Every day, health care workers and scientists put their health at risk to treat patients and work to better understand COVID-19 and hopefully how to slow its devastation. However, these professionals are often working without access to appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). As was so eloquently expressed in a recent op-ed by Marie McCausland, a molecular virologist, immunologist, and health advocate working as a postdoctoral fellow at Case Western Reserve University, health care workers are not martyrs. Safety must take priority over profit, and these professionals must have access to quality PPE. Now is the time for large companies to pull together, share information and make the resources available - this includes N95 masks and testing kits - to give people whatever they need to do their jobs in a safe environment. As part of the health care community, it is our responsibility to advocate for the protection of health care workers and researchers everywhere.
Marie’s op-ed is a stark reminder of how the workforce has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Hearing the stories of others can be therapeutic and effective for change. I encourage you to share your stories about life as a cancer researcher during this time. On Twitter, tag @caseccc and use #COVID19 or #COVIDnCancer. You may also email the Cancer Center communications team at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your story, ask a question, or ask for support. Remember, we are in this together.