April 29, 2020

Vol. L No. 17

Editor: Adam Overland (brief@umn.edu)


Inside This Issue

  • 'Transformative' testing capacity set to combat COVID-19.
  • Features: New curriculum equips medical students to support COVID-19 efforts; Connected to their communities; U of M Libraries expands reach during COVID-19.
  • People: Recent Campus Public Health Officer Rapid Response Grant recipients; and more.

Top News

'Transformative' testing capacity set to combat COVID-19Jakub Tolar

Minnesota will soon be able to test 20,000 people per day—up from 8,000—for the virus that causes COVID-19. The new strategy comes from the work of scientists and public health experts at the University of Minnesota, the Mayo Clinic, and the Minnesota Department of Health. Gov. Tim Walz announced the extraordinary development on Apr. 22.

New curriculum equips medical students to support COVID-19 effortsMed students in office

When COVID-19 forced medical students to stay home, professors at the U of M Medical School realized they needed to continue educating these students and to use their skills to mitigate the burdens facing the frontline healthcare providers in the hospital system. Professors Karyn Baum and Brian Hilliard, along with fourth-year resident Jessica Hane, put together a new curriculum for medical students designed to remotely equip them to help clinical staff at M Health Fairview throughout the COVID-19 patient surge.

Connected to their communitiesVictoria and Jennifer

When Victoria Gokee completes her doctor of dental surgery degree at the University of Minnesota in two years, she is headed home to the southern shores of Lake Superior where she grew up surrounded by a large extended family and fellow members of the Red Cliff Tribe of Ojibwe. Fellow dental student Jennifer Enich, who grew up in Side Lake, MN, also plans to live and work in a small community when she finishes her degree. Says Enich: “People in every community deserve high quality dental care.” Read more about these students.

U of M Libraries expands reach during COVID-19Five PRCs

Students who are encountering unfamiliar academic situations, especially in research areas, are turning to online appointments with University of Minnesota Libraries’ Peer Research Consultants. PRCs are U of M students with strong academic records and writing skills, trained to help other students with research papers and assignments. Lately, demand for PRCs has been spiking, and the program has even begun serving Minnesota high school students looking for research help.


Recent Campus Public Health Officer Rapid Response Grant recipients; Elizabeth Fogarty has been named president-elect of the Minnesota Association of Colleges for Teacher Education; U in the News features highlights of U faculty and staff cited in the media.

People >

U-Wide News

New outgoing email requirement (DMARC)

By the end of this calendar year, the Office of Information Technology will have fully implemented a University-wide outgoing email requirement called DMARC. DMARC is a protocol standard used across educational and government entities for the purpose of combating phishing scams and increasing email security. If you send email outside of normal operations through Google or other U of M approved services, you may be impacted by this change.

U of M launches COVID-19 clinical trials of blood pressure drug losartan

University of Minnesota Medical School researchers have begun enrolling patients in two newly launched clinical trials involving a blood pressure medication, losartan, as a potential treatment for those recently diagnosed with COVID-19. Both studies are multi-site trials, one for patients requiring hospitalization and the other for diagnosed patients who do not require a hospital stay.

Faculty help build resilience in providers and staff using military model

The United States Army uses the “Battle Buddy” system to encourage peer mentorship and emotional support for soldiers. Now, to help medical professionals in the fight against COVID-19, the University of Minnesota Medical School has adopted this tactic to deploy the Minnesota Resilience Action Plan.

Interprofessional health sciences professionals apply classroom skills to tackle COVID-19

Michael Metcalf, Colton Cannon, and Dale Krageschmidt completed a group project as part of the 2019 Summer Public Health Institute’s course, “Emerging and Re-emerging Infectious Diseases,” where they learned about Ebola, SARS, and MERS. Today, they are putting their learning experience to practical use and have developed a simple COVID-19 educational module that can benefit others.

OPE offers online ways to connect to University resources

The Office for Public Engagement (OPE) is encouraging community members and University faculty, staff, and students to connect with University resources and expertise through two online forms. Making Connections—Making a Difference offers community members and University faculty, staff, and students a way to ask questions and offer ideas about University-community collaborations focused on COVID-19. Connect with a University Partner helps community members connect with University resources on longer-term projects and topics beyond the current pandemic.

