Several Wayne State University School of Medicine faculty members and Wayne Health, the school’s academic faculty practice, were named 2021 Healthcare Heroes by Crain’s Detroit Business magazine.
Teena Chopra, M.D., M.P.H., '11, professor of Internal Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, was named a COVID-19 Explainer-in-Chief by Crain’s.
Dr. Chopra, corporate medical director of Hospital Epidemiology, Infection Prevention and Antibiotic Stewardship at the Detroit Medical Center and Wayne State University, became one of the key sources of COVID-19 information for Detroit and the nation during the pandemic. She was interviewed by countless newspapers, and radio and television stations, providing the latest updates on hospitalizations, explanations of how the disease spreads, and precautions Americans could and should take to protect themselves and their families.
Dr. Chopra “told us about the hospitalizations, the sickness and deaths of patients, how families and friends were separated from loved ones for public safety reasons, sometimes during their last hours,” Crain’s wrote.
She was among the first in the state “to call attention to the rising numbers of seniors being admitted (to hospitals) from nursing homes.”
Dr. Chopra also worked in the hospitals of the DMC, developing treatments, testing initiatives and infection prevention protocols to safeguard staff and patients, the publication noted.
Crain’s recognized Wayne Health with its Corporate Achievement Healthcare Hero honor for its innovative and immediate efforts to protect frontline health care workers and first responders during the pandemic.
Led by Phillip Levy, M.D., M.P.H., professor of Emergency Medicine and chief innovation officer for the practice group, Wayne Health began testing frontline health care workers and first responders such as police officers, firefighters and emergency medical services personnel for COVID-19 drive-through style at the Wayne Health headquarters at 400 Mack Ave. in Detroit. Those tested were notified of their results via private text to their phones.
Wayne Health leaders, including Charles Shanley, M.D., FACS, president and chief executive officer of Wayne Health and vice dean for Clinical Affairs for the WSU School of Medicine, and Dr. Levy soon realized the need to take the testing on the road, and began doing so with a small fleet of mobile testing vans. Soon the teams were providing mobile testing at nursing homes, police and fire stations, churches and other community sites across Michigan.
Other organizations, including ACCESS, Blue Cross Blue Shield and Ford Motor Co. joined the effort, with Ford donating additional fully-equipped vans, building the mobile testing fleet to five units. Additional funding for the project was provided by Wayne State University, the United Way, the Community Fund of Southeast Michigan, the DTE Foundation, the Ralph Wilson Jr. Foundation and others.
Hollywood producer Steven Soderbergh, in Detroit late last year filming “No Sudden Move,” donated two more mobile health units after Dr. Levy and team provided daily testing for cast and crew.
As COVID-19 vaccines became available, the effort adopted once again. Because the mobile fleet was equipped with refrigeration units, volunteers began providing vaccinations at churches, community centers, municipal offices and other sites.
In addition to testing and vaccines, the units offered blood pressure screenings, flu shots, HIV testing and other assistance to address social determinants of health.
The state of Michigan, recognizing the success of a program that launched when access to community testing was virtually nonexistent, provided three additional mobile units to the fleet.
To date, the Wayne Health mobile fleet has tested more than 33,000 Michigan residents for COVID-19 and administered more than 10,000 first and second doses of the vaccine.