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Member Toolkit: Raising Awareness of the Road Map to Reset the Nation’s Response on COVID-19

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Use our tools to communicate, coordinate, and collaborate to raise awareness of The Way Forward on COVID-19: A Road Map to Reset the Nation’s Response.

Not for Public Distribution: Please note this toolkit is intended for AAMC constituents only.

Talking points

Social media

Newsletter and Web

Op-ed

Background materials for reference

Talking Points

As academic medical centers, the AAMC is calling on your institutions to serve as sources of authoritative and trusted information for the general public and in local communities. Over the next few weeks, reach out to your members of Congress, state and local government officials, and community leaders to tell them about the road map and encourage their support of the recommendations. The talking points are meant to guide your conversations, provide facts about the pandemic, and outline what needs to be done to help reset our nation’s response to the pandemic.

Main Messages

  • Rising numbers of COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths across America this summer make it clear the nation needs to change course, and quickly, to save lives.
  • The AAMC road map lays out a set of comprehensive, evidence-based, and commonsense recommendations to reset the nation’s approach to the coronavirus pandemic through a coordinated response.
  • Stopping the pandemic is everyone’s responsibility. To succeed, we must all work together: elected officials, health professionals, public health experts, the private and public sectors, academic medical centers, communities, families, and each of us as individuals.

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About The Way Forward on COVID-19

This plan focuses on 11-evidence-based actions — both immediate and long-term. These include three particularly urgent recommendations:

  • Supplies: Invoke the Defense Production Act or other means to remedy critical laboratory and equipment shortages such as personal protective equipment, as well as set specific numerical targets for stockpiles of supplies in health care institutions, local regions, and at the national level.

  • Testing: Increase testing to 2.3 million tests per day and decrease turnaround times for testing by eliminating supply shortages and coordination problems, as well as through use of point-of-care antigen testing and greater use of academic medical center labs.

    • 2.3 million tests per day is based on the AAMC’s recommendation to maintain a positivity rate of less than 3% at the current rate of 70,000 newly diagnosed cases a day.
    • We also call on the federal government to create a central web portal that allows shortages in testing supplies to be quickly reported and remedied, and to take a clearer role in managing the supply chain so fewer shortages arise.
  • Face coverings: Establish national standards on face coverings to stop the spread, especially by asymptomatic individuals, and make them mandatory in areas of growing community spread.

Other recommendations for immediate action:

  • Establish and enforce national criteria for local stay-at-home orders and reopening protocols.
  • Establish national criteria for K-12 school reopenings and establish a working group to study different approaches by mid-August. The National Academy of Sciences criteria and strategies are reasonable.
  • Call on Congress to expand, and at least partly subsidize, health insurance through COBRA for individuals who have lost jobs due to the pandemic.
  • Begin planning now to prioritize distribution of SARS-CoV-2 vaccine(s).
  • Address and resolve health care inequities, including executing better data collection.
  • Engage academic medical centers to serve as sources of authoritative and trusted information for the general public and in local communities.

The road map also identifies two longer-term, larger-scale changes that will improve the overall health of our nation:

  • Broaden health insurance coverage, because the epidemic has made clear that having a desire to work and the necessary skills may not be enough when employers are engaging in survival-focused reductions in force.
    • Medicaid should be expanded in all 50 states.
    • In addition, for those not eligible for Medicaid, there should be a federally subsidized insurance option for all individuals below a certain annual income.
  • Strengthen our public health infrastructure, which has been underfunded for decades.
    • Federal, state, and local governments should implement and prioritize policies and expenditures to strengthen the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as improve and standardize the quality and effectiveness of state and local public health departments.

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Why this road map is needed

In the six months since the novel coronavirus came to the United States, nearly 150,000 have died and more than 4 million have been confirmed to be infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. What we need is a truly comprehensive and coordinated approach.

  • Around the country, we have lots of recommendations from many highly qualified people, but what’s lacking is a truly comprehensive approach and a more coordinated national response.
    • Instead we have a patchwork system where it’s every state for itself, every lab for itself when it comes to testing supplies, and every community, including the most vulnerable, on its own. This must change.
  • If the nation does not change its course — and soon — deaths in the United States could well be in the multiples of hundreds of thousands.

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What you can do

Here are some examples of the kinds of actions AAMC constituents can take; the road map document contains specific details:

  • Federal legislators: Congress should ease some of the burden right away. In addition to the relief measures that lawmakers are debating, they should extend — and at least partially subsidize — COBRA coverage to individuals who are out of work due to the pandemic. They should also increase federal support for cash-strapped states and their Medicaid programs. In the longer term, for those not eligible for Medicaid, there should be a federally subsidized insurance option for individuals below a certain annual income. In addition, legislators should also implement and prioritize policies and expenditures to strengthen our public health infrastructure at the federal, state, and local levels.

  • Administration/Coronavirus Task Force/Federal agencies: The administration should invoke the Defense Production Act or other means to remedy critical laboratory and equipment shortages, as well as set specific numerical targets for stockpiles of supplies in health care institutions, local regions, and at the national level. We also call on the federal government to create a central web portal that allows shortages in testing supplies to be quickly reported and remedied, and to take a clearer role in managing the supply chain so fewer shortages arise. There’s also a role for regulators; for example, the Food and Drug Administration should continue to monitor critical drug shortages.

