By SAZOUN GRAYER
With everyone stuck at home, some people in the Eastfield community are doing what they can to impact their community during the quarantine, from sharing meditation tips to donating personal protective equipment.
Take Eastfield philosophy professor Kristina Hunsinger for example, who is also a certified yoga instructor.
Hunsinger said that the Dean of Social Sciences, DeShaunta Stewart, encouraged faculty to start holding 10-minute conferences with one another to give them more time to communicate with colleagues.
Hunsinger chose to use those conferences to teach her colleagues about breathing meditation, which she practices at home.
One of her colleagues that participated was government professor Tiffany Nacoste, who said she enjoyed learning about breathing control and mindfulness.
“Professor Hunsinger’s 10-minute talk was eye-opening and provided me with some food for thought,” Nacoste said. “I am grateful for [her] sharing her knowledge. It helps to have more tools to manage life, especially in stressful times like the current.”
Hunsinger even made an instructional video on the process called “Mindful Breathing” that can be found on YouTube. Her intention was to share a practice that can help others. She said that we are all unique with unique bodies and breathing patterns.
“Conditionally, we’ve learned to breathe in different ways that we probably haven’t thought about,” Hunsinger said. “But that’s one thing I guide people through: thinking about how you breathe. Not to judge it, but just to become familiar with what your instrument is. That was design to make the practice valuable for whatever you want to do with it.”
Hunsinger said that slowing and controlling breathing can be very calming and helpful to mental health.
“I know it’s benefitted me, and so I anticipate that it could benefit other people,” she said.
Hunsinger isn’t the only one trying to make an impact in the community. As the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic continues, doctors, nurses, first responders, and other medical personnel are risking their own health and well-being to aid those in need.
However, PPE is hard to come by during these times. The World Health Organization estimates that 89 million masks and 76 million gloves are needed to combat the coronavirus each month; a number that is becoming more and more impossible to reach each day as supplies dwindle. The number of daily hospitalizations in Dallas County has reached almost 2,200 and is expected to get worse as April rolls on according to the WHO.
Jess Kelly, the executive dean of the STEM division at Eastfield, has had the privilege of teaching future doctors, nurses, EMTs, veterinarians, dentists, and more for two decades. After seeing the call for more PPE support at medical centers around Dallas, he contacted biology lab coordinator, Dana See, to figure out up how they could help.
Every year, the STEM department buys thousands of gloves for students to use in labs. Since all classes are online now, there wasn’t much use for the gloves being there. So, they decided to donate 1,500 pairs of gloves to some people who really needed them at the Dallas Regional Medical Center in Mesquite.
“I knew the gloves were just sitting there not being used and I just thought that this was an extreme urgency,” See said. “Someone could be using these gloves and it could be preventing them from getting the virus. It’s so easy to do; someone just had to hand it to them.”
Kelly wiped down each box of gloves individually to ensure their safety and had them delivered to the center on April 2.
“They need it and we appreciate our health care heroes in our community very much,” Kelly said.
Kelly, who was a first responder himself earlier in his career, said that primary health care has been a big part of his life for many years now.
“They are heroes to me, and it is important and a calling to support them,” Kelly said. “They are serving our communities and in doing so serve us all … These health care heroes are sacrificing all of the normal comforts of their life to serve us. It is our duty to support them in our communities any way we can. We are all in this together.”