March 30, 2020 COVID-19 SMPH Update

Top news:

  • UW Health has begun on-site COVID-19 health screenings for all personnel and vendors entering University Hospital and American Family Children’s Hospital. Any SMPH employees who work at these locations will be asked upon entry about whether they are self-monitoring for symptoms, and whether they are experiencing any symptoms.
    • Any symptomatic SMPH employees who are turned away should a) follow instructions of UW Health staff who are conducting the screening, b) contact their supervisor. Details and information about building access points are available on U-Connect – see “Employee Screening Updates: Process and Locations (3/29/2020)
  • Today is National Doctors’ Day, and never has there been a more fitting time to thank our faculty physicians. Held every year on March 30 in the U.S. since 1933, National Doctors’ Day celebrates the contributions of physicians who serve our country by caring for its citizens. UW Health is asking for help in showering MDs with encouragement and appreciation using

The Science of Social Distancing, Part 1:

  • Recommended by Jonathan Temte, MD, PhD, associate dean for public health and community engagement: The American Public Health Association and National Academy of Medicine hosted a webinar last week on the Science of Social Distancing. Slides, a recording, and a transcript are available.


  • 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!

“All of the providers’ response to COVID-19 in the Infectious Disease Division and ID/HIV Clinic has been amazing to watch as it unfolds. The sacrifice and volunteerism on a daily basis are so heartening. Specific shout outs to Drs. David Andes (overall coordination), Nasia Safdar (infection control, testing and emergency response), Chris Crnich (VA and nursing homes), Ryan Westergaard (state health department chief medical officer for communicable disease), Dan Shirley (Meriter response), as well as Michael Richardson, PA (telemedicine support) and Jennifer Bellehumeur (clinic manager). And so many others — it’s comforting to know you’re all there. Thank you!” – Steve Marshall, Infectious Disease division administrator, Department of Medicine

 “Psychiatry Residents & Fellows at UW have risen to the challenge of simultaneously adapting to a rapidly changing work environment while providing mental health care to an increasingly stressed population. Since the start of the pandemic, we have transformed mental health services to ensure that we can safely provide the highest quality care for our patients – and our residents and fellows have been incredibly flexible and understanding through many changes. They have been thoughtful and generous with their ideas for improving patient care and have been very willing to support each other and their colleagues. One of my colleagues noted of our on-call residents: ‘Your residents were very patient and pleasant with us, as always.’ Thank you, UW Psychiatry Residents & Fellows!” – Art Walaszek, MD, professor (CHS), department vice chair for education and faculty development, residency program director, Department of Psychiatry

 “I have seen lots on social media offering kudos for the ‘heroism’ of health care workers. But having worked in the hospital the last 10 days and seen what’s happening, I want to raise a glass to Housekeeping and Nutrition services. They continue to do their work, going into EVERY room, masks in place, risking their own health just like the providers who are getting all the attention. They do it quietly and with dignity and deserve special attention for their own commitment to professionalism.” – Jeremy Smith, MD, associate professor (CHS), Department of Medicine

“I would like to recognize the Clinical Simulation Center Program led by Shannon DiMarco for their response to the need to train over a thousand UW Health employees in the proper donning and doffing of PPE. The team developed the simulated PPE ‘kits,’ piloted and launched the project within 24 hours of being tasked. They did 24/7 training and kept the number of learners in each session (20 minutes sessions) to a minimum to adhere to social distancing. The team in the Clinical Simulation Program has, in the past five days, provided training to over 1,000 hospital providers and staff on proper donning and doffing of PPE. They have worked around the clock to fabricate single use masks and reusable shields so they are not using up hospital PPE. They are laundering reusable gowns and using single use food service gloves. Their outstanding work is being considered for presentation on an American College of Surgeons Accredited Education Institute (ACS-AEI) webinar on COVID-19 training to be shared with other simulation centers around the country.” – Paul DiMusto, MD, assistant professor (CHS) and department director of simulation training, Department of Surgery

“A HUGE shout out to the Department of Medicine IT group and their leader Jennifer Bonifas for helping our research program quickly gain all necessary tools to work remotely! Their quick response time, helpful instructions and tireless efforts in getting through all of our requests and questions has allowed us to keep up our work at this very challenging time. We know that they have a large department to help and we are very grateful for all of their hard work!” – Hanna Blazel, MS, CCC-SLP, executive administrator, Department of Medicine / Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center


Staying strong & supporting one another: 

  • Be sure to get moving: Get outside in nature when you can and make time for exercise. Some gyms and fitness facilities including UW–Madison Recreation and Wellbeing are releasing guides and videos to help people work out at home. It’s also helpful for mental and physical wellbeing to run, bike, or walk outside while practicing social distancing.