April 1, 2020 COVID-19 SMPH Update

  • Dr. Nasia Safdar featured in launch of Wisconsin Alumni Association livestream “The UW Now”: Dr. Safdar, professor of Medicine and medical director of infection control at UW Hospital and Clinics, gave an overview of COVID-19 in Wisconsin, diagnostic challenges, and PPE use. Watch the recording
  • Update on COVID-19 leave policy: The COVID-19 Pandemic Employee Work Location and Leave Policy, which was originally announced on March 17, 2020, has been updated as of today. The circumstances for eligibility in the original policy language have been clarified. Effective immediately, the leave policy is available through May 1, 2020. While the original version of the policy provided an 80-hour bank of leave, the new extension is not tied to a certain number of hours. Employees will also be permitted to carry over any unused vacation time into next year. For questions about the policy, contact your HR representative.
  • Learn about Tax Sheltered Annuity 403(b) options via individual phone counseling sessions: Take control of saving for the future by taking advantage of free counseling sessions to learn about the UW Tax-Sheltered Annuity 403(b) Program. Individual counseling sessions with plan providers are available from April through June by phone to accommodate the state’s Safer at Home executive order. Learn more and sign up

The Science of Social Distancing, Part 2:

  • Recommended by Jonathan Temte, MD, PhD, associate dean for public health and community engagement: As a follow up to last week’s webinar, the American Public Health Association and National Academy of Medicine are hosting a second installment of the Science of Social Distancing Central today, April 1, at 4:00-5:30 pm. Register


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

“I am so incredibly grateful for my entire time at the Wisconsin Research & Education Network (WREN) in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. We have pulled together tremendously during a difficult time, communicating daily, lifting each other’s spirits, and working diligently to stay connected and engaged. Thank you to all of my WREN teammates for being so flexible, trusting, and uplifting during this time!” – Hailey Mattheisen, associate research specialist, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health

 “Although we’re going through difficult times, I’m glad to know I have the MD Program Student Services Team to lean on. Keep up the great work – remotely, but make sure you balance your personal wellness as well. Thank you: Dean Gwen McIntosh, Dave, Brian, Terri, Kacia, Sarah, Emma, Christina, Megan, Krista, and Sharon. Thank you to Manual and Tia from Office of Multicultural Affairs, as well.” – Brianne Coffey, administrative support, Academic Affairs

 “At the very beginning of the pandemic, a clinical trials daily huddle group formed with membership from Institutional Review Board, the HIPAA team from Office of Compliance, UW Carbone Cancer Center, Office of Clinical Trials, UW Hospital and Clinics, Pharmaceutical Research Center, and Institute of Clinical and Translational Research to ensure we were taking care of our participants, providers and research personnel as well as continuing clinical trials work that was important to our patients health and safety. We are working very quickly to navigate our way through suspending trials, moving to remote work, consolidating communications and getting investigational product to our patients when needed. There are certainly bumps along the way, yet as the weeks pass and the research landscape has continued to change and present new questions and challenges, this amazing group of people has continues to work through each issue collaboratively without a peep of a complaint even as they work long into the night to make things happen. We are so lucky to have such dedicated research leaders who care deeply about advancing medicine and care. There are too many individuals to name here, but they know who they are and I am grateful for each and every one of them.” – Betsy Nugent, chief clinical research officer

 “I have always been impressed with the work of our Patient Scheduling Representative (PSR) teams as the first impression patients get of our clinics. They get the least recognition and yet have a critically important role. Now, more than ever, this is true because they are also the first people interacting with potentially ill patients. Despite this, I have seen our PSR teams continue to assist our patients with a smile on their face and showing the utmost professionalism. Now more than ever when there is such fear and stress, these often underappreciated members of our teams are more important than ever and rising to the challenge. Thank you PSRs for all that you do!” – Matt Swedlund, MD, assistant professor (CHS), Department of Family Medicine and Community Health


Staying strong & supporting one another: