University-wide town halls provide insight and inspiration

University-wide town halls provide insight and inspiration

By News@TheU

University-wide town halls provide insight and inspiration

By News@TheU
University leaders and medical experts joined (virtually) to answer questions and provide updates for faculty, staff, students, and their families regarding COVID-19 and its impact on the University of Miami and UHealth.

With more than 5,000 participants joining three virtual town halls via Zoom on Tuesday, March 31, and Wednesday, April 1, it was clear that as a community, the University of Miami is confronting new challenges together. President Julio Frenk opened the conversations with gratitude for the ability of students, faculty, and staff to rapidly adapt to the pandemic and a candid reminder of the imperative roles that the University of Miami and UHealth will continue to play. 

For those who were unable to join the live events, we’re sharing impactful quotes from leaders along with links to the recordings of each town hall.

University of Miami Health System town hall

UHealth and Miller School leaders Edward Abraham, executive vice president for Health Affairs and CEO for UHealth; Henri Ford, dean and chief academic officer, Miller School of Medicine; and Dipen Parekh, chief clinical officer and interim chief operating officer for UHealth echoed Frenk’s sentiments of strength and resilience and applauded the UHealth employees who continue to make sacrifices. “We continue to find ways to teach, serve, and innovate,” said Abraham. “You are the heroes that our community and country need now,” he added. 

Joined by Tanira D. Ferreira, chief medical officer of UHealth inpatient facilities; Bhavarth Shukla, medical director of Infection Control at UHealth;; and Dorinda Carolina, chief human resources officer for UHealth; the group held a candid conversation on topics and questions that have been on the minds of the UHealth community.

Improvements to testing

“It’s not about where we are now, it’s about where we are going.”
“Very soon, within five to seven days, we will have different types of tests on different platforms giving you different responses. We will have tests that range from detecting the active virus in your body to tests that detect the antibodies—or your immune response against this virus.”
—Dipen Parekh

Research and cures

“Our researchers are busy. They are working on rapid diagnostic and therapeutic interventions to combat this formidable virus that is causing this pneumonia-like illness, known as COVID-19.”
—Henri Ford 

Protocols and protection

“This is a marathon, not a sprint. We are monitoring constantly the amount of PPE, masks, and all of the equipment necessary, including the number of ventilator support, on a daily basis. I think we’re in excellent shape to go into this battle.”
—Tanira Ferreira

Visit my.med.miami.edu for additional details and to watch the recorded UHealth town hall.

  

University of Miami faculty and staff town hall

Joined by President Julio Frenk, University leaders Jeffrey Duerk, executive vice president for Academic Affairs and provost; Jacqueline Travisano,executive vice president for Business and Finance and chief operating officer; and Bhavarth Shukla, medical director, Infection Control of UHealth, and assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Disease; addressed faculty and staff with sincere gratitude and transparency regarding the current and future state of the University. 

Adapting to change

“Beyond seeking solutions to the immediate emergency, I am proud to see scholars in every field anticipating the complex challenges—and potential opportunities—this event will bring to our economy and our way of life.” 
—President Julio Frenk

Financial stability remains a priority

“The impact for the University will be in the millions of dollars, no matter what. I’m asking everyone to remember that one important foundational aspiration to the roadmap to our new century is financial sustainability. I will be asking a lot of you for your support as we weather through this crisis together. We are one U and we will be making sacrifices as appropriate to make sure that our University is sustainable for the long future.”
—Jacqueline Travisano 

Teaching and learning is at the forefront of our mission

“Together we have found out a lot about ourselves. The students are finding that they can learn in this way and as faculty, we’re learning that we can teach in this format. What an exciting time as a University to have those two synergies happening at the same time.”
—Jeffrey Duerk 

Support colleagues on the front lines

“The easiest way to support your colleagues is to social distance. Also, to realize that the vast majority of people who come down with this illness have very mild symptoms. If you happen to fall into that category, the best thing you can do is stay home.”
—Bhavarth Shukla

  

University of Miami students and parents town hall

President Julio Frenk was joined by University leaders Jeffrey Duerk, executive vice president for Academic Affairs and provost; Jacqueline Travisano, executive vice president for Business and Finance and chief operating officer; Patricia Whitely, vice president for Student Affairs; and Bhavarth Shukla, medical director, Infection Control of UHealth, and assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Disease. They  addressed students and parents with sincere appreciation for their patience regarding the University’s rapid transformation to a practically virtual campus. 

In particular, Whitely and Frenk explained that only two residential halls are open currently for 275 mostly international students, or those who cannot safely return home. Whitely also explained that residential hall rooms still have the belongings of nearly 2,000 students, and University staff members are working on a plan to get these items back into the students’ hands. They will inform students and parents about their options in the next few weeks. 

Duerk also explained that the university has extended its deadline to allow students to decide whether they want to take a class credit/no credit (also known as pass/fail) until two days after classes end on May 8, 2020. He and President Frenk said that the University will decide  when to resume in-person classes based on data that shows the pandemic is declining, which will likely be available this summer.

Here to support 

“Students, we miss you and especially to our seniors…It’s really unfortunate that we had to cancel so many events, but it was important to everybody that we have commencement in December. And, there will even be something special at Homecoming, where we will beat Florida State. Right now, the most important thing is for you to finish the semester safely online, and we are here to help you do that.” 
—Patricia Whitely 

Visit coronavirus.miami.edu to review the town hall recording and for additional resources for faculty, staff, and students.