In the Know: SMPH Updates for November 4, 2020

Top news

  • The Department of Family Medicine and Community Health is celebrating its 50th anniversary. This milestone is not being celebrated as originally planned—with keynote speakers, picnics and hugs from old friends—but it is being marked by reflections on a year that highlighted the pillars on which the department was built: vision, leadership and service. Read more
  • As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, planning ahead with intentionality will help us reduce risk of COVID-19 transmission in the SMPH community. See a message from Hope Broadus, JD, SMPH Associate Dean for Human Resources, on expectations and information for supervisors, employees, and undergraduate student and undergraduate researchers. Read more 
  • Chancellor Blank offers a thank-you message for all who voted in the election. The university has set up opportunities for online discussions on November 5 and 6 for members of our campus community to reflect and share their thoughts about the election, and each discussion room will have staff present to listen and provide support. All are welcome to join. Register here 
  • The UW–Madison 2020 Diversity Forum last week attracted more than 5,000 registrants, including many people from our school community.

SMPH attendees respond to the question: “How will you take anti-racist action?” “To be less passive and more active if I see or hear things that are racist or bias-based. To be an ally, rather than a bystander. I understand more that my mid-west instinct to “not make waves” is harmful.” —Cathy

“Continue to engage family in conversation when structural inequities are the root cause.” —Meredith Rhodes

Did you attend the forum? Send us your thoughts, and we will include them in an upcoming issue of In the Know. Submit insights using this form. 

Building an Anti-Racist SMPH

  • The Native Nations Working Group is offering a Cultural Responsiveness Training on November 12 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. This opportunity is for leadership, deans, administrators, faculty, and staff to learn about engaging Native students on campus, as well as the priorities and issues of Native Nations throughout the state. Register online by tomorrow, November 5.


Please send kudos about your colleagues. Honor someone at and we’ll share the stories. Submit your thoughts and we’ll share them in a future issue.

“We received a following message from Gavin Luter, Managing Director for the UniverCity Alliance (a program that links Wisconsin local governments with resources at UW-Madison), about Barb Duerst and Master of Public Health students in the class ‘Evidence-Based Decision-Making.’ 

Luter writes, ‘I just had a meeting with the partners from Adams County, and they couldn’t stop raving about how impressed they are with the caliber of Barb’s students and the overall process of working with Barb. Students’ professionalism, strong communication, and energy have really made an impression on them. The Director of the Adams County Health and Human Services Department, Kelly Olseson, said that interacting with Barb’s students is usually the highlight of her week–a kind-of bright spot in the pandemic difficulty… I’m simply grateful for Barb’s partnership, and I hope you all know how valuable Barb is to both student learning and community impact.” ­­­– Ajay Sethi, PhD, MHS, Associate Professor, Department of Population Health Sciences, and Faculty Director, MPH Program


Wellbeing Wednesday:Staying healthy as temperatures drop: UW Health experts advise against gatherings and to opt for outside when possible. As temperatures get cooler, any indoor gatherings should be limited to those who live in your household, or with groups of less than 10 people who are part of the same small stable social “bubble.” Masks are always a good idea for these indoor gatherings.