Mortuary Science hosts virtual seminars to improve funeral care during COVID-19

With in-person funerals on hold because of COVID-19, the Program of Mortuary Science at the University of Minnesota Medical School is committed to helping families and funeral service practitioners come up with meaningful ways to commemorate loved ones.

COVID-19 impact: 18.4 million Americans face disruptions and potential loss of health insurance

As many as 18.4 million Americans face disruptions and potential loss of their employer-sponsored health insurance coverage, with millions more at risk due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to recent estimates from the State Health Access Data Assistance Center at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health.

CASCW podcast channel is live

The Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare (CASCW) has launched a new podcast channel, which will cover a wide range of topics and interviews with researchers, policymakers, frontline child welfare workers, community members, youth, and others. The inaugural episode features Jean Quam, dean of the College of Education and Human Development, and one of the cofounders of CASCW, which was created in 1992 in the School of Social Work.

Apr. 29 - New conversation series launch: People and Planet

IonE has launched a new conversation series that will feature speakers discussing topics at the intersection of COVID-19 and the environment. The first webinar will focus on planetary health, live online via Zoom. Noon-1 p.m.

Virtual series - Envisioning the Future: Advancing human rights in a time of crisis

The Minnesota Human Rights Lab and the Center for Global Health and Social Responsibility will host a series to explore human rights post-COVID beginning with “Revisiting the Right to Health” on Apr. 30, noon-1 p.m. Hear from practitioners and experts as they identify gaps in human rights protections in the COVID-19 crisis and develop strategies for advancing human rights long-term.

May 4 - Strategies for Supporting Community-Engaged Research and Teaching During COVID-19

The University's Office for Public Engagement (OPE) is hosting an ongoing series of virtual discussions for faculty, staff, and students systemwide on strategies OPE and other University units can use to support community-engaged research and teaching while also supporting the University's community partners during COVID-19. All discussions will take place via Zoom.

May 15 - Walleye Tank: COVID-19 Showcase

The Walleye Tank life-sciences startup pitch competition will showcase Minnesota’s response to COVID-19. The U of M and Mayo Clinic will host a virtual event to highlight and support the innovators and leaders throughout Minnesota tackling the diagnoses, treatment, and management of the pandemic. The event will feature updates from healthcare partners in Minnesota as well as presentations from startups and community projects seeking support to advance their innovative solutions. See Walleye Tank to apply to present or register to attend the webinar. 3-5 p.m.

May 16 - U of M virtual commencement

On May 16, the University of Minnesota will honor our graduates during a virtual commencement. Join in the online celebration at 11 a.m. The theme for the celebration is “Hail to Thee,” a reference from Minnesota’s state song chosen to reflect the students’ incredible resilience in these stressful times. Faculty and staff are encouraged to use #HailtoThee2020 to share messages of congratulations through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Visit z.umn.edu/commencement2020 for more details.

U of M featured virtual eventsknitting photo

Apr. 30 - Managing Change and Stress in Unpredictable Times
May 1 - The Science Behind COVID-19 Mathematical Models
May 4 - FabLab Presents: Mending Mondays
May 6 - Career Transitions after 50
May 6 - Two economists weigh in on the digital future
May 7 - Planetary Health: Cross-Cutting Principles for a Healthy Future
May 8 - Informational Integrated Food Systems Leadership Program Cohort webinar
May 8 - Depression and Substance Abuse webinar


Buttolph combines passion for medicine and horsesKatie Buttolph

The daughter of two medical practitioners, Katie Buttolph never thought she would want to go down a similar career path as her father, a pathologist, and her mother, an ICU nurse. Her experiences during high school and with an orthopedic surgery she underwent have set her on a path toward medical school.

Apr. 29 - Webinar: Purpose in Times of Uncertainty

Today’s pandemic disruption has upended everything in our daily routine. Now more than ever, it’s critical that we are able to answer the question: What does my purpose look like? Join Bakken Center senior fellow Richard Leider for a session on the three invaluable life lessons learned that you can apply immediately to live and lead with purpose. Noon-1 p.m.


