A COVID-19 Message from James R. Downing, MD

By  James R. Downing, MD; Photo by Justin Veneman

 

With the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year, life across the country and around the world transformed nearly overnight. At St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, we moved quickly to protect the health and safety of our employees, families and the most vulnerable members of our community—our patients. It is a sacred privilege to care for the children and families of St. Jude. I am inspired by their courage, moved by their dedication and committed to being their advocate and partner through this crisis and beyond.

Our hospital founder, Danny Thomas, once said, “No man stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child.” St. Jude employees stood tall and pulled together to create one of the safest harbors against COVID-19 in the nation.

As you will see in this edition of Promise, we instituted innovative protection measures across clinical, scientific and administrative operations. These include a first-of-its-kind COVID-19 testing program for employees, patients and families; campus zoning; reduced personnel and visitors’ access; and heightened infection control procedures.

 

It is a sacred privilege to care for the children and families of St. Jude. I am inspired by their courage, moved by their dedication and committed to being their advocate and partner through this crisis and beyond.

James R. Downing, MD

 

It takes a small village to accomplish institution-wide monitoring, preparedness, screening and surveillance. But thanks to these steps, we have been able to minimize the impact of the virus among the St. Jude community.

Beyond the gates of our campus, the pandemic surges through communities near and far, with millions of people infected. Meanwhile, we continue to respond to the threat while pursuing cutting-edge research and providing exceptional medical care for children with life-threatening diseases.

When the pandemic weighs on us, it is important to recall the lessons inherent in our mission. We know that good can arise and challenges can be overcome when a shared purpose is coupled with love and courage. Let us hold tight to these powerful forces—and remember their capacity for positive change.  

 
 

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