Guidance for the UC College of Medicine Community Regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19)
The University of Cincinnati and UC College of Medicine are closely monitoring the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, which was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020. The college’s top priority is the safety of our students, faculty and staff and our continued ability to care for our patients.
As this situation has been changing rapidly, please check back often for updates.
Additional information can be found at the university’s coronavirus information page and the University Health Services’ page.
Find Information concerning research operations at the College of Medicine during the coronavirus outbreak can be found here.
March 25, 2020
Subway will now be open from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.
March 23, 2020
Faculty, community respond to call for personal protection equipment
A March 20 message from College of Medicine research leadership to faculty seeking essential reagents and personal protective equipment (PPE) for UC Health physicians and staff on the front lines of the COVID-19 battle generated a large trove of donations. Not only did research faculty step up, but after sharing the request with others outside the college, so did people in the Cincinnati community.
The call for donations was led by Melanie T. Cushion, PhD, senior associate dean for research, Brett Kissela, MD, senior associate dean for clinical research, and Kenneth Greis, PhD, associate dean for research core facilities.
Lori Harris (pictured), interim director of the Harrison Health Sciences Library, pulled almost 40 N95 masks in addition to gloves and gowns from the library’s disaster preparedness kits and donated them to UC Health. Many basic science labs have also helped by supplying PPE and media for virus testing. Material will continued to be collected until Friday, March 27 and can be dropped off in the conference room in the Dean’s Suite, CARE/Crawley E-870.
Kissela also enlisted the help of fellow American Heart Association board member Steve Berke who further spread the word. Through Berke’s efforts, Great Oaks Career Campuses quickly gathered a minivan-load of masks, eye shields, gloves and other PPE for donation. Harry Snyder, president and CEO of Great Oaks, even helped by driving the materials directly to UC Health. Sycamore Community School District donated PPE and Cincinnati State Technical and Community College also has material to donate. Separately, Indian Hill Exempted Village School District supplied PPE.
“All the people who have contributed so far have been unbelievably kind,” Kissela said. “They want to do something to help and they had many supportive things to say for all of our health care workers. They clearly all got it; that getting infected could be life or death and that any infection is a risk to our work force.”
2020 Honors Day canceled
Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the College of Medicine’s Honors Day ceremony, scheduled for May 23, has been canceled. Graduating students were informed March 21 that UC has postponed all spring commencement exercises. Given the timeline for graduating medical students’ transition to residency, it would be difficult for the college to postpone Honors Day until a later date. The college is committed to celebrating the Class of 2020, and has begun planning an alternate commemoration of this year’s class. Administration will work closely with Medical Student Association class co-presidents to gather ideas for an alternate celebration.
Inspirational message to third-year students
In an update to third-year medical students on March 20, Philip Diller, MD, PhD, senior associate dean for educational affairs, also offered students words of advice on their medical education during a suspension of their clinical experience due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Daniel Drake, the founder of our college was self-taught. He read the works of the masters of his time. He worked through the textbooks seeing both the forest and the trees of each discipline. He had a single teacher and no teams or hospitals at the start, and then four months of lectures at University of Pennsylvania. His approach of self-education still works,” Diller wrote.
He suggests that students review case descriptions, practice the skills fundamental to doctoring, learn the various roles of the clinical team and clarify their specialty choice. “Add to all this Aequanimitas,” Diller continued. “This word was the watchword of William Osler which he shared in one of his graduation addresses. It means staying calm in the midst of turbulent times.”
Read his inspirational letter.
Student service opportunities
College of Medicine medical students have created a website to list service opportunities available during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
“We hope to set up a sustainable system to support our community, now and especially when the press around all of this dies down,” says third-year medical student Alexandra Schoenberger.
The site lists opportunities such as screening people entering a UC facility, supporting local volunteer operations such as Adopt-an-Elder and Meals on Wheels, making blood donations and supporting health care providers with child care, petsitting and grocery runs.
Faculty, staff and students can find useful tips for managing stress associated with the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD and additional tips for health care workers. Other available resources:
UC Health hospitals restrict visitors
Effective today, UC Medical Center and West Chester Hospital will not allow visitors on their campuses. There are two exceptions to this:
1) In cases where visitor restriction will produce an undue hardship for the patient or family; and 2) In cases where the restriction is detrimental to the care of the patient. In cases where a visitor is permitted with the permission of the nurse manager and/or medical director, they will be screened upon entrance. Only one visitor will be permitted.
Harrison Health Sciences Library closed
The Donald C. Harrison Health Sciences Library (HSL) will remain closed until further notice. HSL faculty, staff and student workers will be working remotely. Library users are encouraged to keep library materials, and fines will not be incurred for UC, OhioLINK or Interlibrary Loan items. Although the HSL will be closed, staff will still handle reference and research questions for students, faculty, staff and UC administrators. Leave a message at 513-558-1433 or click here to ask a question. Check the library websites for UC Libraries service updates.
March 17, 2020
Harrison Health Sciences Library Closing
The Donald C. Harrison Health Sciences Library (HSL) will close at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, March 17, 2020 until further notice. As we are all aware, these are critical times that call for each of us to do all that we can to continue to support our students, staff and faculty as seamlessly as possible, but also in a safe manner. HSL faculty, staff and student workers will work remotely.
