizations are focused on truly moving the needle on DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) hiring in meaningful way.
BWISE, with its professional job board and network of over 15,000 scientists, engineers and technologists, can focus on guidance to employers and diverse job seekers with a focus on black women in STEM. And Cambio, through its Diversity Engine and analytics, can spotlight diverse candidates and ensure biases are surfaced and focus on delivering top candidates.
BWISE is focused on bridging the leadership gap for Black women in STEM. It was founded with the purpose of supporting underrepresented women through networking, mentorship and career development. The group primarily consists of black women from middle management through senior leadership with degrees in the sciences, math and engineering (even if they no longer work in that field) who would like to connect with others.
Cambio’s mission is to create a more human experience in the world of recruiting and job searching with video, and make the process more transparent and fun by embracing the swipe culture of viral mobile applications. The company aims to speed up the hiring process and lead the way in diversity hiring by helping companies meet their workforce goals for 2020 and beyond.
He didn’t fully realize it at the time, but as a high school student, Karl Reid had a few advantages that helped him achieve success against a backdrop of challenges. His work today, as a leading advocate for increasing college access, opportunity and success, seeks to spread those types of advantages more equitably across the educational landscape for students of all races, ethnicities, genders and economic circumstances.
Born in the Bronx and raised in Roosevelt, a predominantly African-American, working-class community on Long Island, Reid had parents who placed a high value on education and applied high standards to their children’s academic work. When he was admitted to a well-resourced, magnet high school near Roosevelt, a school with a majority white student body, it put him on a track to follow his older brother to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. At MIT, he fully expected to continue being an outstanding student, so his first-semester struggles came as a shock.
“Suddenly, I was a college student who barely understood what was going on in lecture. I hadn’t learned yet to read ahead of class,” Reid says. “I could barely keep up with new information being presented to me, never mind ask a question. My score of 38 on my first physical chemistry exam was the final wake-up call.”
Reid came through the crisis by finding his internal drive (his “grit”), by applying it to a demanding regimen of independent study and by building beneficial relationships on campus. In his freshman year, he joined the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), a college-student-led organization with a mission to, “increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community.” Reid credits NSBE with building his leadership skills during his tenure as vice president of MIT’s NSBE chapter in his junior year, and subsequently as the Society’s national chair. He left MIT in 1985 as a Tau Beta Pi scholar with two academic degrees: A Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in materials science and engineering.
Later, in 1991, years into a successful career in the burgeoning computer industry, Reid had a crucial experience that clarified his purpose and changed his life’s work. Reading Jonathan Kozol’s Savage Inequalities, a seminal volume about educational disparities in the United States, he saw how his own experience as a K–12 student fit into a broad pattern of discrimination. He finished the book determined to do something about the problem.
Reid left the computer field to return to MIT, where he worked in positions of progressive responsibility to increase diversity at his alma mater—eventually becoming associate dean of undergraduate education and director of the Office of Minority Education—and took the opportunity to earn a Doctor of Education at Harvard University. His next employer was the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), where he oversaw new program development, research and capacity building for the organization’s 37 historically black colleges and universities and held the title of senior vice president for research, innovation and member college engagement.
In June 2014, Dr. Reid made another auspicious return, this time to NSBE as executive director. Based at the Society’s World Headquarters building in Alexandria, Virginia, he supports NSBE’s National Executive Board, and NSBE’s 25,000 in reaching the main goal of the Society’s 10-year strategic plan: To partner with educational institutions to end the underrepresentation of blacks in engineering in the U.S. by producing 10,000 black engineers annually in the country, by 2025. He has also helped nurture NSBE’s impressive growth abroad: A large percentage of the Society’s members now reside in Africa.
Dr. Reid’s diversity and inclusion work outside of NSBE—most notably his foundational and leadership role with the 50K Coalition and his membership on the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine’s Committee on Addressing the Underrepresentation of Women of Color in Tech—also supports the Society’s mission. And he has authored a book, Working Smarter, Not Just Harder: Three Sensible Strategies for Succeeding in College…and Life, which was published in 2017.
Dr. Reid admits the societal problems he has chosen to solve are large and intractable, but after 22 years of rising daily to the challenge, he believes the statistics are moving in the right direction.
