In the Know: SMPH Updates for February 19, 2021

Top news:

  • COVID-19 updates:
    • A health alert was released today to undergraduate students regarding an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the student population. 112 positive student cases were reported on Wednesday and 99 more on Thursday. Contact tracing suggests that many of the students who have tested positive had attended gatherings, sometimes without wearing masks. Read more
    • A highly contagious variant of the virus has also been detected for the first time in Dane County. Read more
    • These developments illustrate how critical it is to follow health and safety protocols including wearing a mask when outside of your household, continuing regular COVID-19 testing, limiting trips out, practicing physical distancing, and washing hands. It’s up to all of us to stop the spread.
    • Please continue to treat test site workers with kindness and respect. Treating everyone with respect is a core principle of our Shared Guidelines for Professional Conduct.
    • A trio of groups — the UW Neighborhood Health Partnerships Program, Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality, and UW Health Innovation Program — is hosting an event on Wednesday, Feb. 24 at 4 p.m. that will describe their new tool that uses local data to plan and prioritize COVID-19 vaccine outreach and communications in Wisconsin communities. Get more information and register
  • Research updates:
    • A study published this week in Science Translational Medicine describes how detecting fragments of cell-free DNA in urine could potentially be used to detect some forms of cancer. Read more
    • Insight into the pancreatic proteome was the focus of a collaboration between Lingjun Li, PhD, professor of chemistry and pharmacy, and Jon Odorico, MD, professor of surgery. Read more 
  • Recently hired supervisors can attend a LifeMatters Supervisor Orientation on Wednesday, March 10 from 10-10:45 a.m. Register here and receive a link the day before the session. LifeMatters offers free and confidential assistance with life, work, family, and wellbeing. Learning about this important employee resource will help you support yourself and your employees. 
  • Gain perspective on Native American maternal and child health during a virtual lecture March 5 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Speaker Candi Cornelius, MSN, RN, CLC, of the Oneida and Menominee Nations of Wisconsin, will review current research and lead discussion on practices and that focus on areas of need and possible solutions to improve birth outcomes in Native communities. The event is part of the Native American Center for Health Professions Distinguished Lecture Series. Download a flyer (PDF) | Learn more and RSVP
  • A celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Peace Corps will occur on March 1 at 6:00 p.m., when Chancellor Rebecca Blank and former Chancellor and Peace Corps alumna Donna Shalala will gather with International Division Vice Provost and Dean Guido Podestá to hear from 10 former Peace Corps Directors about the history of the agency and some UW–Madison connections. Learn more and register
  • Candidate visits for Chair of the Department of Medical Physics have been announced. See the schedule on the Leadership Search Candidate Visit Page. The visits for chairs of the Department of Neuroscience and Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology are still ongoing. Passwords to access video recordings are “Neuroscience2021,” “MedMicroImm2021,” and “MedicalPhysics2021” for each respective search. 

Building an Anti-Racist SMPH 

University Health Services offers a panel discussion titled “Beyond Resilience: A community conversation about the preservation, health, and strength of Black Men” on Feb. 22 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. The event aims to highlight current concerns, demonstrate how to have deeper conversations about overall health, and explore the strengths found in Black manhood which includes how to reach out for support. Read more and register 


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I would like to acknowledge Jennifer Stevens, MPA, CPA, CMPE, and her leadership in our department in navigating the trials and tribulations of this working-from-home environment and what that looks like all mixed in with all the regular intricacies of our jobs. Jenni has been an amazing supervisor, mentor, leader, and beacon of support through these weird and unprecedented times we are all going through. Whether it is just listening to me vent (and sometimes laughing with me) about being a parent in this pandemic, or hearing her words of wisdom, these moments help keep me motivated to continue to push through the days and move forward with the plans and work that I do in our department, and I am so grateful to her for that.”Andrea Zorbas, MBA, MSAcct, CRA, Research Manager, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology