March 25, 2020 COVID-19 SMPH Update

Top news:

  • UW Health is accepting donations of seven personal protective equipment (PPE) items on weekdays 10 am and 2 pm in the parking lot of the 20 S. Park clinic. Read details here.
  • Cancel your travel plans: By the end of the business day on Thursday, March 26, all university-related travel reservations for trips planned through May 15 must be canceled, or the traveler must have applied for an exemption from cancellation if the travel is essential. Instructions for canceling and requesting exemptions
  • Building access – bring your badge: Essential personnel and those performing critical activities at key points in time must carry their WisCard ID. Buildings on campus, including all SMPH-affiliated buildings, now require card or key access.

How to access payroll and benefits information:

Due to the Wisconsin Safer at Home Order, in-person walk-in hours for SMPH Payroll & Benefit questions are not available. For Payroll & Benefits questions, please contact your payroll and benefits coordinator via email to set up a phone call appointment.

 How to access your payroll forms online:

  • Complete or update your Direct Deposit and W-4 in your MyUW portal (go to Payroll Information, then “Update Direct Deposit or W-4”)

How to access and submit benefit applications/forms:

  • SELF SERVICE (eBenefits): This feature is still available for New Hires (only) that do not have prior [state/local] Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS) service.
  • SCAN / EMAIL paper forms: employees may scan and email the application and documentation to either OHR Benefits at: or their SMPH Payroll and benefits coordinator. If employees are emailing from a WISC account, employees may include their SSNs/DOBs/etc. on their form(s). If employees are emailing from another source ( Gmail, Yahoo, etc) – the employee should remove the SSNs (only) from their form(s). For your confidentiality, SMPH HR highly recommends deleting these emails from both the “Sent” and “Deleted” folder once they have been sent.


  • Kudos are pouring in. So many SMPH colleagues and learners are rising to the challenges of this intense time. Honor someone at and we’ll share the stories. Here are a few we’ve received so far. Stay tuned tomorrow for more!

“I work for an amazing department (Human Oncology). Throughout all the events leading up to the UW asking non-essential personnel to work from home; my supervisor, Julie Thomas, kept us fully informed of what our department was doing to prepare for this crisis. Her workload is heavy, but she always had time to talk with me about tools and resources that would make me more effective working from home. Julie is also setting up future WebEx meetings with other department colleagues so we maintain the ever important contact that is essential for our mental wellbeing and to reduce the effects of being isolated from friends and colleagues. Please remember to reach out to others during this time who might be facing greater difficulties.” – Pat Lee, Cancer Biology Administrative Assistant, Department of Human Oncology

 “Dr. Michael Lucey has provided great leadership to the Gastroenterology & Hepatology division during this COVID19 crisis. The faculty and providers are grateful for his leadership.” – Freddy Caldera, DO, assistant professor (CHS), Department of Medicine

 “Population Health Institute Assistant Scientist Lindsay Weymouth, PhD, has been a rock throughout this process. She has gone above and beyond to ensure that her staff feels supported, safe, and engaged through this transition period. She is somehow able to inject humor and lightheartedness in a time where many of our hearts feel heavy. Our weekly meetings continue to be a highlight of my Mondays. Her heart is so big that she saved her houseplants from her office right before it closed. Thanks so much, Lindsay!” – Lauren Jorgensen, student research assistant and Master of Public Affairs student

 “Thanks to the 20 S Park Allergy Clinic nurses and receptionists who handled an overwhelming amount of phone calls, My Chart messages, etc. with compassion and professionalism. Thanks also to our manager Donna and her assistant Barb for all they did to keep us up to date, and my associate allergists for the fast agreement we had to come to over some difficult patient care decisions. I’m proud to be part of such an outstanding group of compassionate, caring, dedicated people!” – Tom Puchner, MD, clinical assistant professor, Department of Medicine

“The Population Health branch of UW Health has been tirelessly working to expand UW Health capacity within the COVID-19 response. In collaboration with stars within the new UW Home-based primary care team, Chartwell home care, UW hospitalists and discharge planners, many people have been meeting uncountable hours per day and into their evenings and weekends to creatively develop solutions using established program resources to prepare for the anticipated surge of illness that will impact our patients. I want to specifically give a shout out to a group including Huong Nguyen-Hilfiger, Michelle Murphy, Jan Hastreiter, Julie Slattery and Dr. Melissa Dattalo to rapidly develop and launch UW Health’s version of Hospital at Home (H@H) within a new UW Home-based Primary Care program. This program will help expedite UW hospital discharges, expand acute hospital bed access and protect our patients from some of the risks of hospital care during this pandemic. This heroic effort is compressing what sometimes takes 12 months of planning and development for hospital systems into a period of weeks — yet they are attentive to every detail. It is truly a collaborative effort and I am honored and inspired to be a part of this team- I have rarely seen such esprit de corps and altruism. Most importantly, this effort is promoting something that is truly centered on patient’s goals and preferences- to receive hospital-level care in the comfort and familiarity of one’s own home. Amazing work- Pop Health, HBPC, UWHC and Chartwell teams!!!” – Steve Barczi, MD, professor (CHS), Department of Medicine


  • Here are some teleworking tips that we’ve received from SMPH colleagues in response to our call for suggestions. Have others to recommend? Let us know.
    • “Can’t hear a Webex attendee?  Ask if the attendee has turned on their speakers. If that doesn’t work, ask if they can unplug headphones and then join. (If you join while your mic-less headphone is plugged in: unplug the headphone and rejoin the meeting with it unplugged in order for others to hear you.) If you are already in your session, you can control audio volume from the menu by selecting “Audio,” then “Audio and Video Connection.” – Elizabeth Way, MS, Medical Program Assistant Senior, Department of Laboratory Pathology

Staying strong & supporting one another: 

Keep good eating habits: Don’t use alcohol or unhealthy eating to cope with a stressful time. Practicing what we preach will help us maintain immunity, emotional well-being, and physical readiness for the important work we are doing. Have a favorite healthy recipe? Consider sharing it with your work colleagues – some SMPH teams have even set up a Google document to exchange recipes!