“Seeing young people grow in intellect and character and go on to achievements in STEM that benefit their families, their communities, their nation and themselves is a priceless experience,” Dr. Reid says. “Our work is difficult, but the rewards are great.”
Medline partnership with YMCA, Knowality, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois to provide COVID-19 PPE in Black and Brown Communities
Medline, in collaboration with YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago, Knowality, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL), recently announced the creation of the “Wash and Wear Community Mask Project.” This production and distribution initiative will supply 100,000 reusable Medline facemasks to people living in underserved Chicago neighborhoods that are being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
All Illinoisans are required to wear a facemask in public when social distancing is not an option, yet Black and Brown communities in the city don’t always have access to PPE. Through this new initiative, facemasks were distributed at no charge to anyone who needed one in some of the city’s most vulnerable communities. The distribution in such neighborhoods as Auburn Gresham, Chatam, Englewood, Roseland, Rosemoor, Austin, Humboldt Park, North Lawndale, South Lawndale, Pilsen and High Ridge.
With masks in high demand, recipients of the Medline Reusable Mask can use and use it over time. The facemasks are made from the same fabric as medical scrubs and have been tested to withstand up to 25 launderings.
“Social determinants of health such as race and income impact health outcomes – this is true here in Chicago, where COVID-19 case rates have been higher in minority, low-income areas,” said Karen Frey, Senior Philanthropy Manager, Medline. “Through this initiative, we continue our fight for health equity.”
Prior to the pandemic, people living in Chicago’s most vulnerable communities were already disproportionately impacted by social determinants of health. COVID-19 only exacerbates the problem, especially for those not adequately protected. Recent research from the Chicago Urban League finds that Black residents account for 30% of Chicago’s population but 54% of the city’s coronavirus deaths. The organizations involved share a sense of purpose to provide Black and Brown Chicagoans access to basic necessities in order to live safe and healthy lives, regardless of their circumstances. Today, it is simply a reusable mask. Now more than ever, the well-being of our communities is the top priority.
The partnership included distribution through community organizations that partner with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois and the YMCA’s Chicagoland locations.
“This horrible virus is tricky, and families need to protect themselves. It is during challenging times like these when market-wide nonprofits such as the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago should leverage their depth, reach, and networks to partner with other community groups doing great work. We are proud to be a part of such a practical collaboration that may help lessen the anxiety for local families,” said Richard Malone, President and CEO, YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois has been working since the start of the pandemic to support its members and communities most impacted by the emerging health, economic and social impacts of COVID-19, including providing 150,000 masks for providers and $1.5M in grants to community organizations focused on hunger, shelter and access to care.
“Wearing a facemask is a key to stopping the spread of COVID-19 based on CDC prevention recommendation and we’re proud to be able to be part of this Project to bring hands-on help to some of the neighborhoods most impacted by COVID-19,” said Harmony Harington, VP Government, Communications and Community Relations for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois. “We believe these wash and rewear masks can help make a longer-term impact on not just the people receiving them, but everyone they come in contact with.”
Knowality is a venture services firm dedicated to accelerating the adoption of health care services that improve population health. By increasing the speed of market adoption for proven health care services, Knowality is increasing the likelihood of Americans living a healthy lifestyle.
“While it is important to focus on the front line healthcare worker, it is equally important to prioritize efforts upstream in the community,” said Dr. Trent Haywood, Founder and Chief Executive Officer for Knowality. “It is upstream where we will reduce exposure.”
Visit the Medline Newsroom for the full list of facemask distribution locations and times.
About Medline Medline is a healthcare company: a manufacturer, distributor and solutions provider focused on improving the overall operating performance of healthcare. Medline works with both the country’s largest healthcare systems and independent facilities across the continuum of care to provide the clinical and supply chain resources required for long-term financial viability in delivering high quality care. With the size of one of the country’s largest companies and the agility of a family-owned business, Medline is able to invest in its customers for the long-term and rapidly respond with customized solutions. Headquartered in Northfield, Ill., Medline has 26,000+ employees worldwide, a fleet of nearly 1,000 trucks and does business in more than 90 countries. Learn more about Medline at www.medline.com.
