May 18, 2020 SMPH COVID-19 Update

Top news:

  • Dr. William Schwab, Interim Chair of the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, spoke during the governor’s office media briefing today. Dr. Schwab shared his reflections about the impact of COVID-19 on health care clinicians, patients, and family members. He also provided a tribute to his mother, who died on April 28 due to COVID-19.
  • Chancellor Blank released a message to the UW–Madison community today outlining some of the critical planning efforts underway as the university continues to evolve operations in the face of the pandemic. UW–Madison leadership is planning to begin a phased approach to the resumption of campus operations beginning first with activities that can only be performed on-site, that have a low potential for transmissibility, and/or that can be modified for safety under current pandemic conditions. Importantly, this first step back does not indicate a full-scale resumption of campus activities. Vice Chancellors are working to identify a very limited set of currently halted campus operations that can safely resume, primarily within the research enterprise and a limited number of required in-person training programs critical to students’ on-time graduation.SMPH leadership is engaged in school-level planning, in alignment with campus. All campus employees who are currently able to work remotely will continue to do so at this time. The goal is to increase the density of operations on campus gradually, so that we can make sure that – throughout campus – our procedures for employee safety are implemented effectively.
  • Additionally, Public Health Madison & Dane County released its plan today to begin phased business reopening and resumption of some activities after May 26. While the PHMDC order does not apply to the university because UW–Madison is a unit of a state agency, the university will continue to work closely with the city and county as plans progress.


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

“Dr. Lisa Steinkamp, Director of the Doctor of Physical Therapy degree program, has been relentless in keeping faculty and staff informed of how COVID-19 is affecting the DPT program. Her positive energy, well-organized meetings, and sharing of information has been a constant since this situation started. She collaborates with faculty and staff to brainstorm how to best meet the needs of students while keeping everyone’s safety first and foremost. We don’t tell her ‘thank you’ enough – thank you Lisa!” – Susan Wenker, PT, PhD, Assistant Professor (CHS), Department of Family Medicine and Community Health

“Typically at this time of year, a computer-driven lottery is the method behind the assignments of the rising fourth-year class of MD students to the upcoming academic year of clinical experiences. In this era of reconsiderations, Associate Dean for Students Dr. Gwen McIntosh and Director of Career Advising and Wellness Brian Núñez have partnered with dozens of medical specialty colleagues across the state to completely overhaul this process in order to best accommodate the understandably-variable capacities of sites while still meeting the educational and career goals of 170+ fourth-year MD students. Thank you to Dr. McIntosh, Brian, and all of the collaboration-focused Specialty Champions and Administrators!” – David Bernhard, Director of Student Services

Telecommuting tip:

  • COVID-19 Medical Research Resources: The Scientific Affairs team at the Association of American Medical Colleges has developed an online resource of COVID-19 medical research resources, including a summary of relevant federal policies and information with a focus on agencies involved in COVID-19 research, testing, and public health responses.

Staying strong & supporting one another: 

  • Promoting wellbeing with good nutrition: The Department of Nutritional Sciences in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences has numerous posts about nutrition in the time of COVID-19 such as nutrition for teens and seniors, how to avoid mindless snacking, and healthy takeout or delivery strategies.