In the Know: SMPH Updates for November 23, 2020

Top news:

  • Today is national Public Health Thank You Day, which recognizes and honors public health professionals working tirelessly to protect and advance the health of people and communities. This includes practitioners — many of whom are SMPH alumni — currently responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as those in our school who are teaching the next generation of public health leaders. On behalf of a grateful SMPH community, thank you. 
  • The latest edition of the UW School of Medicine and Public Health Presenter’s Guide has been released on the Building Community homepage. The guide, which provides suggestions and examples of how to talk about underrepresented identities in medicine and public health, was initially written by five medical students in 2019. Read more 
  • UW Health issued an open letter to the people of Wisconsin, emphasizing a plea for everyone to wear a mask, wash hands, and avoid gathering. The letter was signed by more than 2,000 UW Health employees. Read more 
  • Fourth-year medical students Lakita Maulson and Sarah Soderberg are recipients of the inaugural 2020 Native American Center for Health Professions (NACHP) Scholarship for Advancing Health Equity. Underwritten by the Vandenberg Health Equity Fund at the AMA Foundation, the scholarship is awarded to SMPH students who are members of a federally or state-recognized Native American Tribe and/or exhibit a commitment to address health disparities that impact Native American populations. Read more 
  • The Wisconsin Medical Journal (WMJ) is seeking artwork to illustrate a special issue on the impact of race and racism on the health of people in Wisconsin. Works in the following media are invited: photography, digital design, or well-rendered photographs of painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking, or textile/fiber art. The deadline is December 31. WMJ is a peer-reviewed, indexed journal owned jointly by SMPH and the Medical College of Wisconsin. Learn more

Building an Anti-Racist SMPH 

  • The Building Community/Ebling Library Book & Film Club will be offering two discussion sessions (12/08 at 4 p.m. and 1/13 at noon) on the best-selling book How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi. An e-book version of the title is available via NetID through Ebling Library. Discussions will be led by Elizabeth Petty, MD, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and Vera Tsenkova, PhD, Director of Health Professions Student Research. Learn more and register


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.

“I’d like to give a shout-out to Renee Zook, Janet Lewis, Desmond Rogers and Sue Carlson, all from the Department of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics (BMI). I am a new faculty member of BMI who joined this department about three months ago. The onboarding was actually very smooth even though everyone is telecommunicating during the pandemic. I have a grant transferring from my previous institution and also submitted a new grant in October: many people to communicate with and many details to take care of. Renee, my grant manager, just worked (and is still working) on my cases tirelessly. I felt amazingly ‘shocked’ that she replied my email immediately on a SUNDAY afternoon! Janet, who supports my computer services, always enthusiastically and energetically fulfills my various computer-related requirements. She was also willing to deliver my laptop, monitors, etc. to my house, given the fact that I just forgot to express any gratuities! Desmond was also amazing. I made many reimbursement requests to him. He can always get back to me within hours, or sometimes within minutes! I feel so lucky, fortunate and blessed to join such a wonderful department and could work with such great staff members! I appreciate your time and your effort! To all of you: Happy Thanksgiving!” ­­­– Jiwei Zhao, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Biostatistics and Medical Informatics 

Telecommuting Tip:

Webex continues to roll out updates: See the latest here. Highlights include the ability to pre-assign breakout sessions and an automatic notification if the system notices you are talking while muted.