About YMCA The YMCA of Metro Chicago is an association of 14 Y centers, five overnight camps, and dozens of extension sites located in the city and across the suburbs. We serve more than 200,000 members annually and help children, families, and communities learn, grow, and thrive through programs that promote academic readiness, character development, violence prevention, and fitness and healthy living. Our impact is felt every day when an individual makes a healthy choice, when a mentor inspires a child, and when a community comes together for the common good. Learn about how the Y is working for a better us at ymcachicago.org
About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) is committed to expanding access to quality, cost-effective health care to as many people as possible in Illinois. BCBSIL is dedicated to innovation and exploring, nurturing and activating future possibilities to make the health care system work better for our members and our communities. BCBSIL is a division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company and an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
About Knowality Knowality, LLC., provides health care startups with network services, product strategy, contract support and advisory services to strategically target market opportunities with payers and providers. For more information, visit www.knowality.com
COVID-19 has significantly impacted the event industry, forcing some organizations to cancel 2020 events, while others are moving to virtual events.
Virtual events are not new. For International Women’s Day 2013, Global Tech Women launched a global virtual conference, which featured more than 70 speakers from around the world and ran for 36 hours. More than 11,000 attendees joined the conference from 50 countries. A key learning from that conference: “When a conference is virtual, what becomes critical is the promotion of the conference to create awareness and excitement. Our sponsor, Google, helped us achieve global visibility and drove the global engagement,” said Deanna Kosaraju, CEO of Global Tech Women.
In 2016, VMware began hosting a conference on its campus in Silicon Valley called Women Transforming Technology (WT2). Over the past four years, the conference became an annual tradition, and plans were well underway for 2020 when the COVID-19 crisis began. The call for participation had been completed, the schedule of speakers was set—including Hollywood icon Laura Dern as the closing speaker—and registration had opened.
“I have always been a worrier/planner, so while I was watching the news in February and hearing more and more about COVID-19, I realized that we would need to be making a decision about whether to take our conference—scheduled for May 5—virtual, and the sooner we made the decision, the better off we would be,” said Arti Sharma, diversity & inclusion program manager, VMware. “We realized when the shelter in place order came into effect on March 6 that over 500 people were probably not going to want to nor be able to sit in the same room in May. On March 11, we got the approvals and input we needed to transition to a virtual conference plan.”
Sharma shared some issues that need to be addressed when making a conference virtual:
Registration fees: Because WT2 was underwritten by VMware and other sponsors, WT2 had the option to offer free registration for attendees and made registration open to everyone. They have seen an enormous spike both in attendee numbers and in the number of countries represented. What was formerly a Silicon Valley-focused event has now become global with representatives from multiple countries across six continents. While most organizations do not have this option, the cost structure for a virtual event is very different and needs to be accounted for in registration pricing.
Plan for breaks: Attendees working from home are frequently interrupted by children, significant others and pets. Make sure there are breaks between sessions and offer attendees speaker-led activities like stretches or gentle exercises.
Prepare your speakers: Every speaker at the WT2 conference agreed to participate virtually without hesitation. Each speaker can rehearse twice before the event to ensure they are successful. Rehearsals are scheduled close to the time of day their session will be held, so in addition to testing equipment and access, speakers will be given feedback on their lighting and background. Someone will introduce them, monitor the chat and organize Q&As, and make sure all attendees can access the system with their passwords. Make full use of volunteers and committee members.
Security: Everything should be password-protected and available to only registered attendees, each with a unique code.
Recordings: Video conference platforms include the option of recording sessions. Have speakers sign video waivers, and plan how attendees can access these recordings after the event.
Accessibility: Accessibility issues have been raised for a number of conferences—virtual conferences are no different. Closed captioning is available in some video platforms. AccessSIGCHI has created a guide for creating Accessible Remote Attendance on its website.
The conference app company Whova recently launched a series of webinars for their customers who manage conferences and need to rapidly address becoming virtual.
Key issues highlighted include:
Virtual conference platforms. Video conferencing platforms vary in their pricing, ability to scale, and the amount of control over access that can be exercised
Time zones. Conference organizers should be mindful of time zones and consider shorter days
Sponsor/attendee engagement. Event sponsors will turn to event organizers to demonstrate unique ways to connect with attendees. Conference apps, websites and conference programs can be used to convey important sponsor information. Networking functions in apps and on-video platforms can connect sponsor representatives to individual attendees. Also consider using gamification functions to encourage attendees to visit sponsor pages and websites.