  • State governments: One urgent step, for those states that haven’t done so yet, is to expand Medicaid so that all people, including those with chronic health issues and preexisting conditions, can maintain coverage despite loss of employment. States should also standardize the quality and effectiveness of state and local public health departments.

  • Businesses: Companies should be encouraged to build or develop a domestic supply chain for medications that might become less available if international demand increases, for example. Other commercial partners, such as telecommunications providers, can send out daily texts and reminders about important updates about the virus and conditions in local areas.

  • Academic medical centers: In addition to all they are doing on the front lines of the pandemic, academic medical institutions should serve as reliable and trusted sources of information about the virus in general and in local communities. In addition to including information on their websites, institutions should organize teams to meet with members of local community organizations, vulnerable groups, families, and others to provide more personalized and targeted communication about the virus to the public. See recommendation 9 in the road map.

  • Communities: Locally, the AAMC recommends convening a working group of educators, state officials, school system leaders, and community representatives to assess and implement strategies for reopening schools. Additionally, future data collection efforts and surveillance should be developed in collaboration with local community members and community-based organizations, which have trusted and established relationships with local residents and leaders.

  • Individuals: Everyone has a role to play, through everyday actions like wearing masks and relying on authoritative and trusted sources of information.

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Sample Social Media Messages

Feel free to use these social media messages and graphics to show your support and raise awareness of the road map. When possible, please customize these posts with information specific to your institution or organization and tag Members of Congress with whom you have existing relationships.

We encourage you to include the hashtag #COVIDRoadMap in all posts and tweets.

The AAMC also will be sharing content from our @AAMCtoday handle and our main AAMC Facebook page; feel free to like, share, retweet, or quote tweet any of our content.

Sample Tweets

  • [We or your institution’s name] urge [Your state or community] leaders to follow @aamctoday’s guidance on face coverings. Learn more about these recommendations: https://bit.ly/3adszUu #COVIDRoadMap

  • Coming within 6 feet of someone outside your household? #PutAMaskOnIt. For more do’s and don’ts, check out @aamctoday’s new guidance on face coverings: https://bit.ly/3adszUu #COVIDRoadMap 

  • Rising infections, hospitalizations, and deaths make it clear America needs to change course on COVID-19 to save lives. The AAMC #COVIDRoadMap will reset the nation’s approach to the pandemic through a comprehensive, coordinated response. https://bit.ly/33biNR9
  • AAMC President @DavidJSkorton's op-ed in the @washingtonpost introduces a #COVIDRoadMap to dramatically reset the nation’s approach to the pandemic through a comprehensive, coordinated response. Read it here: https://wapo.st/3fcOXho
  • “We are up to this challenge, and so is our nation if we work together.” The AAMC's #COVIDRoadMap focuses on a set of immediate, evidence-based, commonsense and longer-term actions that must be taken to improve the public health of our nation. https://bit.ly/33biNR9
  • Stopping the pandemic is everyone’s responsibility. To succeed, we must act together and now.
    [We or your institution's name] support the AAMC’s #COVIDRoadMap to reset the nation’s approach to the pandemic. https://bit.ly/33biNR9

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Sample Facebook Posts

  • The quicker we make face coverings our “new normal,” the faster we can overcome #COVID19. #PutAMaskOnIt and learn more about when, how, and why to wear masks from the Association of American Medical Colleges: https://bit.ly/3adszUu #COVIDRoadMap
     

  • Stopping the pandemic is everyone’s responsibility. To succeed, we must act together and now.

    Rising COVID-19 case numbers, hospitalizations, and deaths across America this summer make it clear America needs to change course, and quickly, to save lives. [We or your institution's name] support the AAMC’s road map to dramatically reset the nation’s approach to the coronavirus pandemic through a comprehensive, coordinated response. https://bit.ly/30bfqba
     
  • We are up to this challenge, and so is our nation if we — our elected officials, doctors and scientists, public health experts, the private and public sectors, communities, families, and each of us as individuals — work together at the national, state, and local levels.

    The AAMC #COVIDRoadMap focuses on a set of immediate, evidence-based, commonsense and longer-term actions that must be taken to improve the public health of our nation. https://bit.ly/30bfqba

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Spanish Language Posts

  • ¿Cuales son las medidas más importantes que podemos tomar para prevenir la propagación del Covid-19? #COVIDRoadMap
    ✔️ Uso constante de mascarillas
    ✔️ Lavarse las manos con frecuencia
    ✔️ Mantener el distanciamiento social
     
  • Instamos a los gobiernos a nivel estatal y a sus comunidades a seguir estas pautas para educarse sobre cómo y cuándo usar las mascarillas. #COVIDRoadMap

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Sample Newsletter and Web Language

You can share information about the AAMC’s road map through your organization’s website, newsletters, and other communications you send to patients, families, and communities. Use or customize the sample language below to spread the word with your local community.


