Dr. Amyna Husain is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Along with her expertise in Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Dr. Husain is also interested in emergency planning and preparedness. She is the Director of Disaster Preparedness of the pediatric emergency department, and leads the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center emergency management committee and JH Bio-containment pediatric subcommittee. She also works regionally and nationally in the preparedness of communities for all hazard disasters. She has been on the frontlines in managing COVID-19, ensuring the utmost safety of all her patients and staff. She earned her DO from Midwestern University in Chicago, and completed her residency at the University of Connecticut Health Center. She then received her fellowship in pediatric emergency medicine from Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. She talked to us about what got her into medicine as well as her experiences and struggles during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What inspired you to go into medicine?
I love children, science, and exploration, so an academic pediatrician was always the best fit.
As Director of Disaster Preparedness, what have been some of the steps you and your team have taken in regard to COVID-19?
Managing the pandemic at the Children’s Center has been a very large team effort. At the beginning of the pandemic, we were building protocols for different areas of the hospital to keep staff and families safe, efficiently manage resources that were on low supply, and coordinating communication with staff, families, and the community. These protocols were constantly changing as we learned more about the virus, and as the supply and demand of different equipment, testing, and staff roles changed.
How do you take care of yourself? In other words, how do you ensure you are rested, healthy, and high performing?
Staying grounded when working in high stress situations is very important. Our faith is the best backdrop for this. Continuing to be grateful for what we have, and understanding what is and is not in our control, are two main [values] to follow from our faith.
My husband is also my biggest advocate to making sure I get rest and prioritize that above everything else. And last, but no less important, is staying hydrated by drinking enough water every day.
How have you utilized technology during this healthcare crisis? What challenges did it present and how did you overcome them?
The challenges with technology are not unique to myself or to the pandemic; they include never leaving work because you are always “plugged in.” Enforcing “Zoom etiquette,” like giving everyone 5-10 minutes between meetings, and not filling the entire day with Zoom meetings, just because we can, was another challenge.
Communication during the pandemic has been stifled by misinformation, mostly on social media, but also from what should have been trusted voices in the government that were amplified by the media and social media. Within the hospital, we made sure to have routine, clear, and honest communication with our employees. We made sure that they had a place to go to safely ask questions and give suggestions.
What is your advice for people during this time?
It is easy to let our guard down when we are exhausted and long for better days. Some things are in our control, so it is our responsibility to be as safe as we can and keep others around us safe. Then we pray for that which is not in our control and know whatever happens is for the best.