March 26, 2020 COVID-19 SMPH Update

Top news:

  • Join the 4:00 pm campus-wide virtual town hall today about addressing bias and reaffirming our commitment to a welcoming and inclusive environment for all members of our UW–Madison community. Read details here.
  • The 2020 Shapiro Summer Research Program for medical students will be held thanks to virtual scholarly projects replacing originally-proposed plans. Approximately 140 medical students and their mentors will be participating, with support from the Office of Health Professional Student Research
  • SMPH in-person graduate recognition ceremonies for all of SMPH degree programs have been canceled along with all other in-person graduation events at UW–Madison this May. Planning is underway for virtual and live-stream events to recognize the accomplishments of SMPH senior students across all degree programs. Stay tuned for more information.
  •  Thanks to all SMPH personnel who organized and participated in a campus PPE collection effort spearheaded by the UW–Madison Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Resource and Logistics Team, which was a tremendous success. The EOC is grateful to University Health Services colleagues for staffing drop-off locations, David Downing  (WIMR facility manager), Mike Sauk (Medical Science Center facility manager), security professionals at WIMR and MSC, Materials Distribution Services staff for support with inventory and sorting, and Jess Hisel  (SMPH Building Operations Superintendent).
  • The temporary suspension on face-to-face (i.e. in-person) human subjects research interactions has been extended until May 15, 2020. Human subjects research conducted online or using other remote data collection methodologies (email, mail, phone, etc.) may continue, as can face-to-face human subjects interactions for therapeutic studies involving drugs or devices, or for other research activities that are critical to the health/safety of patients or study participants, so long as these can be conducted safely. Additionally, non-exempt human subjects studies involving research on COVID-19 (including face-to-face interactions and/or biospecimen collection) can occur provided that prior approval has been obtained. For current information on clinical trial operations, refer to the UW–Madison Clinical Trials website.


  • 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 would like to recognize and thank all of the technologists and radiologists within the Department of Radiology. The technologists are on the front line taking chest X-rays, performing CTs and MRIs for those with acute respiratory symptoms as well as other critical conditions. They are working tirelessly to verify lines and tubes are in place as well as assisting with critical procedures in the angiography suites. The radiologists are working endlessly to perform reads on all of the radiography exams that have been performed, so that the primary providers are able to treat their patients appropriately. In addition, the PET technologists are still performing scans for patients with cancer as well as other conditions, knowing that their patients’ immune systems are weak, and doing everything they can to protect and reassure them. Thank you, we see you, and we appreciate you!” – Sara John, administrative program specialist, Department of Radiology

“The Fundus Photograph Reading Center is a busy lab analyzing retinal images for over 30 pharmaceutical trials and several NIH-sponsored grants. In order to meet the needs of our sponsors and investigators worldwide, our Business Continuity Planning team of James Allan, Heather Baumhauer and Ashley Harris had 30 of us ready for telecommuting in less than a week. They got all of us computer equipment so we could set up at home and connected to our sponsors through both cloud-based and VPN systems. Thanks to the team’s decisive and insightful execution of emergency plans, our sponsors have experienced no delay in data exports!” – Barbara Blodi, MD, professor (CHS) and medical director, Fundus Photograph Reading Center, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

“I would like to honor the Department Chairs, Vice Chairs, and faculty of the SMPH for adapting quickly to the need for leadership and clear policy in triaging essential and non-essential research activities imposed suddenly by the pandemic. I would also like to honor the faculty who are rapidly adapting their didactic teaching and research mentoring to maintain continuity and community for the undergraduate and graduate students in their programs.” – Sean Fain, PhD, professor, Department of Medical Physics

“I want to send a big thank you to our wonderful IT Team led by Chuck Williams. Chuck and his colleagues (Ron Steiner, Greg Moy and Tony Fairbanks), got everyone set up to work remotely with very little turnaround time and have been available on the spot to answer questions and address concerns. You are all fantastic!” – Michelle Grosch, instructional program manager, Department of Anesthesiology

“We would like to THANK the over 55 members of our animal care staff and veterinary staff who continue to come into campus 7 days a week to ensure the health and well-being of all research animals in SMPH. Their dedication to the animals, our department and all of SMPH is extraordinary.” – Biomedical Research Model Services (BRMS) leadership and administrative team


  • 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.
    • “We have started a brief, optional team virtual coffee break to stay connect with our colleagues using the video tools in WebEx or Microsoft Teams. Seeing each other and having a non-work related conversation or sharing a laugh helps us to stay connected.” – Tyler Schultz, Director of Shared Services IT
    • “My PC at work does not have a microphone or speakers, so I sign out of my remote desktop and use my laptop to enable others to hear me during a meeting.” – Judy Cushman, Medical Student Coordinator, Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

Staying strong & supporting one another: 

Talk with your kids: For parents and guardians, experts from the Department of Pediatrics and the CDC have put together helpful information on how to support children and families during the COVID-19 pandemic.