Library users are encouraged to keep library materials. Fines will not be incurred for UC, OhioLINK or Interlibrary Loan items. Although the HSL will be closed, we will still handle reference and research questions for students, faculty, staff and UC administrators. Leave a message at 513-558-1433 or click here to ask a question. Check the library websites for UC Libraries service updates.
Managing stress associated with the COVID-19 virus outbreak
Faculty, staff and students can find useful tips for managing stress associated with the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD and additional tips for health care workers.
The UC Health Stress Center also may be of assistance. Call their confidential line at 513-558-5872.
UC Employee Assistance Program is available.
March 16, 2020
Coronavirus (COVID-19) impact to the College of Medicine
In response to the rapidly changing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, the University of Cincinnati and the College of Medicine have altered operations in numerous ways to fulfill the missions of the college while protecting the health and well-being of faculty, staff and students and meeting our civic responsibility.
Faculty and Staff
- Faculty and staff will transition to working remotely until further notice. Find further information and an employee FAQ.
- All exterior doors to College of Medicine buildings will be locked 24 hours a day beginning Tuesday, March 17. Access will be available with your UC identification card. Any UC faculty, staff or student needing access but who currently does not have electronic access to these buildings can have it added to their UC identification card by calling UC Public Safety at 513-556-4925. Anyone without a UC identification badge will need to contact UC Public Safety to arrange access.
Educational activities will be conducted via remote learning through the end of the semester.
Effective Tuesday, March 17, clinical education experience for third- and fourth-year medical students is suspended until March 29. The college is working to develop remote alternate learning experiences for these students.
A virtual town hall for medical students regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) was held March 13 with Andrew Filak Jr., MD, senior vice president for health affairs and Christian R. Holmes Professor and Dean; Philip Diller, MD, PhD, senior associate dean for educational affairs; Aurora Bennett, MD, associate dean of student affairs; and Carl Fichtenbaum, MD, professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine.
Although under emergency procedures, the research mission continues to be operational. However, there are restrictions that must be enacted to protect personnel and maintain the integrity of our research infrastructure. Each college research laboratory must have an emergency preparedness plan to ensure both of these priorities. Clinical research also continues. Study participants who are taking study product that is treating a health condition will continue on their assigned study product and undergo study visits per their individual protocol. Visits for studies that do not involve a study product/medication or device should be postponed and/or conducted by telephone where feasible. Core facilities are planning to maintain some level of research continuity. Find detailed information on research planning during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Beginning today, UC Health hospitals have implemented restricted access measures and updated visitor restrictions. At UC Medical Center, there will be only four public entrances: Main Lobby, Emergency Department, Ridgeway Visitor Entrance and Ridgeway Psychiatric Emergency Services Controlled Entry/Exit. Ambulatory locations, including outpatient buildings and physician offices, are being evaluated for restricted access and may implement future restrictions on a case-by-case basis. Visitors to UC Medical Center and West Chester Hospital must be over 14 years of age and will be screened for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Daniel Drake Center for Post-Acute Care and Bridgeway Pointe are not accepting visitors due to their high-acuity patient population. In order to proactively manage staff, supplies and space, the clinical leadership of the various departments has been working together to determine surgeries and appointments that can be postponed or cancelled.
All upcoming College of Medicine events have been canceled or postponed unless they can be virtualized. Among those events canceled are:
- March 20: Match Day celebration. Students this year will receive their match envelopes individually and learn their match on their own.
- March 25: Opioid Symposium (may be rescheduled later in the year).
- March 26: Hutton Ethics Lectureship.
- March 27: Ninth Annual Internal Medicine Research Symposium.
- March 28: CME Symposium: Multidisciplinary Management of Gastrointestinal Cancers.
- April 3 and 4: Second Look event.
- April 21: Fourth Annual UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute/Neurobiology Research Day.
Hoxworth Blood Center
Hoxworth Blood Center continues its operation as the demand for blood products continues. Hoxworth is not testing or screening for COVID-19, but does screen all donors to ensure they are healthy and eligible to donate. There is no known risk of transmission of COVID-19 through the blood donation process or from blood transfusions. Blood donations are needed. To schedule a donation, call 513-451-0910.
Starbucks will be open from 6 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. each weekday. Subway will be open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. The UC Medical Center cafeteria will be open daily. Many of the tables and chairs have been removed to promote social distancing.
College remains open
The College of Medicine remains open, reminds Filak. He encourages everyone during these stressful times to take care of themselves and one another and to pay attention to CDC guidelines with respect to personal hygiene, including hand washing, mass gatherings and social distancing.
In a message to faculty, staff and students, Filak said: “I would like to express my profound gratitude and appreciation to all faculty and staff for your cooperation and efforts throughout this health crisis. You have been diligent in ensuring the continued operation of the College of Medicine, making certain that our responsibilities are met. I applaud how, through a very difficult and fluid situation, you have maintained our ultimate goals of enhancing and improving the lives of our patients, providing an excellent education for our students and conducting groundbreaking research. I also want to thank all our students for your understanding as we transform your educational experience to meet the demands of this unprecedented health crisis.”
“I could not be prouder of how everyone has risen to these challenges,” he added.