Letter: Congress Needs to Extend Support for the National Teaching Health Center Program

To the Editor:

On July 1, a new academic year unlike any other began for medical residents throughout the nation.  However, one of the positive stories to emerge from the current COVID-19 pandemic has been the role medical residents at the nation’s 56 Teaching Health Centers (THCs) played to combat the coronavirus, including screening and testing patients at community health care clinics and adapting telehealth for countless individuals with chronic diseases. The heroic efforts of our residents at Greater Lawrence Family Health Center also validate the Teaching Health Center program, which Congress created over 10 years ago to help expand the primary care physician workforce in medically underserved areas. The outsized return in access to care and the increase in physicians demonstrate why policymakers must swiftly extend the program, which is due to expire on November 30, 2020. As noted below, this is particularly time-sensitive given the financial hardship faced by community health centers like ours due to the COVID-19 crisis. America has a shortage of primary care physicians and dentists and needs medical residents like those at our Lawrence Family Medicine Residency.

Letter: Tom Grannemann on Reopening Schools and American Democracy

To the Editor:

Real and terrible choices must be made to reopen schools. Very consequential choices with risks and uncertainty. The kinds of choices made in war and disasters. Choices to be made by those unprepared to make them. Mayors, school boards, and committees elected to make local policies and budgets, are now asked to make very real and tragic choices about who is exposed to contagion and who is not, who will be educated and who will not.

Nurses, Care Partners Give ‘All They Have’ Confronting COVID-19 in First Hospice House Precaution Unit

The first time I ever felt I wanted to be a nurse, I was married with a 2-year-old daughter, Gianna, and a 6-week-old son, Dylan. I attended a nursing school information session at Northern Essex Community College (NECC) in 2005. Unfortunately, I allowed comments about how hard nursing school would be with two young kids to keep me from pursuing a career change. Fast forward three years later to when I was a single mom raising my kids. My world was turned upside down when my father was diagnosed with a glioblastoma at the age of 59.

This Memorial Day: A Time to Reflect, Grieve, Thank and Honor

This year, we have a Memorial Day that shall be quite different from all others. It is a time for all of us to draw courage and strength from all those who came before us. It is an opportunity for all of us to support our neighbors and communities in a way that would make those who have died for our Country both grateful and proud. It shall be a time to reflect that our Nation is still at war, with 50 service members killed-in-action and 330 wounded-in-action in both Iraq and Afghanistan during 2019 and 2020. It is time to grieve the Veterans we have lost at the Holyoke and Chelsea Soldiers’ Homes due to COVID-19, and to commit ourselves that no such loss of life from any virus or infection shall ever occur again.

Paying for Education Should Not Pit One Group Against Another

To the Editor:

I am an educator in Haverhill Public Schools and have been a resident of this city for over 30 years. Over the last 16 years especially, we have seen the mentality that money towards education is like a black hole; what you put into it you will never see again. Most people understand that education is an investment; it is an investment in the city and it is an investment in its people. School is not just something our kids do for seven hours a day; we are preparing the future workforce; we are teaching lifelong habits and skills that can be used in any situation. It is a known fact that the single best shot a kid has to rise up the socioeconomic ladder and improve his or her life is through a quality education.

COVID-19 Response Requires New Deal-Style Investment, Not Austerity

To the Editor:

By now it is evident that the effects of the current world-wide coronavirus pandemic are being felt locally. Though our school buildings have closed, the learning continues. Despite incredible obstacles, the educators of Haverhill developed and implemented a remote learning program in mere days. Over the past eight weeks, the educators in our community have worked longer days under more challenging conditions than ever before to provide for our students. With their own children at home, their own lives disrupted, and their own fears about themselves or one of their loved ones becoming ill, they have stepped up to the plate like never before.