Vigo County high schools will have remote learning on Mondays

The district will also rely on remote learning during inclement weather this winter, and these remote learning Mondays will give staff and students a …

Starting Monday, all Vigo County high school students will have remote learning days on Mondays, the school district announced today.

Remote learning Mondays will continue while Vigo County experiences a significant number of daily new cases and will ensure contact tracing and quarantines resulting from weekend cases.

“We’re not currently experiencing issues with contact tracing, but we want to be cautious,” said Rob Haworth, superintendent. “Our ability to keep students and staff safe relies on contact tracing and quarantines. We do not want students or staff to walk into our buildings on Monday mornings if they should be at home.”

High school is of greatest concern due to the complicated nature of contact tracing the cases, due to the number of classes students take with a diverse group of students and staff, according to a district news release.

The district will also rely on remote learning during inclement weather this winter, and these remote learning Mondays will give staff and students a chance to practice.

Starting on Tuesday, North and South Vigo high schools will be utilizing their auditoriums during lunch to allow for greater distancing between students. West Vigo High School is already successfully using the Green Dome during lunch.

Teachers will be working from their buildings on Mondays, and may choose to hold Google Meet sessions with students or post work to Canvas for students to complete. The remote learning schedule has been posted under the high school tab of the section “Current Educational Model” at

Students are welcome to use the WiFi outside of any VCSC building, and the district’s WiFi buses will be dispatched throughout the day. A schedule for these buses will be shared with students later this weekend.

Free grab and go meals for high school students will be available from 11-noon in front of North and South Vigo High Schools and Noon-1 p.m. in front of West Vigo High School for high school students who would like a meal.

Aspen Laser Announces Native American Non-Profit Sponsorship and Initial Donation

A key focus is enhancing the quality of healthcare in Indian Country through access to medical products, including new and innovative technologies. The …

LINDON, Utah, Oct. 23, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Aspen Laser Systems, an innovative medical laser company announced a long-term commitment to support the needs and services for a new nonprofit organization: Indigenous Health and Wellness Connections (IHAWC).

Aspen Laser
Aspen Laser

Indigenous Health and Wellness Connections (IHAWC) was recently formed to address the unmet and growing needs of many Native Americans, including access to medical products and services. Healthcare for Native Americans is the most chronically underfunded federal healthcare delivery system in the United States. These communities face significant health disparities compared to any other group in the United States, with higher rates in many categories of preventable illness, including diabetes, chronic lower respiratory diseases, and other treatable ailments.

“Giving back to society and serving others is central to our company philosophy,” said Justin Vorwaller, COO of Aspen Laser. “Today’s announcement is a major step forward to formalize our philanthropic initiatives, by partnering with IHAWC. We are impressed with this organization and excited to support their goals through a long-term commitment.”

In recognition of its commitment to this cause, Aspen Laser has made an initial medical equipment donation of its advanced laser therapy system. This first system was delivered and installed at a medical clinic at the Washoe Tribe of California and Nevada.

“There is a crisis in healthcare equity for Native Americans, and our passion as a foundation is to address the needs of our relatives in need,” states Chase Hobson, Executive Director of IHAWC. “Despite decades of well documented challenges, underfunding remains, and we are grateful for the support of the Aspen Laser company. This recent donation will go a long way to helping improve the healthcare of many Tribal citizens and we look forward to future donations and a positive working relationship with Aspen Laser that will continue to benefit Indian Country at large.”

Indigenous Health and Wellness Connections plans on launching a new website with online forms for donations of cash, medical supplies, and other donations.

