For the University of Arizona Health Sciences community, the past few weeks have been an unprecedented mix of rapid reactions, quick-turn decision making and reallocations of resources, punctuated by moments of uncertainty and less-than-linear wayfinding.
In one way or another, we all have adjusted our personal and professional activities to respond to one of the most difficult global health challenges in our lifetime.
Throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic — and as we eventually move into a post-pandemic environment — UArizona Health Sciences will be squarely in the center of the University’s crisis response and recovery planning efforts.
As health care professionals, researchers, educators, administrators and support staff, we have trained and worked countless hours in our respective careers. Each of us now has an opportunity to help in responding to the evolving impact of this devastating health crisis and to contribute to shaping the best way forward when it recedes.
Among many notable efforts across Health Sciences, here are a few of the ways we are coming together to combat these unforeseen circumstances, while continuing to advance our mission despite the immense challenges around us.
- Personal protective equipment donation drives led by faculty
- COVID-19 specimen collection kit creation and assembly
- Match Day pivots to virtual celebrations
- Researchers seeking to develop COVID-19 antibody testing
- Safety and prevention training video for COVID-19 first responders
- Virtual telemedicine training for rural health care providers
- Health Sciences representation on the Executive and Core teams and the New Opportunities, Strategic Plan Investments, Students and Workforce working groups supporting the University’s Financial Sustainability Emergency Response Taskforce
In addition to being so very proud of our community’s efforts over the last couple of weeks, I am extremely grateful for how our students, faculty and staff are showing both fortitude and patience in adapting to required changes during this difficult period – adjusting to modifications around learning, rotations and commencement, and implementing a temporary pause in hiring and other position moves. We will work through these changes together.
As the next several weeks will be critical for winning the global, national and statewide fight against the pandemic, the next several months will be important for determining a successful path forward for the University and Health Sciences. I will continue to provide periodic updates on our progress.
Thank you for your dedication and commitment during these extraordinarily challenging times. I am confident that – because of our outstanding faculty, staff and administrators – we not only will overcome the immediate impact of COVID-19, we also will build a stronger Health Sciences to pursue our mission in more and better ways than before.
Michael D. Dake, MD
Senior Vice President
University of Arizona Health Sciences