April 14, 2020 COVID-19 SMPH Update


  • The state of Wisconsin has launched a volunteer registry for disaster response; importance guidance is available for SMPH employees and learners. The Wisconsin Emergency Assistance Volunteer Registry (WEAVR) is an online registration system for Wisconsin’s clinical and non-clinical health professional volunteers willing to serve in an emergency. To ensure continuity of operations, employees should coordinate with their department prior to volunteering. Learners should follow guidance from their degree program leaders.
  • Temporary suspension of face-to-face (i.e. in-person) human subjects research interactions has been extended until June 30, 2020.
  • The UW–Madison MPH Program held a webinar titled “COVID-19: Being an Effective Opinion Leader” that featured an expert panel to discuss how to prepare a community for a pandemic, COVID testing, clinical impacts, and risk communication. The webinar was recorded and can be found on the UW Master of Public Health Program YouTube channel. Tip courtesy of Ajay K. Sethi, PhD, MHS, Associate Professor of Population Health Sciences and Faculty Director of Master of Public Health Program and Barbara Duerst, MS, MPH Program deputy director.


  • Please send kudos about your colleagues. Honor someone at go.wisc.edu/shoutout and we’ll share the stories. Visit this page to see a collection of shout-outs to date. Stay tuned tomorrow for more!

“Aisha Mergaert is a graduate student in the Cellular and Molecular Pathology program performing research in the laboratory of Dr. Miriam Shelef, a rheumatologist in the Department of Medicine. The lab is establishing a COVID-19 serum biorepository for antibody analysis of convalescent patients in Wisconsin. As part of the project, we had an immediate need to have an essential research instrument installed and brought on-line. Aisha quickly worked with members of the UW community to find the necessary video conferencing equipment, set up a conference with the field technician to make necessary modifications to the instrument, and arrange a video training session for lab members. Because of her swift and focused actions, the lab is now fully equipped to conduct time-sensitive and urgently needed research. And she did all of this during her honeymoon.” – Michael Denny, PhD, Assistant Researcher, Department of Medicine.

“I can’t even imagine the transition of the Doctorate in Physical Therapy program to online course delivery without the help of the SMPH Instructional Technology team. Chris Hanson, in particular, has gone to great lengths, including sitting online during our classes to help us troubleshoot problems with sharing content and using the group feature on Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. He always follows up to see how we are doing and never hesitates to provide more support. We know he is very busy during this time, but he always makes himself available. We greatly appreciate his expertise, patience and time. Thank you Chris!” – Natalie Blonien, PT, DPT, Faculty Associate, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program

“Thanks to Student Services Coordinators Beth Bierman and Shelley Maxted for regularly checking in on the graduate students in the Biomedical Data Sciences MS and PhD programs. Every week they have been sending notes to the students, pointing them resources that are relevant to coping with the pandemic, offering them words of encouragement, and asking them to let Beth and Shelley know how they are doing.” – Mark Craven, PhD, Professor,  Department of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics

Telecommuting tip:

  • At-home education resource for parents and guardians: PBS Wisconsin and Milwaukee PBS, in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI), announced an ambitious new tv broadcast schedule to support At-Home Learning, accompanied by curriculum-aligned digital resources.

Staying strong & supporting one another: