USD SON Professor's Research to Appear in the Congressional Record

Dr. Eileen Fry-Bowers conducted research on COVID-19 and children

Dr. Eileen Fry-Bowers

USD Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science professor Eileen Fry-Bowers recently wrote an article for the Journal of Pediatric Nursing entitled "Children are at Risk for COVID-19." The article is currently in-press.

It has already caught the attention of Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy, a medical doctor, who asked that it be included in the senate hearing on Tuesday, May 12.  

Senator Cassidy tweeted, "#COVID19 has interrupted our lives & the impacts will persist. Although most children don't appear to be at physical risk from the disease itself, the collective response to the disease promotes an environment that increases the vulnerability of children." He then cited Dr. Fry-Bowers' article.  Dr. Fry-Bowers responded that she was appreciative of the recognition, but wanted to ensure her intent was clear.

"The editorial is not an argument for opening schools and putting normality before safety. We must prevent and mitigate the negative impacts on children and families by supporting policies that enhance our social safety net."

USD Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science Dean Jane M. Georges said the school is proud of this work being cited in the congressional record. 

"That our faculty in the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science are producing such important work shaping national policy during this crisis demonstrates our School's commitment to becoming thought leaders in American nursing," Dean Georges said.

The research notes that headlines are dominated by personal protective equipment, stay-at-home orders, and mortality rates, which all worthy of attention. However, the media are missing the issue of the potentially devastating effects the pandemic is having on children.  Indeed, prior to the revelation that a Kawasaki disease-like inflammatory syndrome associated with COVID-19 was appearing in children, there was little mention of them because it appeared the virus did not affect them as severely as it does the rest of the population.

Dr. Fry-Bowers notes in her research that unemployment is having a direct effect on children in the form due to a lack of a consistent food source.  Prior to the pandemic, she found that 11 million children in the United States experienced "food insecurity." The effects are not just immediate; hunger has long-term implications on a child's health.  

Dr. Fry-Bowers also notes that each year, the National School Lunch Program serves about 5 billion lunches to nearly 30 million children. These lunches are offered free or at a drastically reduced price.  But since the pandemic, school lunches have fallen by the wayside, despite the efforts of some schools and districts to provide a "grab-and-go" lunch for students.  Dr. Fry-Bowers found a small number of families have actually benefitted from this effort, noting that it is difficult for many families to obtain these meals due to parents' work schedules or no transportation. 

Read the article here.


Carol Scimone
(619) 260-4730