Illinois Medicine

Vol 22 - Spring 2021

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t THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC has had a profound effect on our nation and our world. While we knew that a pandemic of this nature was certainly possible, few of us could have known and understood the devastation that would result from it. The way we live and work has changed dramatically. In this edition of Illinois Medicine, we'll dive into what change has looked here at the University of Illinois College of Medicine while also taking a peek at our how our faculty, caregivers, and staff have responded, as well as our students and our alumni. Many of our outstanding researchers stepped to the plate and delivered. The College of Medicine has been at the forefront of COVID-19 prevention and treatment research, playing a key role in the clinical trials for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines currently being rolled out across country. While vaccine development holds hope of a return to normalcy, it is only part of the story on COVID-19 research. The College also has been instrumental in testing potential therapeutics in a number of clinical trials. We also adjusted the way we delivered the curriculum to our students and the way our students and trainees learned in the hands-on setting. Thanks to technology, we were able deliver much of our coursework online to students. While our students on clinical rotations have been participating in the care of patients since June (after a suspension of in-person education), these rotations have taken into account the central need for safety in the care teams. Our Match Day events were curtailed, but the virtual celebration of our students in residency match was a bright spot during the very early and dire time in the pandemic. Last May, our commencement took place via a YouTube Live stream. The impact on the clinical operations within the College, its affiliates, and throughout the world was enormous. Starting in March, essentially all non-emergent activity ceased in most places of care delivery in order to manage the needs of patients with COVID-19. We began admitting COVID-19 patients from our hard-hit communities and started the process of building our testing sites. Telehealth, which was only a small part of our pre-pandemic activity, became a way to safely meet many of the important healthcare needs of our patients. We are very proud of the caregivers who came together during this crisis, and while we have since safely reopened our clinical operations, the experience will leave our College and healthcare system permanently changed. In times of crisis, we often see people rise up to meet the challenges in front of us all. That has most certainly been the case during the pandemic across so much of the College's operations, and it also includes our alumni. In this edition, you'll read about Barbara Zimmerman, MD '85, who was in Italy in March of 2020, when that country was considered one of the world's early hot spots. You'll also read about Julie Morita, MD '90, who accepted an invitation to join President Biden's COVID-19 advisory task force. Healing remains for our world, our country and our College. But I can speak for our College when I say that this pandemic will leave us stronger and more resilient in the long run. Illinois Medicine | 1 Mark I. Rosenblatt, MD, PhD, MBA, MHA Executive Dean P H O T O : D I A N E S M U T N Y dean's message

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