#TLCTransform Chat: Pivoting, Partnerships, and Purpose During and After #COVID19

The Tigerlily Foundation hosted  #TLCTransform Chat:  Pivoting, Partnerships, and Purpose During and After #COVID19, on May 20th, 2020.  An expert panel joined a diverse cadre of patients, clinicians, advocates, and other breast cancer stakeholders in an exploration of a care environment disrupted by COVID-19 and what’s being done to meet the needs of patients. 

The Panel included:

  • Tiah Tomlin, Co-Founder and Executive Director, My Style Matters @MyStyleMatters2
  • Maimah Karmo, President, Tigerlily Foundation @Maimah
  • Jesus Anampa, Oncologist, MD, MS  @jesusanampa
  • Gil Morgan, Oncologist, MD 
  • @weoncologists 
  • Liza Bernstein, Patient Advocate @itsthebunk.

There was widespread agreement that the COVID-19 pandemic has shaped every aspect of how patients experience breast cancer, but direct patient care and psycho-social needs have been especially affected by disruption and adaptive responses. 

T1 The Pivot: the COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all to stop and adapt and do things differently, for better or for worse.

The pandemic finds each stakeholder with a mix of old and new responsibilities with diminished certainty about how to get things done

Clinicians are responsible to provide care in the context of new personal risks and the possibility of covering patients for peers who might fall ill. 

The serious risks and strain posed by COVID-19 has disrupted the scheduling of tests and increased the use of telemedicine.

Creative and flexible approaches to treatment modalities help clinicians assure continuity of care for their patients. 

Lockdowns may give the impression that nothing is happening, or that life is canceled. Nothing could be further from the truth. Breast cancer doesn’t stop, and neither do Patient Advocates like @swaggsheila1

Advocates like Liza Bernstein continue their work with higher levels of personal stress and demands for their help. They rely on technologies as physical travel is off the table.

Some patients in treatment and recovery can’t do without the technology that supports their telemedicine and community support. 

T2 The Partnerships: with the COVID-19 pivots we just discussed, like with any difficult situation, we know that partnering is one way to find our way through.
The relationship with patients is why we’re here. We must center it in all that we do.

Partnerships improve the resilience of our work.

Advocacy groups should improve their efforts to reduce duplication and overlap as much as possible. 

Approaching partnerships with an abundant mindset goes a long way in our world.

T3 Our Purpose: When we encounter big changes, it often causes us to think about our purpose in life. Is this new environment of the pandemic transformative for you?

The pandemic is a tragedy, and it’s inappropriate to overemphasize its potential as an agent of change without keeping that in mind. Each pivot and every hard won drop of resilience comes from human suffering. The depth and diversity of our chat’s participants engaged this challenge by offering a clear vision of a better healthcare system shaped for the better by the lessons of COVID-19. This system is more compassionate about trauma, more equitable in terms of social determinants of health, and responsive to the desire for telehealth. 

We find our purpose in the circumstances we face. Big moments call for big efforts.

COVID-19 reminds us that compassion is the center of all that we do in this space.

Working to reduce resistance to wearing masks and other essential public health measures is an important community based way to manage stress for immunocompromised patients. Changing our culture is the help.

We all rely on meaningful connections to receive care or carry out our work. The pandemic is challenging us to bring our best selves to this moment in new and authentic ways.

Participants concluded by sharing their purposes in ten words or less: