March 19, 2020 SMPH Message to our Research Community

Campus leadership has issued new campus-research activities update. As always, there may be a few specific cases where the interpretation and application of these directives requires further guidance. If you find yourself in such a situation please email either Senior Associate Dean Rick Moss or Associate Dean Jon Audhya, and we will provide clarity.

There are a few important points we want to emphasize:

  1. Take care of your own health, and the health of your family. Be sure to follow all public health guidelines from the CDCUniversity Health ServicesPublic Health Madison & Dane CountyUW Health, and other reliable sources.
  2. Maintain communication with your supervisor to identify and prioritize work that can be completed at home. Please note that we are not “shutting down” our school. Rather, we are shifting our activities, whenever possible, to work conducted at home.
  3. In some instances, people conducting important work that is seriously endangered by interruption may, with the authorization of their supervisor, department chair, and the dean’s office (see #5 below), come into their workspace (e.g., into their lab to complete an experiment). Only extramurally funded research will be considered for authorization. You will need to use your keycard to gain access to your workspace. Minimize the time spent in your workspace. Practice social distancing. Each work group should coordinate in a way that keeps to an absolute minimum the number of people working in a given space at the same time and that allows for at least 6 feet of separation.
  4. Think about ways in which you can advance our missions while working at home. This is a good time to work on writing projects, ranging from revisions of manuscripts to first drafts of those sections of reports/dissertations/manuscripts that can be written without completed data collection. It is also an opportunity for professional development, for example through online resources available through the UW–Madison Professional Development website, LinkedIn Learning, and online training in technology topics offered by DoIT.
  5. As per the campus directives:

“All on-site research activities must be approved by a dean or director, who are directed to only approve essential research, based on their judgement. Examples of essential research includes research that has the potential to address the COVID-19 crisis, human-subjects research that would endanger research participant lives if stopped, or projects where termination of the research would lead to loss of long-running experimental data, critical time-series or time-sensitive data, loss of equipment, or to the loss of life of critical research-related organisms. There, of course, may be other examples. Please recognize, however, that campus staffing has been reduced sharply due to COVID-19. Most support personnel have been directed to telecommute, from hazardous material staff to biosafety. Public health and campus guidance also requires social distancing to minimize face-to-face interactions. Additionally, some personal protective equipment is in critical shortage and must be made available for patients, health care workers, those caring for research animals, and the types of research efforts described above. In short, the on-campus research enterprise must be curtailed.”

Each PI should identify those activities for which they would like approval for continuation. Their brief description and justification should be sent to their chair, and if the chair approves, they should forward the request to Rick and Jon. We will notify the chair if we do not agree with their recommendation.

Again, please read carefully the attached campus directives. We anticipate that these will be dynamic and subject to change as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds in our community and state.

Take care of yourselves. And thank you for all that you are doing to continue to advance our missions while also protecting yourself and our community.



Robert N. Golden, MD
Robert Turell Professor in Medical Leadership
Dean, School of Medicine and Public Health
Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs
University of Wisconsin-Madison

608-263-4910 (phone)/608-265-3286 (fax)