Attendee networking. Many conference attendees seek to broaden their networks and identify collaborators and mentors. Consider providing a platform to enable attendees to create a profile page and engage on a community bulletin board, and offer the option during sessions for attendees to chat with each other.
In March, the RESPECT Conference had three days needed to go virtual to help protect their attendees. Brianna Blaser, counselor/coordinator at DO-IT at the University of Washington, was both a presenter and attendee of the conference. “As it became clear that I wouldn’t be able to go to Portland, I was disappointed that I wouldn’t get to present my paper but also that I would miss out on connecting with colleagues who I only see in person once or twice a year. I was so glad to hear that RESPECT was going virtual. They made heavy use of breakout rooms for small group discussions, which meant I was able to connect with so many of those colleagues and meet new people as well.”
Families who play Pokémon GO and have dreamed of taking their kids to the game’s annual live event, Pokémon GO Fest, may have an easier time doing it this year.
The augmented reality game played via mobile app encourages participants to get out and explore their real-world surroundings by connecting the Pokémon universe to actual local businesses and landmarks
But due to the coronavirus pandemic, the game’s creators are taking the need to travel out of the equation, allowing families to participate in Pokémon GO Fest 2020 right in their own backyards.
Niantic formerly held Pokémon GO Fest in Chicago, Illinois, and in cities in Germany and Japan, where hundreds of thousands of fans traveled to designated outdoor parks to meet up in person and participate in special in-game challenges. But the spread of COVID-19 left the game creators needing a more socially distant way to connect fans.
“While we can’t bring hundreds of thousands of people together in a local park, we can certainly recreate the spirit of what Pokémon GO Fest represents,” Niantic said in a blog post. “We’ve designed this year’s event so trainers around the world can go outside to play and celebrate the summer, and do so, of course, while practicing social distancing and being safe.”
Tickets for the 2020 event, which will be held over the weekend of July 25-26, are on sale now. A GO Fest ticket, which covers both days of play, will cost each participant (each mobile device running the event and playing along) $14.99. Participants will enjoy a brand new adventure within the app on those days, and will have special projects and assignments to complete, all exclusive to the ticketed event.
During past in-person Pokémon GO events, the parks where the events were held were split into various “habitats,” where players could complete tasks and catch different Pokémon. For the virtual event, there will be rotating habitats within the app which will change every hour, regardless of the player’s geographic location.
Niantic plans to donate all proceeds from Pokémon GO Fest ticket sales to supporting the Black community amid the continuing protests surrounding the deaths of George Floyd other victims of police brutality. The proceeds will fund new projects from Black gaming and augmented reality creators as well as donating to U.S. non-profit organizations who are helping communities rebuild.
Comic-Con may be canceled this year, but Warner Bros.’ FanDome will convene a 24-hour virtual gathering of the biggest names in the DC Comics universe.
The studio announced Tuesday that DC FanDome will be held on August 22 starting at 10 a.m. PDT. The event will feature talent announcements and reveal new content from WB games, comics, film and television.
The announcement comes a couple months after Comic-Con, which attracts tens of thousands of comics fans to San Diego, was canceled due to the coronavirus-related restrictions around large gatherings.
Virtual panels will feature cast and creators from DC films including “The Batman,” “Black Adam” and “Wonder Woman 1984.” The panels will also highlight casts from television shows such as “The Flash,” “Stargirl” and “Black Lightning.”
“Wonder Woman 1984” was expected to be one of the summer’s biggest releases, but its arrival in theaters has been delayed until October.
FanDome will be spread out across six different areas on the event’s website: Hall of Heroes, DC WatchVerse, DC YouVerse, DC KidsVerse, DC InsiderVerse and DC FunVerse.
Continue on to KTLA News to read the complete article.
Public health has never been more critical and those in this field have become increasingly important as the coronavirus crisis continues to rage across the nation and around the world. Hunkering down due to stay-at-home orders, Americans are seeking advice as to how to cope, and Dr. Sanjay Gupta is one of the clear standouts in this fight against unseen enemies, the coronavirus and the misinformation surrounding it.
