April 2, 2020 COVID-19 SMPH Update

Top news:

  • Mourning the loss of Dr. Beth Potter and Robin Carre: The SMPH community was devastated to learn about the passing of Dr. Potter and her husband Robin Carre, who were victims of a double homicide that occurred in the UW Arboretum on Tuesday. Dr. Potter’s legacy has touched countless lives; a memorial web page to honor her memory has been visited by tens of thousands of people.

Additional information:

  • Global collaboration sparks songwriting: An original music composition inspired by the state’s Safer at Home measure was sparked last weekend when Elizabeth Petty, MD, senior associate dean for academic affairs wrote lyrics for “Safe Within” that were set to music by musician Joanne Cooper, who is based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Cooper then created a video that includes lyrics and guitar chords — you can play along at home!
  • New information is available from SMPH Fiscal Affairs about electronic routing of payments. Read more


  • 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. Visit this page to see a collection of shout-outs to date. Stay tuned tomorrow for more!

Correction: Yesterday’s update included a shout-out to the Wisconsin Research and Education Network (WREN) team. That message was submitted by Shelbey Hagen, associate research specialist, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health.

“In addition to multiple other roles within the Department of Neurology, Jenny Becker is our grant administrator. Her flexibility, competence, and responsiveness are greatly appreciated particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. She has been able to maintain an active workflow which recently resulted in a R01 award for this first-time investigator.” – Aaron Struck, MD, assistant professor, Department of Neurology

“I’d like to give a shout-out to all the MDs, Anesthetists, Residents, operating room (OR) Nurses, OR Techs, OR support staff, and Environmental Services staff who are working hard without complaint while caring for our patients at a time that is high-risk for the health care providers. As a team we are adapting and taking on new duties to keep the ORs running, and to support the intensive care units while continuing to provide excellent care to our patients.” – Karl Willmann, MD, associate professor (CHS), Department of Anesthesiology

“Department chair Beth Drolet and vice chair for clinical affairs Dan Bennett have provided the most compassionate and clear leadership for our dermatology department during the COVID19 pandemic. They have helped to lead us through this storm with the utmost of grace and availability, keeping everyone up to date, providing clear direction, and troubleshooting problems in real time so they can be quickly rectified. During a time of so much turbulence, I feel so grateful to have clear direction from above. They have prioritized not only our care for patients, but also care for ourselves. They have been a stabilizing force during this historic, terrifying time. I feel personally so grateful for their incredible, nonstop efforts on all of our behalf.” – Lisa Arkin, MD, assistant professor (CHS), Department of Dermatology


  • Suggested by Elizabeth Simcock, manager, Academic and Administrative Analytics:
    It’s not just the stress of COVID-19 that can bring us down at this time. It’s also the stress on our senses, such as our hearing during phone and video calls. What can you do?

    • Take breaks for your ears, the same way you’d rest your eyes from your computer screen.
    • Keep space between calls or video conferences when you can.
    • Help your colleagues by adjusting closer to your mic to be heard well at a normal volume.
    • Slow down.
    • Switch which ear is on duty occasionally.
    • Get outside. Hearing outdoor sounds, naturally distanced from our ears is a reset.

 Staying strong & supporting one another: 

  • SilverCloud is a free mental health resource available 24/7 to UW–Madison faculty, staff and students. This online, self-guided, interactive mental health resource provides accessible cognitive behavioral interventions. Learning module topics include:
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Body image
    • Stress

While SilverCloud is not designed to replace in-person mental health treatment for many complex concerns, it may be an effective option when experiencing mild to moderate symptoms.