In the Know: SMPH Updates for February 26, 2021

Top news:

  • COVID-19 updates:
    • Please read week’s update to employees, which includes good news about a decline in the percentage of students testing positive, a link to stress reduction tools recommended by the SMPH Department of Psychiatry, and information about vaccines. Those with teaching and mentoring roles are encouraged to review information sent to graduate and professional students and undergraduates.
    • Vaccine Town Hall: On Thursday, March 4 from noon to 1 p.m., campus experts will discuss COVID-19 vaccine efforts at UW–Madison. The livestream will be available here.
    • University Health Services has posted information about how the state’s expanded vaccine eligibility guidelines on March 1 affects campus vaccination efforts. Read more
    • A new multilingual website for the campus community provides COVID-19 assistance in five languages. Read more  
  • It’s time to get out the vote for science at SMPH! On Monday, health and medicine outlet STAT News will release a March Madness-style bracket of 64 biomedical advances or discoveries to emerge from U.S. labs in the past year. Among them is the discovery of a new antifungal drug called turbinmicin, which was identified in the microbiome of a sea squirt from the Florida Keys. The research was conducted by a team including Tim Bugni, PhD in School of Pharmacy and David Andes, MD, professor of medicine. During the STAT Madness competition, readers can vote for their favorite discovery in six rounds of elimination to yield a “champion.” Read about the competition here and starting at around 5 a.m. on Monday, March 1, you can cast your vote here. 
  • Research update: Using a new approach to target genetic mutations, eye researchers in SMPH and University of Iowa are developing and testing a new therapy for restoring vision in children and adults with severe visual impairment or blindness due to certain kinds of retinal disorders. Read more 
  • Leadership searches: Candidate visits have ended for the Chair of the Department of Neuroscience. One more candidate will visit for the Chair of the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. Next week kicks off visits for Chair of the Department of Medical Physics. Get Webex info, submit feedback on candidates, and watch recordings at Passwords to access video recordings are “Neuroscience2021,” “MedMicroImm2021,” and “MedicalPhysics2021” for each respective search. 
  • The SMPH Diversity Summit on April 20 will feature keynote speaker Elena Rios, MD, MSPH, FACP as well as several Latinx leaders in our school. Patricia Téllez-Girón, MD, associate professor of family medicine and community health, will give a talk on the state of the Latinx community in Dane County and the nation. Dr. Téllez-Girón was featured in Time magazine last year in a story highlighting people who are bridging divides. Learn more and register for the Diversity Summit here. 
  • Final reminder: Nominations are being accepted through March 1 for the 2021 Dean’s Teaching Awards, to be presented at Medical Education Day on May 27. These peer-selected awards were established to honor outstanding contributions to student education in medical school programs. More information on eligibility and the nomination form can be found at the SMPH Medical Education Day website. 
  • Clinical Genetics Symposium Series: From March 1 to March 12, the Department of Medical Genetics will offer noon-1:00 p.m. Seminars in Modern Clinical Genetics that highlight advances in genomic research relative to human disease. The lectures will focus on human genomic analysis and how these approaches, in research and clinical practice, can be applied to better understand basic mechanisms of disease, improve diagnostic accuracy and efficiency, and direct precision therapy. All are welcome. Download a PDF with details and Zoom links here.

Building an Anti-Racist SMPH 

Did you know that you can use your UW NetID to read the book How to Be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi online? Visit this link, and sign in to access the book courtesy of the UW–Madison library system.

Find additional resources listed on the web page for the SMPH Spring 2021 Initiative: Advance Health by Acting Against Racism. 


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.

Several times now, Derek Grade has gone far out of his way–literally–to help me iron out computer issues I had that could not be solved virtually because I was too tech-challenged. He was so accommodating, even stopping by my building at least twice. He gave me a token for multi-factor authentication, arranged my VPN and Citrix connections, and set up the audio I couldn’t get working for Zoom and WebEx meetings. Not only that, he explained everything patiently and even facilitated an update of my stats program. And all of this, the same day I asked! I am so grateful to him for eliminating my hurdles to using digital resources at UW.” — Ilya Gurevic, Associate Research Specialist, Department of Medicine