From the tragedies of 9/11 to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010, Dr. Gupta has a long and prestigious history of credible work within the healthcare and media industry as both a respected neurosurgeon and as a medical correspondent on CNN.
Most recently, Dr. Gupta has been advising those concerned about the realities of COVID-19 through his regular podcast, entitled, Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction. He interviews experts in healthcare and policy to provide useful, credible information to combat the influx of misinformation which has become rampant during this ongoing national emergency.
Dr. Gupta also spends his days at Emory University Hospitals with his colleagues helping to present facts to a nation inundated by information from all sides. His latest work includes antibody testing—which was administered to him personally— and describing what he learned from the process.
“There are two different tests we are all becoming familiar with,” he says. “A diagnostic test that searches for the genetic markers of the Coronavirus and one that tests for antibodies.”
Dr. Gupta had his own blood taken to a lab to determine whether he was exposed to the virus, and then used his platform on CNN to showcase how this is done. He showed each step through the eyes of the experts he often speaks with, including Dr. Fauci, the national director for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)—a name the nation has become familiar with over the last few months. On his Twitter profile, Dr. Gupta recites his interactions with individuals such as Dr. Fauci to provide additional insight on the outbreak, stating, “There is still so much we don’t know about how the [Corona] virus works and impacts our bodies.”
The Quest for a Vaccine
In another podcast episode, Dr. Gupta reviewed the latest developments for the much-needed COVID-19 vaccine.
“The search for a vaccine has become one of the fastest moving in history,” said Dr. Gupta during his interview with medical student Sean Doyle, who is one of several clinical participants in a vaccine trial.
Doyle received his first dose of the vaccine in March at Emory University Hospital where Dr. Gupta is on the faculty as a neurosurgeon. Since receiving it, Doyle has returned each week, giving blood samples so vaccine investigators can monitor his health and the effectiveness of the trial.
“People like Sean are the only way vaccines can be proven effective for the population at large,” Dr. Gupta said. “While there are unknown risks for the early trial volunteers, it would be even riskier to skip these important testing stages.”
He highlighted these risks by giving the Swine Flu vaccination program during the Ford Administration as an example. In 1976, the US feared a pandemic and the vaccine was rushed to the public.
“In less than a year, nearly 25 percent of Americans had been vaccinated,” he said. “But soon, devastating side effects began to emerge. At least 30 people died after receiving the vaccine and about 450 more developed Gian Beret Syndrome, a neurological disorder which can lead to paralysis. The program was ended and lawsuits flooded the government.”
This is just one example of why vaccine trials are so critical and why podcasts such as Dr. Gupta’s are so important—to ensure the public understands the critical components the government and healthcare providers must follow in order to keep the public safe from hasty quick fixes.
On the Frontlines
Dr. Gupta grew up in a suburb outside of Detroit, Michigan. His parents both worked at the Ford Motor Company, with his mother being the first female engineer hired by Ford. Dr. Gupta earned both his undergraduate and his medical degree from the University of Michigan, and he performed his residency at the university hospital. He completed fellowships at the University of Michigan Medical Center and the University of Tennessee’s Semmes-Murphy Clinic. In addition, Dr. Gupta was selected as one of 15 White House Fellows, in 1997, serving as a healthcare speech writer and special advisor for First Lady Hillary Clinton.
In 2003, he was named one of People Magazine’s, “Sexiest Men Alive.” The following year, he married Atlanta family law attorney Rebecca Olson and together, they have three daughters—Soleil, Sage and Sky.
In addition to his medical pedigrees, Dr. Gupta has extensive experience in medical journalism.
He publishes a column in Time Magazine and has written three books: Chasing Life, Cheating Death, and Monday Mornings: A Novel.
Dr. Gupta joined CNN as a medical correspondent in 2001, just months before the September 11th attacks, and reported from the wreckage at ground zero. He was on the frontlines, reporting the latest from the war. When the U.S. invaded Iraq in response to 9/11, Dr. Gupta embedded with the U.S. Navy’s “Devil Docs” medical unit, traveling from Kuwait to Baghdad, Iraq, providing live coverage. He also performed several life-saving brain surgeries in a combat hospital deep within the desert.
