Meeting Notes, July 29, 2020

President Joanne Pierson

The meeting bell rang promptly for the July 29, 2020 Zoom meeting. Tom Strode immediately took it away with America the Beautiful. Bob Buchannan’s Inspiration continued the theme, sharing beautiful pictures of Lake Michigan at all times of day, musing on how its beauty and timelessness inspires him. Don Duquette’s video of a Hamilton parody of King George debating masking up caused a lot of smiles. You can find it on YouTube.

President Joanne thanked the people who make our Zoom meetings possible, noting that more hands are needed.  She greeted guests and announced birthdays.

Barbara Bach reported on her visit to Ghana with Tim Johnson to see the Fistula project.  Tim has worked in Ghana for 36 years. They had joined Kofi Gyan  in 2018 to visit medical facilities for women’s health and five OBGYN teaching hospitals. The University of Michigan has had a collaboration with Ghana on medical education; Kofi  worked as the Program Manager for over a decade. They met Dr. Gabriel Yao-Kumah, OBGYN, FIGO and certified fistula surgeon.  They learned of the stigma associated with fistula and returned home determined to do something about it.  Barbara and the IHPC committee applied for a district grant to fund services at two sites.  The Rotary Club of WA sponsored the project.  The total number of people expected to be trained is approximately 259, to include Birth Attendants, volunteers, opinion leaders, Community Health nurses and midwives.  The budget of $2000 for each site covers materials, technical support, water, lunch and travel assistance.  Barbara reminds us that we cannot understand “on the ground issues”, you have to go there.

Arthur Williams

Arthur Williams gave a very moving and informative talk about the passing of three Civil Rights leaders, Joseph Lowery (October 6, 1921 – March 27, 2020), Cordy Tindell (C.T.) Vivian (July 30, 1924 – July 17, 2020) and John R. Lewis (February 21, 1940 – July 17, 2020).  These three great and inspirational leaders kept the movement for social justice for Black and brown Americans alive and vibrant, to bring us to this moment where there is a call for equality and justice from all people in the United States and across the world.  Read Arthur’s presentation, which features many quotes from these great men, here.

President Joanne announced that Dues are DUE – and invited all of us to attend the Mid Summer Italian Festival on August 17.  Dinner will be by Paesano’s, preceded by 6:00 pm Happy Hour featuring music and fun, emceed by Steve Schram.  At 7:00pm there will be an informative talk by wine experts Mike Roddy, founder of Paesano Restaurant & Wine bar, and Chaad Thomas of Eagle Eye Imports. During the evening’s presentation on Zoom, a special Magnum of the superb Montefalco Sagrantino, Scacciodiavolo 2015 will be auctioned (opening bid of $300, $750 minimum reserve). Cost to attend is $50.00 per person.  Dinner is $50.00 with wine available.  This replaces our Golf and Tennis fundraiser, with all proceeds going to Helping Kids Succeed. More detail and signups are on our website.

Notes from the Program

Jimena Loveluck

Tom Millard introduced Jimena Loveluck.  Jimena is the Washtenaw County Health Officer and as such is in charge of all public health services in the county.  This is a very busy agency, and she had much to tell.  The agency has three main areas of work.  they run clinics that address the social determinants of health including the dental clinic, hearing and vision, WIC and sexual health among others.  They perform environmental inspections and issue permits and mitigate hazards.  They run programs to address emergency preparedness, suicide prevention, reduce stigma around mental health, and of course, disease surveillance.

The Public Health Department began talking about Covid in January and when it emerged in our county in March, they reorganized staff and discontinued other services to concentrate on Covid. They disseminated information in all media: print in many languages, website, social media posts, phone and email, and many meetings with citizen groups. They continue with surveillance and data reporting, updating every day.  At this point we are plateauing in Washtenaw County. They are contact tracing every known or suspected infection.  They are facilitating testing and are operating pop up sites to bring testing into suspected outbreaks. Volunteers and staff are supporting people in quarantine. They have supplied 20,280 pieces of PPE to non-hospital facilities like nursing homes. Michigan has robust public health laws that allow them to issue orders to protect essential workers.  The community has been very supportive of their efforts, which is gratifying.

Opportunities to improve include securing more investment in public health, mitigating health inequity, cross-sector collaboration and ongoing support of other organizations working toward the same goals. Reopening and planning ahead, expect wearing masks long term, more testing, more contact tracing, and ongoing guidance and technical assistance.  There must be more focus on promoting the health of essential workers and vulnerable populations, strengthening safety net services, and when it arrives, vaccination accessibility and community acceptance.

After a short question period, President Joanne announced that next week’s program is TBD.  She closed with a quote from Dr. Anthony Fauci in his May 2020 commencement address to the graduates of his alma mater —  the College of the Holy Cross. “Now is the time, if ever there was one, to care selflessly for one another.”


Notes by Agnes Reading, photographs by Fred Beutler