Natural and integrated global community

Knox reached out to some of our graduates who are working in the healthcare industry for their perspectives on the COVID-19 pandemic.

From Stephanie Hasan Detterline ’98
I am an internal medicine program director for a regional healthcare system in the Mid-Atlantic, MedStar Health. I oversee the largest community-based residency program in the US–150 trainees with a future in internal medicine here in Baltimore, Maryland.

My work is in four Baltimore hospitals, all under the MedStar umbrella. We live in Phoenix, MD, in Baltimore County.

Instead of creating a fear of “other,” Knox provided an atmosphere that supported everyone’s right to be different and allowed our differences to be interesting and intriguing and not scary and threatening. It is now more important than ever to see our global community as natural and integrated.

Tell us about your work, your duties and responsibilities, prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Before the pandemic, I spent most of my time in administrative work, overseeing the educational curriculum of the residents and making sure our teaching faculty are high quality and satisfied. I met with residents regularly and filled my days with meetings, scheduling, planning events such as orientation and recruiting our next class of trainees.

Has the pandemic changed your role at work, and if so, how?
The pandemic has changed everything. Now our meetings are online, and we spend our time thinking about personal protective equipment (PPE), moral distress, and protecting our trainees from excessive strain and exposure. We are meeting over video instead of in person, making alternate plans for orientation, graduation and recruitment next year, and trying to figure out how to hug people from afar.

More broadly, how is the pandemic affecting what you see at work on a regular basis, e.g., employee workloads, the number of patients seeking help?
In Maryland, the pandemic so far has been more anti-climactic than anything … and that is a blessing! We spend a lot of time in preparation and we are now waiting to see where things go. There are more worried, well, anxious patients who need reassurance and to know they will not be abandoned in their time of greatest need.

What is a fact and/or piece of advice you can offer to people to help them understand what is happening and how they should respond to maintain their health as well as they can?
I would say people should attend to their health, make sure they are exercising daily and maintaining a healthy weight. Any chronic conditions should be well-controlled. They should seek out evidence-based sources of medical information and always seek out the truth.

Is there any way in which your Knox education has helped you adapt to the current moment?
My Knox education has been tremendously important during all of my career and, particularly, at this moment. Knox was the first place I was exposed to people of many cultures and different belief systems. Instead of creating a fear of “other,” Knox provided an atmosphere that supported everyone’s right to be different and allowed our differences to be interesting and intriguing and not scary and threatening. It is now more important than ever to see our global community as natural and integrated. We don’t have time to be afraid of people who are different as we must band together to fight a global pandemic.

What are you looking forward to once life returns to something more closely resembling “normal”?
I am so looking forward to my kids going back to school so I don’t have to be their teacher anymore! I have gained a new appreciation for our educators during this crisis.

I have been so impressed and inspired by the love and goodness of our providers during this time. It can restore anyone’s faith in humanity.

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