About Aspen Laser Systems, LLC:

Aspen Laser Systems, LLC is a medical device company and emerging global leader in innovative photomedicine technology. Representing management with over 30 years of experience, the company provides expertise in design, manufacturing, production, and regulatory compliance. The company partners with healthcare professionals to bring the best and newest technology, with advanced training and support, that maximizes clinical and financial outcomes. To learn more, please visit: and

About Indigenous Health and Wellness Connections (IHAWC):

IHAWC is a visionary, Native-led nonprofit committed to improving the lives, health, environment, natural resources, and infrastructure of Indigenous communities. A key focus is enhancing the quality of healthcare in Indian Country through access to medical products, including new and innovative technologies. The organization creates strategic partnerships with product manufacturers, educational groups, and Tribal Leadership. To learn more, visit


Aspen Laser Systems, LLC

Brian Probst


[email protected]

SOURCE Aspen Laser Systems

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COVID-19 Case Investigation and Contact Tracing among Refugee, Immigrant, and Migrant

While COVID-19 is a public health threat to the entire U.S. population, there is growing evidence that the outbreak disproportionately affects certain …

Who are RIM Populations?

RIM stands for Refugee, Immigrant, and Migrant populations and includes individuals living in the United States who were born in another country. RIM populations include diverse groups originating from all over the world, speaking hundreds of languages, and with different immigration status, occupations, and years of residence in the United States. Important factors to consider when interacting with RIM populations include cultural beliefs, language barriers, unfamiliarity with the United States healthcare system, and levels of knowledge regarding mitigation measures such as wearing a mask, social distancing, handwashing, case investigation and contact tracing.

Why are RIM Populations at Increased Risk for COVID-19?

While COVID-19 is a public health threat to the entire U.S. population, there is growing evidence that the outbreak disproportionately affects certain groups, including RIM populations. Long-standing systemic health, economic and social inequities have put many people from racial and ethnic minority groups at an increased risk of becoming seriously ill and dying from COVID-19. Due to social and economic conditions, RIM populations may face many of these same challenges that lead to poorer health outcomes. These communities also face unique risks for COVID-19 infection. Many RIM populations face economic, cultural, geographic, and legal barriers to health care, including lack of health insurance compared to the U.S.-born population. Critical infrastructure industries, including the food, agriculture, and hospitality sectors, often rely on large numbers of RIM employees as essential workers and may include work environments that present challenges to social distancing.

What Factors Affect Prevention Interventions in RIM Populations?

RIM communities often live in multigenerational and high occupancy shared housing, which present both benefits and challenges for public health. Multigenerational and high occupancy housing can act as a great social resource, providing help and mutual support (including childcare and shared household duties) that would be valuable to a family member or coworkers in quarantine or isolation. Multigenerational households may include individuals at differential risk for severe COVID-19 due to their status as an older person, someone with an underlying medical condition, or a pregnant person.

  • In some households, there may be multiple people at higher risk for exposure or severe illness. Prevention interventions can be challenging to implement in multigenerational or crowded households due to physical distancing measures necessary for isolation and quarantine. Temporary housing may be offered by state or local governments or industries to help control the spread of COVID-19 by ensuring safe and successful completion of isolation and quarantine. This temporary housing has reportedly been declined by many RIM individuals. Acceptable, alternative approaches may be needed.
  • Some migrant farmworkers live in isolated, employer-provided housing. Also, some employers in meat/poultry processing plants have been reluctant to provide public health authorities with access to their employees. Some farmworkers travel from abroad and within different geographic areas in the United States for seasonal work. These situations provide opportunities for transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and may limit access to public health interventions and medical care for those with or exposed to COVID-19.
  • RIM communities are culturally and linguistically diverse and often include individuals and households with limited English proficiency and varying levels of health literacy. Effective case investigation and contact tracing requires culturally and linguistically appropriate health communications. Close collaborations with the community-based organizations (CBOs) who serve specific RIM populations can facilitate prevention interventions through effective communication.
  • Fear of immigration enforcement and distrust of government agencies may be a barrier to obtaining accurate information from RIM individuals, even among legal residents and U.S.-born family or community members.
  • Concern for immigration enforcement may also limit RIM populations from seeking care if they become ill due to COVID-19. Community engagement and education of RIM populations regarding access to clinical services is essential.

How Can Health Departments Conduct Effective Case Investigation and Contact Tracing Among RIM Populations?

It is important to remember RIM populations may come from societies with differing cultural and societal norms in terms of what is and is not appropriate to discuss in public or with someone they do not know. In addition, it is natural to be suspicious of governmental agencies and representatives when someone has suffered oppression, violence, genocide, ethnic cleansing or civil war at the hands of a government or other authorities in their country of origin. RIM populations may continue to be negatively impacted by some policies after resettlement.