Responding to climate-driven eventsRyan Bergstrom

Assistant Professor Ryan Bergstrom, Department of Geography, is the principal investigator on a project that has received a $500,000 Research Coordination Network grant from the National Science Foundation. The Climate and Governance Variability in the Great Lakes Project will bring scholars, stakeholders, and decision makers together to help coastal communities respond to climate events that are increasingly threatening livelihoods and shorelines.

Students serve up 'Exercise Snacks'Student exercising

Many faculty and students have responded creatively after classes were moved online. Unable to work with students for their final project, Associate Professor Chuck Fountaine, applied human sciences, asked students in his capstone exercise science course to create short workout videos, or what he’s calling “Exercise Snacks.” Video subjects include yoga, gentle stretching, resistance training, cardio workouts, and more.

First place in data visualizationa mudac student

For the second year in a row, students in the Marketing Analytics Program won the data visualization category at the Midwest Undergraduate Data Analytics Competition. Because this year’s event was moved to Zoom, students had to quickly learn unfamiliar software for the 24-hour competition. The students analyzed historical district court data and predicted outcomes of civil rights litigation using data provided by Thomson Reuters.


Johnson earns teaching awardRachel Johnson

Assistant professor of biology Rachel Johnson has earned the 2020 U of M Morris Alumni Association Teaching Award. Johnson stands out among peers for her commitment to undergraduate teaching and learning. An immunologist, Johnson is a particularly appropriate choice this year.

Off Stage and On Screen podcastLucas Granholm

Assistant professor of theatre arts Lucas Granholm and costume shop supervisor Zoe Johnson are bringing theatre artists to students remotely, thanks to their new podcast Off Stage and On Screen. Each week they interview theatre artists (some of whom are U of M Morris alumni) about their work as theatre practitioners.

Nordin featured on PBSAndrew Nordin

Assistant professor of studio art Andrew Nordin was recently featured on an episode of PBS Postcards. Nordin creates large-format pieces that reflect the rural setting in which he lives and teaches.


Recipients of the Chancellor's Awards for Public Engagement

UMR faculty member Teresa Henderson-Vazquez, student success coach Emiko Walker, and The Village Community Garden UMR Collaborative Leadership Team received the Civic Engagement Leadership Award. UMR senior Mason Schlief received the Student Leadership Award. Read more about the recipients.

May 4 - Research and Education Symposium

UMR will host its 10th annual Research and Education Symposium online. View posters online and vote here.

Twin Cities

Celebrating Shakespeare in a pandemicShakespeare in a face mask

The year of Shakespeare’s birth, over 200 people in the small town of Stratford died of the plague, and one family on the same street as the Shakespeares lost four of their children. It is remarkable that Shakespeare survived to write the body of work that still enthralls the world: the plague reappeared on a regular basis throughout his life, with a survival rate of just over 50 percent. Professor Katherine Scheil writes about the playwright who penned King Lear while social distancing, as well as opportunities to get a Shakespeare fix.

Why you should consider learning chess onlinechess pieces on board

As we all practice social distancing during COVID-19, many of us are looking for ways to entertain and improve ourselves, connect with others, and help our children continue to learn. According to William Bart, Department of Educational Psychology, online chess training may be just the mental challenge and escape we need right now.

Liberal Arts expertise around COVID-19

The College of Liberal Arts (CLA) is collecting stories demonstrating how the liberal arts advance our understanding of critical societal issues and how CLA faculty are bringing their insights and expertise to the benefit of us all during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Psychology research during COVID-19

The Department of Psychology has begun a social media campaign titled "Timely: Psychology Research During COVID-19." The goal of the campaign is to share researchers’ expertise that could apply during these times.

U Libraries Music Library has playlists

The University Libraries website includes the Music Library’s vast virtual musical storehouse of audio and video streaming databases. Depending on what effect you desire from music, Jessica Abbazio, music librarian, has recommendations for you, or you can build your own playlist.

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute seeks student instructors

Each year, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) in the College of Continuing and Professional Studies provides a wonderful teaching opportunity for University of Minnesota graduate students and postdocs called the OLLI Scholar Program. Faculty and staff are invited to encourage interested students to submit their interest by May 31 (for academic year 2020-21) to complete the first step of the process.