Beth Mejia is a MRI technologist in radiological services for North Memorial Health. Photo by Mike Hnida
A little over a year ago, Lavender proudly featured Beth Mejia as our 2019 Pride Edition cover star. A MRI technologist in radiological services for North Memorial Health, Mejia also serves as the national vice chair for Gay For Good (G4G), and is the co-founder of the organization’s Twin Cities chapter.
Today, she’s putting her position at North Memorial to good use in reaction to the current COVID-19 pandemic.
“Lately, many of those in need of imaging are patients that present COVID-19 like symptoms or actually have COVID-19, and our imaging helps our care teams can better understand their condition with the virus,” said Mejia. “In addition to working as a part of the MRI team, I serve as a Board of Director for the North Memorial Health Foundation, where I help raise money for the most important causes within our health system. As of late those have been all COVID-19 related efforts. I love being able to support our community through both patient care and philanthropy.”
Mejia said that North Memorial’s staff has been working hard to maintain a positive attitude in light of the pandemic.
“It is very stressful working with COVID-19 patients, but we also take great pride in being able to help them as much as possible,” she said. “We are constantly running new protection procedures over in our head and ensuring we are supporting each other throughout these changes and extra steps it takes to do our jobs. This really helps us center on what is most important in order to make it through each day.”
According to Mejia, North Memorial has been implementing many new safety procedures to effectively protect both patients and staff. Via partnerships with local community partners, North Memorial has been able to collect and purchase personal protection equipment (PPE) to keep staffers safe. North Memorial staffers that don’t need to work onsite have been working remotely from home.
Mejia says that she’s made substantial changes both at work and home due to the pandemic.
“Work processes have changed, and daily life has dramatically changed with the stay at home guidelines,” said Mejia. “I miss my friends and family much like everyone else, but I have been doing my best to connect with them remotely or virtually. My pup, Bougie, has been a great companion and has even taken to drinking out of the toilet with all the chaos going on in the world, which he never did before the pandemic!”
For years, Mejia has worked hard as a public servant in her capacities as both a healthcare professional and as a staunch advocate for the queer community. In a time as unprecedented as this, she thinks that it’s all the more clear that first responders and health professionals are incredibly valuable in our communities.
“It feels good to be recognized, however in talking with fellow colleagues about it all, we just feel like we are doing our jobs,” she said. “This is what we do and what is necessary for the community.”
Mejia took the time to applaud North Memorial for their efforts in not only stemming the tide of COVID-19, but how they’re supporting their community at the same time.
“In addition to the outstanding work going on inside our hospitals, I am also proud of the money we have raised for our COVID-19 Emergency Fund to support these response efforts,” said Mejia. “It has been incredible to see our community show support in this way. Volunteers are making masks, companies and individuals are donating money and PPE, and many are donating food to help feed our frontline teams. Our community has truly rallied around the effort to support healthcare workers and we are grateful for that.”
North Memorial has a trove of helpful resources on COVID-19, testing, clinic times, and more at northmemorial.com/covid-19. Mejia knows firsthand how devastating this virus has been, and encourages everyone to maintain best practices to avoid spreading it.
“I’ve seen images and done scans of individuals who are so sick with this virus,” she said. “They are in awful shape and it is affecting more than just their lungs. I don’t want to see any more people have to suffer. Our hospitals are seeing more and more cases every day. Help the healthcare workers and all those on the frontlines by staying home, send virtual hugs and words of encouragement to everyone you know, even strangers! This is a tough time for the entire world, but as a healthcare worker we just want you to be safe, so stay physically distanced and stay home.”