To aid in the process of case investigation and contact tracing, health departments should plan to:

  • Address concerns related to confidentiality and stigma
  • Overcome language barriers
  • Engage affected communities and build key partnerships
  • Educate RIM populations regarding mitigation measures, including testing, case investigation, and contact tracing
  • Support successful completion of isolation (cases) and quarantine (contacts)
  • Consider travel risks

Address Concerns Related to Confidentiality and Stigma

Consider that some RIM populations, especially refugees, have been separated from family members for extended periods before arriving in the U.S. They may fear never seeing their loved ones again and distrust government agencies that propose to isolate or quarantine family members. RIM populations face stigma related to immigration and citizenship status. There is a need to build trust and reduce further stigma around COVID-19. These experiences can compromise participation in public health interventions. The following actions can be considered to address concerns related to confidentiality and stigma to improve engagement with COVID-19 prevention measures.

  • Reassure RIM individuals who test positive for COVID-19 that names and other personal information for themselves and their contacts will be kept confidential.
  • Share information with RIM individuals regarding how the information they provide will be used, why it is important, and how it can protect the ones they love and their communities.
  • Reassure undocumented migrants and individuals concerned about their immigration status that participation in COVID-19 mitigation strategies will not result in deportation or repercussions for use of government resources.
  • Address concerns of primary caregivers about being separated from family. RIM individuals may not have other options for assuring their family members’ safety and care if they need to quarantine or isolate.

Overcome Language Barriers

Language barriers and cultural or societal challenges can result in misunderstanding or misapplication of COVID-19 mitigation measures. Activities to reduce language barriers include the following:

  • Seek to recruit bilingual staff from the RIM community to fill roles as contact tracers, community health workers, patient navigators, and use of certified interpreters should be prioritized. Not only are these individuals fluent in the language of the population, but they are trusted and knowledgeable about cultural practices and societal norms, thus best able to communicate effectively.
  • Make professional language interpretation services available in the individuals’ preferred language throughout the process of case investigation and contact tracing. This includes when conducting interviews, notifying or monitoring contacts, and connecting contacts with services they need during the quarantine period.
  • Provide training to case investigators and contact tracers working with RIM populations that incorporates cultural competency as well as the procedures for use of language interpretation services (e.g., community interpreters or phone lines).
  • Avoid using bilingual children as interpreters. It is inappropriate to assume that proper translations can occur with minor children who may be unfamiliar with the concepts and context surrounding the conversations to be translated. In addition, the topics of economic supports, isolation, and quarantine may not be appropriate content for children. It is unlikely that a child would be able to translate the information effectively and accurately. Doing so can cause misunderstanding of key information as the message is screened through a child’s understanding and vocabulary.
  • Address necessary accommodations for people with disabilities using interpretation services and educational communications.

Engage Affected Communities and Build Key Partnerships

Community-based participation can facilitate uptake and application of prevention measures for COVID-19 among RIM populations. Partnerships with organizations working with RIM populations can facilitate timely development of relevant and effective messaging regarding participation in public health interventions to prevent COVID-19. The following describes proposed activities for these types of engagement:

  • Identify and work with resettlement agencies, CBOs, trusted community leaders, and local healthcare providers serving the RIM community to develop and distribute appropriate messaging on isolation of cases and quarantine of contacts.
  • Provide background information for public health staff to understand key demographic, language, immigration, mobility patterns, cultural, and health characteristics of specific RIM groups and health care considerations for these populations, such as CDC’s Refugee Health Profiles, CDC’s Refugee Health Guidelines and Ethnographic Guides.
  • Work with healthcare entities and community partners to identify strategic locations within RIM communities to offer free or low-cost COVID-19 testing, such as mobile testing or testing within workplaces and faith-based institutions.
  • Partner with resettlement agencies and CBOs to help individuals understand what contract tracing is, why public health workers need to find people who have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19, how information will be protected so individuals will not be harmed, and what successful contact tracing requires.
  • Work with community partners to identify and resolve barriers to successful case investigation and contact tracing efforts.
  • Collaborate and share information with other health departments about multijurisdictional RIM cases (e.g., migrant agricultural workers or refugees resettling in a new locality). The Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement provides a list of key state contacts who can connect to these partners.

