Comment are off
Hosting My Own Coronavirus Community Session
Earlier this week, I became aware that folks in my hometown of the Rio Grande Valley, Texas were not heeding the warnings of the CDC and WHO regarding the seriousness of the coronavirus situation. I was regularly checking social media in the hopes that I’d find distant family members and friends scaling back their social activities, preparing to hunker down at home, and showing signs that they were planning to practice social distancing; however, what I found was that a lot of people were saying things like, “I’m healthy, I’m young, I’m not worried.” I’m not sure whether its the other worldly feel of our current “new normal,” or if people just aren’t able to grasp the gravity of the situation because there is so much coming at them on the news, but I decided I wanted to use my skills as a scientist to try to help in any way possible. I’m a firm believer that all people deserve transparent scientific and medical information, and they often receive it better when it’s shared by someone they know and trust.
For these reason, and as a member of the scientific community, I wanted to reach out to my community to try to dispel rumors that may be harmful to folks as well as to provide them with credible information during a time of information overload. I planned on doing just one Facebook Live Q & A session (I’d never used this feature before) to answer questions from my community about anything related to the coronavirus.
However, after I began getting emails, messages, calls after the first session I made the decision to do them daily if possible. Some of the comments and questions came from people I hadn’t spoken to since high school, and others came from dear friends looking for a friendly token of guidance from a familiar voice. People need a conduit of necessary information from someone they feel is accessible in this era of information overload, and I was hoping I could provide this to them on some level with these very personal video sessions. We’re experiencing a time of increased skepticism in the validity of science and to make matters worse the political divide has made us less trusting than ever before; because of this, I wanted to share unbiased scientific top line updates from what’s going on with coronavirus in a way that people can easily absorb from someone who simply wants to help by sharing credible information.
Ultimately, my hope is that these Facebook Live video updates will curb some of the anxiety out there, and offer guidance when things are extremely uncertain for people all throughout my community and beyond. I also hope that other scientists and medical professionals will host similar virtual Q&A sessions within their own communities, leveraging those core scientific skills to share transparent, unbiased information about the current crisis facing us all.
Posted by Annie Manchirez on Wednesday, March 18, 2020
About The Author
Dr. Annie Mancha-Ramirez graduated from UT Health San Antonio in 2017 with a Ph.D. from the Cellular and Structural Biology program (focus on Cancer Biology). In 2018 she left San Antonio to begin her career as an industry scientist at the Fortune 500 consumer products company, Procter & Gamble in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her research and development work at P&G focuses on supporting the healthcare portfolio including products such as NyQuil, Metamucil, and Align.