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CAA Teams With Harvard University, Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global for #FirstRespondersFirst Initiative


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The CAA Foundation has teamed with Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Arianna Huffington’s behavior change tech company Thrive Global to launch #FirstRespondersFirst, an initiative to provide physical and psychological resources to health care workers who are on the frontlines of combating the coronavirus pandemic.

“This workforce must prioritize self-care,” CAA president Richard Lovett said Wednesday in a statement. “Harvard’s science- and evidence-based work, combined with Thrive Global’s tools, will now be easily accessible through #FirstRespondersFirst. Our goal is that [it] becomes the destination for healthcare workers and those who wish to support these heroes.”

The physical toll on these health care providers — which include minimum-wage home-care workers, social workers, nurses and doctors — includes 3,400 infected cases and 22 fatalities in China, 2,629 ill in Italy and thousands more around the world, from the coronavirus or from conditions related to the stress of confronting a pandemic head-on.

“When the story of this pandemic is written, the heroes will be the healthcare workers who risked their own health and endured burnout and exhaustion among many other challenges on our behalf,” said Huffington. “#FirstRespondersFirst is our call to action on their behalf — both to the communities they serve and to the frontline health care workers themselves to remind them that it’s not only okay but essential to practice some Microsteps to support their own health and manage their own stress during these unprecedented challenging times.”

As such, Thrive Global’s platform will host online workshops, virtual training, coaching and other content customized for the physical and mental well-being of these pandemic responders, informed by the Harvard Chan School, which since 1913 has been a leading organization in developing environmental, occupational and behavioral health strategies. CAA is contributing via its resources and network of influencers — which includes talent, athletes, political leaders, Pulitzer-winning authors, Nobel Prize laureates and other thinkers and change agents — to help get the word out about #FirstRespondersFirst.

In addition, as a fund of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, #FirstRespondersFirst is asking for donations to supply personal protective equipment — such as gowns, gloves and masks — for the workers and their patients. These and other essential supplies will be distributed via a growing coalition of on-the-ground partners, which include Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program, Commonwealth Care Alliance, Conference of Boston Teaching Hospitals, Elara Caring, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Health Law Advocates, Massachusetts AFL-CIO (SEIU Local 509), Massachusetts Competitive Partnership, Massachusetts Health Council, Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, Massachusetts Medical Society, Massachusetts Senior Care Association, MGH Institute for Health Professions, National Association of Social Workers-MA, Partners in Health and The Schwartz Center.

“As this crisis continues to unfold, it’s important for those on the frontlines to be fortified with essential equipment while being supported to care for themselves,” said Harvard Chan School Dean Michelle Williams. “Doing so will allow frontline health care workers to be more effective, more resilient and have more of an impact when we all take these proactive steps. We must remember that in this time of crisis, the results of these steps are measured in lives saved.”

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