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Interview with Dr. Jenn Carlson, Make-A-Wish Board Member and Pediatrician

Dr. Carlson with her children.
On the effects of coronavirus on our community, and what we can hope for, going forward

First off, how are you doing? How's your family?

We're good. We're all healthy. My kids are in middle school but they're home... I go in to work, and my husband is essential as well, but working half days at home.

The kids seem to be handling it well and getting their schoolwork done. Luckily, they're responsible and pretty mature. I can't imagine if they were a little bit younger and we were trying to sort out childcare and everything.

Tell us a bit about the work you do.

I'm a pediatrician, and in normal times, we're the people providing primary care for kids under 21: checkups, well-baby exams, visits, vaccines, sick visits... Over the last two weeks we've developed and launched a telemedicine part of our practice.

Dr. Carlson takes care of one of her patients. 

You work with several families with immune-compromised children. Are you in touch with them? Is there a specific approach you and/or these families are taking during this crisis?

Yes. Those families and I were in contact since early March when the first case was discovered in southern Vermont. We had those kids step back from school, and basically just start their social distancing and isolating maybe a week earlier, before we started hearing about community spread in the area.

Those families are probably just adhering to social distancing much more strictly than other families might be... with stricter rules to make sure that nothing gets inside their home walls.

If you could tell our Make-A-Wish community one thing right now, what would it be?

I'm encouraged. I think Vermonters are doing a good job with social distancing for the most part. Obviously, the numbers are going up, and I think that reflects some really unfortunate infiltration into the nursing homes, but we're not seeing exponential growth, so I want people in Vermont to hear: You're doing a good job. It's working; it's making a difference.

What do you hope for as we eventually move through this crisis? Are there changes you hope to see, or that you expect to see?

I hope that in the future we'll have a better system that is more proactive when we hear about a possible pandemic. We had a lot of information that we could have acted on sooner.

I'm also hopeful for a vaccine, and I'm hopeful that families that have been wary of vaccines in the past might get to see, in real time, how important they are.

Anything else?

I hope people just keep following the recommendations and stay home. We'll get through this, and I think eventually we will have a vaccine. Something like this will happen in the future, so again I do hope we are learning from it, and that we go into it better prepared in the future.

Dr. Carlson with her family.

Donated airline miles took Myles to Japan.

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The Wish Blog gives you the latest updates on Make-A-Wish® Vermont. See how wishes come together and how they change lives forever. Hear directly from those who work or volunteer here, or those who have been transformed by a wish. And learn why we are so committed to someday granting the wish of every eligible child, every year.

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