Associations stepped up to take on key public health roles during the pandemic, informing the public and supporting front-line workers during a difficult time.
This year, World Health Day feels like a bigger marker than it usually does. It’s a chance to recognize the role that the medical field played during the pandemic, helping to save lives and keep people safe during an immeasurably difficult year.
Associations in the medical and public health fields played a big part in that as well. Associations Now is reflecting on the ways medical and nonmedical associations have helped since lockdowns began in the U.S. in March 2020.
Taken as individual acts, these steps may seem modest. But together, they demonstrate the power of associations in an unprecedented crisis. Read our timeline below:
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March 10: The American Health Care Association calls for steps to limit the number of people entering nursing care facilities. “We believe providers must take dramatic action to limit individuals from entering our buildings and to ensure that employees who are sick stay home,” AHCA CEO Mark Parkinson said.
March 11: The World Health Organization formally declares COVID-19 a pandemic.
March 16: The White House calls for the cancellation of gatherings of more than 10 people, one day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends canceling events of 50 or more people. That same day, 29 patient organizations call for legislation to protect those most vulnerable to COVID-19. These efforts help lead to the quick passage and signing of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which expands paid leave rights for employees, two days later.
March 23: Mental health organizations report an increase in demand for services over the phone.
March 27: President Donald Trump signs the CARES Act, the first major COVID-19 stimulus package, into law.
April 1: The National Association of Manufacturers and Business Roundtable work together to help make critical supplies available to medical facilities.
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April 29: The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials and National Coalition of STD Directors offer training to public health agencies to assist with contact tracing. “The key to reopening the economy is through a wide-scale contact tracing effort, the likes of which STD contact tracers are most familiar with,” said David C. Harvey, executive director for NCSD.
May 4: The Advanced Medical Technology Association teams with the Aerospace Industries Association, a supply chain tracking firm, and Google to create VentConnect (now called Med Device Network), an effort to increase ventilator production.
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May 12: The American Heart Association launches a data challenge to better understand the ties between COVID-19 and other health conditions, as well as social health disparities. “Long before the pandemic, systemic challenges have contributed to disparities that impede some people from living long, healthy lives,” said AHA’s chief of data science, Jennifer Hall, Ph.D. “COVID-19 has further exacerbated this issue.” The association would later release research finding that heart issues are a common factor in severe COVID-19 cases.
May 14: The American Medical Association warns that antibodies should not be mistaken for immunity.
May 29: The World Health Organization releases updated guidelines for mass gatherings.
June 18: The American…