Educate RIM Populations Regarding Mitigation Measures, Including Testing, Case Investigation, and Contact Tracing

Information needs to be shared with RIM populations in a timely manner. If they are not given the guidance promptly, these groups may be at greater risk of loss to follow up and unfavorable outcomes concerning implementation of prevention recommendations.

  • Share information about available testing sites (e.g., community health centers), procedures to follow between time of testing and awaiting testing results (3 Key Steps to Take While Waiting for Your COVID-19 Test Results pdf icon), the implications of testing results, and information for health departments and health care providers.
  • Share COVID-19 resources that are culturally sensitive and accessible for community, work, school, and home settings.
  • Use plain language health education materials or low literacy materials that can be employed to convey key messages, using trusted sources (e.g., local ethnic media and community or religious leaders as spokespersons) and in a format that is preferred and easily accessible to the RIM community. CDC’s Communication Toolkit for Migrants, Refugees, and Other Limited-English-Proficient Populations provides current messaging, information in plain language and translated COVID-19 materials in 34 languages. This toolkit also provides guidance and additional resources pertaining to COVID-19 and RIM populations.

Support Successful Completion of Isolation (Cases) and Quarantine (Contacts)

RIM populations may need financial, social and economic support to adopt COVID-19 mitigation measures, including isolation and quarantine. RIM populations in low-income jobs may not be able to afford to be absent from work without pay in order to isolate or quarantine. Support activities that can facilitate successful participation in public health prevention measures are included below.

  • Connect individuals in quarantine or isolation to social support services, such as food delivery and temporary housing, available in your jurisdiction. Referrals may need to be made to social workers, local aid organizations, and CBOs.
  • Connect with businesses who employ refugees (e.g., poultry plants, restaurants) and discuss adopting mitigation measures as well as incentives or policies such as sick leave policies (for individuals themselves) or family leave policies (for individuals who must take care of ill family members).
  • Ensure that individuals who are separated from their family or friends using temporary housing facilities can communicate with loved ones and that their basic needs are supported.
  • Support RIM populations in isolation and quarantine to maintain housing and provide food during these periods. This assistance may be needed to ensure successful completion of isolation and quarantine.
  • Work with resettlement agencies and community partners to anticipate what the population needs to support isolation and quarantine measures.
  • Develop and share messaging regarding isolation and quarantine that reflects the importance of the strong sense of community and collectivism in RIM communities, as well as the experience of living in multigenerational households.
  • Prepare to initiate contact tracing measures in congregate settings, around religious and social gatherings, and in multi-family homes.
  • Plan to provide counseling and referrals to individuals who may encounter issues with their mental health over the course of isolation and quarantine.

Consider Travel Risks

RIM populations may need to travel for seasonal work or to be near family members. This travel may increase risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2. To help reduce this risk, consider the following:

  • Advise RIM individuals in quarantine or isolation to delay planned travel until they are cleared by public health officials.
  • Identify concerns related to travel. If travel is still a concern, local and state health departments may request federal public health travel restrictions, which prevent listed travelers from boarding commercial airplanes and trigger public health notification, to support state- or locally-mandated quarantine or isolation.
  • Request support as needed with federal public health travel restrictions by contacting the CDC quarantine station with jurisdiction for the area.

A Bloody Problem: Period Poverty, Why We Need to End It and How to Do It

In her efforts to unite the philanthropic resources to fight period poverty, … to inform and inspire the next generation of philanthropists – The Foundry.

WARSAW, Poland, Oct. 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Kulczyk Foundation, a Polish private family foundation, and Founders Pledge, a community of entrepreneurs committed to finding and funding solutions to global challenges, have launched a new report on period poverty. A bloody problem: period poverty, why we need to end it and how to do it – which reviews the current state of funding and solutions to ending period poverty – finds that there is no unified approach to data collection, fundraising or implementation of period poverty programmes.