Dr. Gupta’s contributions have earned him many accolades, including his work covering the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2006, which earned CNN a Peabody Award. His coverage of the New Orleans Charity Hospital, which he revealed was not evacuated as previously thought, earned him an Emmy Award for Outstanding Feature Story.
He was also honored by the Atlanta Press Club, who named him Journalist of the Year for 2004, as well as for his work as a healthcare provider by the Health Communications Achievement Award from the American Medical Association.
In addition to informing the adult population on the coronavirus crisis, Dr. Gupta recently hosted a town hall meeting focused on children and their concerns. He worked in partnership with Sesame Street and CNN to develop the, “ABC’s of COVID-19: A CNN/Sesame Street Town Hall for Kids and Parents,” which tackled issues important to kids and their parents.
Explaining how the virus has become a pandemic, Dr. Gupta reassured children there was no reason to panic, because “Scientists, doctors, and nurses all over the world are working hard to help.”
Along with his nightly updates on the progression of the virus and continued developments of a life-saving vaccine, Dr. Gupta continues to provide insight through many outlets such as social media and his podcasts, reassuring both child and adult alike that humanity can and will overcome this invisible enemy.
“We don’t know when it’s going to be over—I wish we did, but that’s the honest answer,” he said. “But it is going to be over. It’s not going to last forever.”
Stephen Wamukota, a nine-year-old boy living in Mukwa Village in Kenya, has just received a presidential award for his latest invention, set to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
While watching television one day, Stephen came across a program that was informing its viewers how they can prevent themselves from spreading the virus. From this program, Stephen learned of the importance of regular handwashing.
While there are currently no cases of the virus in Stephen’s hometown, Kenya has experienced about 2,000 cases of the coronavirus, with 69 of those cases resulting in death, and the virus still has a possibility of spreading to Stephen’s village.
To keep himself and those in his community safe, Stephen decided to build a no-touch handwashing machine. Made primarily from a wooden window frame and a bucket, Stephen’s device is simple yet effective. Rather than touching the nozzle that has been touched by many others in the community, Stephen’s machine is powered by a foot pedal that releases the handwashing water from a bucket, allowing for others to wash their hands with little contamination. His father, James Wamukota, helped Stephen make the device.
Now having produced two of these machines and aspiring to build more, Stephen has received Kenya’s Presidential Order of Service Award and was promised a scholarship from his country’s governor, which Stephen hopes to use to become an engineer.
In February, NOGLSTP was pleased to announce its 2020 Recognition Awards for LGBTQ+ Scientist, Engineer, Educator, and Organization of the Year. Dr. Sean P.J. Whelan was awarded Scientist of the Year for his outstanding research and groundbreaking discoveries in the field of virology.
Little did we know at the time how important Dr. Whelan would be to the times that we are all living in. In July of 2019 Dr. Whelan was named head of the Department of Molecular Microbiology and the Marvin A. Brennecke Distinguished Professor of Microbiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
Previously he was the head of the virology program and professor of microbiology and immunobiology at the Harvard Medical School where he still directs a virology Center for Excellence in Translational Research working to find small molecules that prevent viruses form entering or replicating inside cells.
Whelan is thus a significant global leader in advancing the understanding of emerging viral infections. His virology research provides crucial insights into the function and structure of emerging diseases. “Since 1980, there has been a new, emerging infectious disease of humans on average every six months. Almost two-thirds of those agents are enveloped viruses, and the techniques we apply can rapidly provide insight into them,” Whelan said.
His studies focus on how viruses attach to cells, slip inside and hijack our bodies. Dr. Whelan identified the protein that the Ebola virus uses to latch onto cells and also the molecular process that rabies virus uses to invade cells. His research framework especially applies to the recent emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most approved antiviral drugs target the molecular machinery that viruses use to replicate, but such drugs do not exist for negative-sense RNA viruses, the category to which our current viral nemesis belongs. Understanding the molecular underpinnings of viral invasion and replication provides new targets for the development of antiviral therapeutics.
