Welcome to the COVID-19 Action Coalition, a physician-led organization advocating for public health measures that will reduce the spread of the virus and save lives.
What is the COVID-19 Action Coalition (COVAC)?
The COVID-19 Action Coalition is a grassroots, non-partisan, physician-led advocacy group founded in March 2020. We are comprised of Massachusetts physicians from diverse specialties and employment settings, students, and civic, community, and business leaders working to advocate for urgent government, business and community actions to save as many lives as possible in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are a 501(c)4 non-profit organization.
To protect the lives of health care workers, patients, and the community, we advocate for actions that are backed by scientific evidence and recommended by public health experts.
Our main goals can be summarized by our core research action teams:
- Stay at Home/ Safe Reopening
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
- Detect and Protect (Testing)
We strive to find different ways we can contribute to equitable care for all Massachusetts residents and educate the public with physician-recommended safety measures.
The coalition began in March 2020, when a few Massachusetts physicians saw that they could contribute to policies and safety measures that would influence the people’s welfare and prevent the Massachusetts healthcare system from being overwhelmed. Following Gov. Baker’s initial stay at home and social distancing advisory, the coalition came together and established guidelines and recommendations that they saw were missing for PPE, staying at home, and testing in order to diminish the impact of the virus. After sending these items in a letter along with the signatures of over 1,000 Massachusetts physicians, the group directly communicated with legislators and Gov. Baker. As a result of our and others’ advocacy, a stronger stay at home advisory was announced on March 24th and extended on March 31st. Under specific request of the COVAC letter, Gov. Baker additionally created a public health expert legislative advisory panel.
Following this success, COVAC doubled in size and got to work again responding to further Massachusetts advisories. Our second letter reiterated the initial guidelines in greater detail, including the need for strong social distancing and quarantine policies, larger production and equitable distribution of PPE, massive testing initiatives, and patient care that is safe for both patients and clinicians. Following these correspondences with Gov. Baker, COVAC launched a campaign in support of Bill S.2640 which provided liability protections for healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients. Thanks to the support our campaign helped garner, the bill passed on April 17th.
Following these successes, COVAC has expanded, gaining volunteers from the healthcare industry as well as providing an opportunity to many students seeking an active role in fighting this pandemic.
To contribute to the education of the public on vital information regarding the pandemic, we have organized several town halls with panels featuring Senator Markey and diverse public health experts. We have become an official 501c4 non-profit organization, and aim to raise money to provide PPE to first responders treating COVID-19 patients. Our social media presence spans multiple platforms and covers the latest information and updates on the pandemic, and our physicians are regular sources for news outlets seeking physician perspectives on all issues related to COVID-19.
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We have Officers, a Board of Directors/Executive Committee, Steering Committee, and three Core-Teams that strategize and implement actions related to our four core messages.
The Executive Committee is responsible for the overall strategy and coordination of advocacy efforts across all the sub- teams. The Steering Committee advises the Executive Committee on key decisions regarding overall strategy. The Sub-Team leads are responsible for 1) Sub-Team meeting schedule, agendas, minutes, and updates at general meetings; 2) communication between Sub-Teams and the Executive committee.
The Executive Committee is responsible for the overall strategy and coordination of advocacy efforts across all core-teams. The Steering Committee advises the Executive Committee on key decisions regarding overall strategy.
- Susanna Huh, MD MPH
- Karen Leitner, MD
- Rebecca Perkins, MD
- President: Susanna Huh, MD MPH
- Vice President: Karen Leitner, MD (Outgoing); Sushama Scalera, MD (Incoming)
- Treasurer: Amy Sangiolo
- Secretary: Amy Fogelman, MD
Board of Directors/Executive Committee:
- Chair: Susanna Huh, MD MPH
- Executive Director of Communications: Amy G. Fogelman, MD
- Executive Director of Finance & Logistics: Amy Sangiolo
- Executive Director of Operations: Sushama Scalera, MD
- Executive Director of Public Affairs: Kriti Bhatia, MD
- Administrative Operations Director: Taylor Forman
- Co-Founder: Rebecca Perkins, MD
- Core-team leads: See below
- Disparities Lead: Nicole Christian-Brathwaite, MD
- Finance Director: Mina Milosaveljevic
- Government Relations Advisor: Vacant
- Media Outreach Coordinator: Supriya Rao, MD
- Medical Society Partnerships: Chris Garofalo, MD
- Public Policy Advisor: Setti Warren
- Safe Reopening Team: Lead: Rebecca Perkins, MD.
- PPE Team: Leads: Leah Schafer, MD, Nandana Kansra, MD, Lori Zimmerman, MD, Julia Curran.
- Detect and Protect Team: Lead: Brita Lundberg, MD, Co-Lead: Chris Garofalo, MD.