Polish philanthropist and businesswoman
Polish philanthropist and businesswoman

The report is part of a new commitment from Dominika Kulczyk, a philanthropist and the richest Polish woman, who provided funding for the report as part of her search for the most efficient and cost-effective programmes addressing period poverty globally. In her efforts to unite the philanthropic resources to fight period poverty, Dominika Kulczyk joins Founders Pledge and their group of individual philanthropists and family foundations coming together to inform and inspire the next generation of philanthropists – The Foundry. This group of visionary donors supports Founders Pledge’s mission to direct philanthropic dollars towards the most effective charities and organisations around the world.

Period poverty has been an invisible issue for years, despite an estimated 1.9 billion girls and women currently menstruating. Menstruation stigmatised is often and invisible, contributing to millions of girls and women worldwide not having what they need to manage their menstrual hygiene, ultimately missing out on education, job opportunities and life quality.

The report reveals the scale and burden of the problem globally, the harms caused by a lack of access to sanitary products, and the effectiveness of activities to tackle period poverty. The report estimates that total current spending on period poverty worldwide is between $10 and $100 million per year – suggesting this is a hugely underfunded issue when comparing it to the total donations to charitable causes which annually are approximately $449.64 billion in the US, and £10 billion in the UK alone.

A bloody problem: period poverty, why we need to end it and how to do it offers a unique perspective on the state of period poverty, but most importantly draws attention to the most cost-effective programmes around the world.

Dominika Kulczyk, Founder and President of the Kulczyk Foundation said,

“Access to complete menstrual health and hygiene is a basic human right. Without it, women and girls cannot pursue full lives with dignity and confidence. It is deeply unfair that girls in all parts of the world miss out on better education, and women on work, because they were too poor to have a period.

“We have neglected this issue for too long, and I’m proud to have worked with Founders Pledge to take the first step towards understanding how we can make the biggest impact, quickly. What’s clear, is the need to unite the international community on global standards for reducing period poverty, and better fund those programmes that deliver the highest impact for women and girls who every month have to choose between a meal or a sanitary pad.

“I invite the international community to join me and work together to end period poverty.”

The report recommends greater focus on building a strong evidence base, and investment into eight organisations currently committed to delivering effective interventions. It identifies 80 organisations addressing period poverty, with eight organisations demonstrating the most cost-effective practice.

Eight organisations which are listed as the most cost-effective when it comes to ending period poverty, and which stood out across factors such as a solid theory of change, high quality evidence generation, and organisational strength, are:

Days for Girls, headquartered in the US with offices in Uganda, Nepal, Ghana, and Guatemala

Inua Dada Foundation, headquartered and operating in Kenya

Irise International, UK and Uganda based

NFCC, headquartered and operating in Nepal

Population Services International, headquartered in the US, Europe, and Kenya

Sesame Workshop’s Girl Talk program in Zimbabwe, headquartered in the US

Simavi, headquartered in the Netherlands with operations across Africa and Asia

WoMena, headquartered in Denmark and Uganda

David Goldberg, Co-Founder and CEO of Founders Pledge said,

“One of the most important steps in addressing the lack of complete Menstrual Health and Hygiene globally is finding the most effective solutions through rigorous research, and identifying the organisations implementing high-impact interventions. This report takes valuable steps in that direction and I hope it will help donors and governments tackle this issue with a clearer understanding of what barriers must be overcome.

“Founders Pledge is thrilled to team up with Dominika Kulczyk and her foundation to boost the impact of philanthropists working to beat period poverty. Her work and support for women-led projects is a great example of her leadership and philanthropic abilities in Eastern Europe.

“I would like to encourage philanthropists to come together and support Dominika’s movement, especially now that we have a better understanding of the effectiveness of the programmes in this space. With a unified and coordinated approach, I believe we can end period poverty.”