Whelan is a gay man whose openness has created opportunities to connect, network, and work with other LGBTQ+ scientists. He wants to encourages colleagues to be open and provide examples for students and young scientists. “It is important for LGBTQ students to understand that they may encounter some barriers, but those barriers are not insurmountable, and they can progress and succeed,” Whelan said. We have a hero in our midst who can potentially lead us out of this pandemic. Thank you, Dr. Sean Whelan, for your insights and service in bringing health and safety closer for all of our communities.
About NOGLSTP: The National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals (NOGLSTP) is a membership-based professional society managed by volunteers and a nonprofit educational organization under IRS section 501(c)(3). It was established in 1980 and incorporated in the State of California in 1991. Its mission is to educate the scientific and general communities about the presence and accomplishments of LGBT individuals in STEM professions. NOGLSTP presents educational symposia and workshops nationwide, and fosters dialog with other professional societies, academia and industry to facilitate diversity and inclusion in the workplace. For more information, visit https://www.noglstp.org/. NOGLSTP’s Recognition Awards were established in 2005 as a means to document and honor the contributions of outstanding LGBTQ+ science, engineering, technology, and mathematics professionals. The awards also honor corporations, academic institutions, and businesses that support LGBTQ+ professionals so that their achievements may be known and recognized as role models. The 2020 Recognition Awards were announced during the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting in Seattle, WA on February 14, 2020. Additional information on past awards are available at: noglstp.org/programsprojects/recognition-awards
This weekend, and for a while now, new dad of the entertainingly-named little boy, X Æ A-12 Musk, and footloose Twitter aficionado Elon Musk is having one of what he hopes will be a long future of space moments. It’s no small accomplishment to get the nod from NASA bigs that you can carry the most precious asset, their astronauts, up to the big game on the International Space Station, and kudos to Daddy Musk, and to NASA, for that.
But, talk about a cool flight suit: Musk and his deeply pedigreed Hollywood costume designer Jose Fernandez took a couple of years to design the new NASA super-skinny pressure suits. The spacesuits certainly look snazzy, with their close-to-the-body cut, their elegant dark silver (fireproof!) piping over the white Teflon fabric, their highly articulate gloves and neck, and the black knee-high boots that seem to quote the Duke of Wellington’s own below-the-knee cavalry boots, albeit ready for the wear and tear of outer space rather than that of Napoleon’s cannon at Waterloo.
Mr. Fernandez is no stranger to durable, tight-fitting clothes for heroes, having worked on costumes for Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Tron, Ironman 2, The Amazing Spiderman, and Captain America: Civil War, to name just a few of his impressive credits. He was first approached by SpaceX in 2016 to participate in a design competition and freely recounts that he didn’t, at first, understand that it was for a real space effort, not a movie production about a space effort, to which he would be submitting his work. “I didn’t know what SpaceX was, and I thought it was a film,” the modest Fernandez says.
Not so the light, ovoid, and very open-to-the-cosmos Fernandez helmet. Fernandez has not simply given his astronauts a better, less obstructed field of vision. The helmet tops a flexible and, for a spacesuit, very extended and articulate neck piece, best seen above on astronaut Doug Hurley, left, as he boards the Tesla on May 27 en route to the spacecraft before the first launch was scrubbed. In fact, some of the old NASA helmets would wholly prevent the astronaut from even contemplating getting his head low enough to get into a car as astronaut Hurley is doing. We’ll get to see Hurley and his partner Bob Behnken do it again on Saturday, and again with the excellent product placement of the Musk-enterprise-friendly Tesla as the new and very cushy official NASA launch-tender ride.
With the visor up, the Fernandez helmet resembles that of a Parisian pompeur , a fireman’s helmet, jaunty and protective at once. Visor down, the sleek ovoid quotes some of Kier Dullea’s very, very cool space headgear that Stanley Kubrick had commissioned for his masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey. In addition, close viewers of the Grammys and all fans of disco/electronic/dance/trance will notice a strong connection in the NASA helmet to the helmets sported by the ultra-shy French pop duo Daft Punk.
This is no accident: It should be noted that Daft Punk has in fact commissioned the brilliant Fernandez for several pieces of their trademark weird-oh disco-robot headgear. But as a deeply schooled “extreme couture” tailor to all sorts of cinematic superheros and heroines embroiled in narratives whose origins stretch back to the early 20th century, Mr. Fernandez would be well aware of Kubrick’s earlier camera-friendly helmet innovations.