 

[Name of Institution] Supports New AAMC Road Map to Reset the Nation’s Approach to the COVID-19 Pandemic

As the numbers of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to rise, the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) has released The Way Forward on COVID-19: A Roadmap to Reset the Nation’s Approach to the Pandemic to dramatically change the nation’s approach to the coronavirus pandemic and save lives. [Name of institution] endorses this road map, which includes 11 evidence-based actions — both immediate and long-term — that represent a comprehensive, coordinated plan in place of the patchwork approach our nation has taken to date.

[Insert quote from your institutional leadership on why you believe this road map is important.]

The academic medicine community has an important role to play as a trusted and authoritative source of information, in addition to everything we are doing on the front lines of the pandemic response. The road map also includes action steps for elected officials, the public and private sectors, and individuals.

For more information and to learn more about the AAMC road map, please visit /covidroadmap.

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Sample Op-ed

Placing an op-ed from your institution’s leader(s) in your local newspaper is an effective way to increase awareness of the AAMC road map. Customize the template with your local data and personalized experiences. The goal is to show how this issue is specifically affecting your local area and institution. We encourage you to coordinate with other institutions in your area to avoid multiple organizations submitting similar op-eds to the same media outlet. Varying the content submitted by different authors is important, and you may want to consider co-authoring. Make sure to check your local media outlets’ instructions for submitting op-eds. They may specify maximum word counts and provide details on where and how to submit your op-ed.


 

[Write Your Own Headline Here]

You don’t have to be a [scientist/physician] to see that the path we’re on is unsustainable.

Here in [state], over the past [XX] weeks, we’ve seen the rate of COVID-19 infections rise by [XX]%. The number of deaths, too, is climbing: so far, the virus has killed [XX] residents of our state — [XX] in the past month alone. Across our country, the data from many other states tells a similar story: one of an uphill climb that is getting steeper. And for those who survive, we still don’t know the long-term consequences or future health challenges they will face.

It is urgent, therefore, that the nation find a new path. We feel this need acutely at [institution], where [2-3 sentences on how the institution has been struggling to help combat COVID-19]. Our doctors, nurses, EMTs, and other front-line workers are waging a valiant fight every day — at great risk to themselves — to protect our community. But they need more support at every level.

The doctors, scientists, and medical educators of the AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) have concluded that we must take a stand together. [This week,] the organization — of which [institution] is a member — released a road map to reset the nation’s approach to the pandemic. The road map proposes a series of commonsense, evidence-based steps for immediate action. Each step is essential in its own right, but taken together, they constitute a needed coordinated national response. The current patchwork approach — in which institutions like ours are left to fend for ourselves, competing with other facilities for resources — costs lives and needless suffering.

One of the AAMC’s most pressing recommendations concerns the widespread shortages in laboratory equipment, personal protective equipment (PPE), and other vital medical supplies. For many of us at [institution], these shortages are part of every day: [data, anecdote, and/or quote from front-line worker making clear how shortages, or even just fear/expectation of shortages, affect the availability or quality of care as well as safety of the workforce]. Many hospitals, particularly those in hot spots, are struggling with this reality.

The AAMC road map, therefore, urges the federal government to invoke the Defense Production Act or other means to increase domestic production of laboratory and equipment supplies, such as PPE. Also, to make sure that no facility is ever caught short of what it needs, the government should set thresholds for supply levels: every health care institution should have a three-day supply in the building, a two-week supply within range of a two-to-three-hour drive, and a full month’s supply in warehouses within the region. Any surplus supplies should be stockpiled at a national level and distributed wherever the need is the greatest.

Of equal urgency, the AAMC recommends that the United States set a goal of conducting 2.3 million COVID-19 tests per day to keep pace with positivity rates. On testing, as on supply levels, the government needs to step up its role in coordinating the response. Specifically, it should create a central web portal that permits shortages in testing supplies to be reported and addressed swiftly. And as tests become more available, test results need to be delivered more quickly. This is the only effective way to stop a virus that can be spread even before a carrier shows symptoms.

As the road map makes clear, every aspect of the pandemic requires a more robust, coordinated response by the federal government. We need national standards that can be applied locally on face coverings and national criteria for stay-at-home orders, reopenings of businesses, and K-12 school reopenings. Different parts of the country will face different challenges, but the way the virus spreads does not vary from city to city or state to state. A pandemic, by its nature, pays no mind to state lines any more than it does to national borders.

All these steps can and must be taken immediately. The road map also charts a longer-term path forward, beyond this pandemic. Large-scale changes are needed in at least two areas: We need to broaden health insurance coverage and to strengthen our public health infrastructure. These long overdue changes will help minimize or prevent the next pandemic — and, even more, they will make the delivery of health care more equitable for all Americans.

Our nation has not faced a health challenge on this scale in more than a century, since the influenza pandemic of 1918. Since then, health care and the life sciences have advanced by leaps and bounds. Yet that pandemic and the current one call on some of the same fundamental human qualities: resilience, compassion, and, above all, a recognition that we are in this together. The people of [institution] remain ready to join with others to do our part.

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