Marni Sommer, Associate Professor of Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia University,who contributed to the report said,

“There has been remarkable growing attention to addressing the menstruation-related needsof girls, women and all people with periods around the world in recent years, however thereremains a long way to go. The social and economic impact of COVID-19 also threatens toreverse progress made to address period poverty, along with ongoing stigma around menstruation that hinders girls’ and women’s equal and successful engagement in education, work and society.

“The Kulczyk Foundation’s important review and investment in menstrual health and hygiene not only supports critical efforts to address these issues, but serves as a clarion call to donorsand governments that there is much left to do, and collective efforts and resources areneeded for rigorous, impactful action going forward.”

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Kulczyk Foundation Period poverty why we need to end it and how to do it.pdf

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Dominika Kulczyk

Polish philanthropist and businesswoman

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A Bloody Problem: Period Poverty, Why We Need to End It and How to Do It Report

Kulczyk Foundation

SOURCE Kulczyk Foundation

Dr. Levy featured speaker at Crain’s Care Leadership Summit

The summit will examine the ways in which the health care industry is … Clinical Research Innovation, and Wayne Health’s chief innovation officer, will …

A Wayne State University School of Medicine faculty member will be a key speaker during the Health Care Leadership Summit webcast conducted by Crain’s Detroit Business next week.

Phillip Levy, M.D., M.P.H., the Edward S. Thomas Endowed Professor and associate chair for Research in the Department of Emergency Medicine, will give a presentation during this year’s virtual event, titled “Opportunity Amid Crisis.” The summit will examine the ways in which the health care industry is changing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Phillip Levy, M.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Levy, who is also WSU’s assistant vice president for Translational Science and Clinical Research Innovation, and Wayne Health’s chief innovation officer, will speak about the social determinants of health during the 3:30 to 5 p.m. segment Oct. 14.

Crain’s notes that people of color in metropolitan Detroit have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Experts agree that addressing the social determinants of health, including socioeconomic status, education, employment and social support networks, are key to improving health outcomes. The segment will examine the role of those factors in the pandemic, and how they are changing the way health care is delivered.

WSU’s Center for Translational Science and Clinical Research Innovation, directed by Dr. Levy, is the hub of campus-wide clinical research aimed at improving health and health care for Detroit and southeast Michigan. In partnership with the community, the center serves as a focal point for WSU faculty to work with funding agencies and industry partners to design and conduct clinical research involving innovative methods, drugs and devices.

The goal of the center is to work with community advisory boards to determine the direction of the university’s clinical research, helping to ensure that studies and discoveries are applicable and available to community members. Through the center, WSU is aligned with, engaged in and informed by the community in its research efforts. The center is positioned to guide the development of grants and early- to late-phase drug and device studies, as well as design and conduct epidemiological studies.

Key to the center’s approach is a novel form of mapping health data by census tract to provide information supporting targeted efforts to improve health in areas with historical health disparities. The goal, Dr. Levy explained, is to develop a precision approach to population health, guided by data provided by drilling down as far as possible, perhaps even to individual neighborhoods. Such data provides policymakers with information to laser-focus efforts for substantial impact where the need is greatest.

Known as PHOENIX – the Population Health OutcomEs aNd Information Exchange – this novel geocoded map is housed at Wayne State University using de-identified electronic health records in combination with information on population level social determinants to paint an overall picture of health in Michigan area by area, using color-coding to graphically display differences.

The center also includes an industry-facing entity called Clinical Research One at Wayne to provide a “one-stop shop” for industry partners seeking to conduct research, which in turn can lead to growth in technology commercialization. Industries seeking to test new drugs and devices can contract with WSU to conduct clinical trials across a coordinated network of regional health care systems, with all operations conducted from the centralized location.

Other speakers joining Dr. Levy for this presentation include Brandi Basket, D.O., chief medical officer for Meridian Health Plan Michigan, and Marijata Daniel-Echols, Ph.D., program officer for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Additional topics for the summit include “Health Research Opportunities” from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Oct. 13, and “Health Care Mergers and Acquisitions” from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Oct. 15.

The event begins at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 12, with a keynote conversation with Joneigh Khaldun, M.D., chief medical executive and chief deputy director for Health and Human Services for the State of Michigan.

All sessions are free and will be conducted virtually. Register here.