Collaboration vs. Covid- CMU Leads the Way

One of the challenges of life during the current covid pandemic is the increased isolation that is our new reality.

When most of the country has some form of shelter in place order to protect public safety, working together often is sacrificed.

Central Michigan University researcher Lana Ivanitskaya, a faculty member in Central Michigan University’s School of Health Sciences, is stepping up as one of those “everyday heroes” fighting against this trend, and the virus.

From Jeff Johnston’s article on CMU News online:

“On a mission to stop the easy spread of COVID-19, her strategy is to supply as many masks and as much knowledge to as many people as possible. To do that, she’s assembling a team that bridges cultures, spans the globe, and features CMU students and alumni. Her efforts include:

  • Enlisting Amish and Mennonite communities in Michigan to sew scientifically designed face masks by the hundreds for distribution.
  • Working with a CMU doctoral degree student in the Navajo Nation — where some of her masks are headed — to coordinate financial support of mask production through the health care nonprofit he directs.
  • Collaborating with experts and health care workers around the world on a multidisciplinary short course about the pandemic offered through CMU this summer.
  • Teaming up with multinational colleagues and CMU alumni on websites to explain do-it-yourself mask-making and the science behind mask-wearing.”

Dr. Ivanitskaya, whose background is in Industrial/Organizational Psychology is dedicated to using the rigorous problem solving and organizational understanding to help communities build capacity to solve problems.

This includes empowering the Amish and Mennonite communities to use research backed designs for face masks, which include an innovative nose strap designed by Sarah, an Amish seamstress- a bag tie that helps the mask fit more snugly on the face to limit virus exposure.

Additionally, she is working with her student to organize financial support for the Navajo Nation, which has experienced more death from covid than 13 states, so far supplying 10 tons of supplies.

As if this was not enough, she is collaborating with Indiana University and the Swedish Healthcare Academy to provide an exploration of the global effects of this crisis. This 3 credit online course will be provided by Central Michigan University this summer.

Her understanding of the importance of an enemy that knows no borders provides the eloquent last word on the need for creativity and collaboration:

“The virus does not care if he is Hispanic, she is Amish, I am a Russian or they are American Indians. The virus will take us one by one if we don’t work together.” —

Dr. Lana Ivanitskaya, Central Michigan University News online

Questions for Discusion:

  1. Why has isolation increased during the pandemic?
  2. Who are some of the partners Dr. Ivanitskaya is collaborating with?
  3. Why do you think collaboration is essential in combating this covid virus?
  4. What was the innovation developed by Sarah, the seamstress?
  5. How has covid impacted the Navajo Nation?
  6. What does “eloquent” mean in the last paragraph?

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