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IOWA Magazine | June 2020

University of Iowa Health Care Experts Lead the State's Fight Against the Coronavirus

The world stopped; they took action. Iowa's medical workers and top researchers rise to meet the COVID-19 crisis.

When the dark clouds of the COVID-19 pandemic rolled in earlier this year, Iowa's leaders turned to medical and public health experts for guidance. Fortunately, they didn't have to look far; many of the nation's top medical minds and healing hands could be found in Iowa City. From its physicians and nurses to infectious disease researchers and epidemiologists, the University of Iowa has been at the forefront of the state's response to this historic health crisis.

Microscope ILLUSTRATION: ALEXANDER WELLS/FOLIO ART

As the virus spread and the world came to a standstill, the UI made the difficult but inevitable move to virtual instruction midway through the spring semester. Classrooms and residence halls closed. Zoom sessions replaced lectures. Seniors attended virtual graduations. But even as the Pentacrest emptied, the UI's health care and research teams mobilized.

At the university's Oakdale campus, the State Hygienic Laboratory partnered with the Iowa Department of Public Health in late February 2020 to become the state's first facility to test for the coronavirus. A month later, UI Hospitals & Clinics became the first hospital in Iowa to use its own labs to test patients.

UI Health Care, which in short order transformed its operations to safely treat the virus, has served as one of the state's leading care providers for COVID-19 patients. Patients who don't require hospitalization have benefited from the UI's home monitoring kit, which provides tools and telehealth visits while in self-isolation.

Meanwhile, UI researchers are searching tirelessly for treatments through clinical trials. In one study, doctors tested whether plasma from people who have recovered from COVID-19 can be used to treat current patients. Another trial evaluated the safety and efficacy of the promising drug remdesivir as part of an international study. And around the world, scientists are using a mouse model first developed at the UI to test new COVID-19 therapies.

Beyond UI Hospitals & Clinics, faculty and staff have channeled their efforts in support of Iowa's health care providers. UI Pharmaceuticals is producing hand sanitizer in bulk for the hospital. The Roy J. Carver Department of Biomedical Engineering has cranked out thousands of face shields to safeguard hospital workers. Alumni and friends of the UI have come together to sew masks, donate to student and health care funds, and plant black-and-gold "We Stand Together" signs around the community.

Featured in this section are just a few of the many stories of Hawkeyes rising to the occasion during this harrowing moment in history. The unifying theme is clear: The obstacles before us are great, but the resolve of Iowa's front-line heroes is greater.

"While these are challenging times, I am confident that the Iowa spirit, American resilience, and UI Health Care determination will win the day," says Suresh Gunasekaran, chief executive officer of UI Hospitals & Clinics and associate vice president of UI Health Care. "We will work hard enough and smart enough to overcome the challenges ahead of us. If we work together, we will get back to building our community faster." —JOSH O'LEARY


Scientists, Media Turn to Iowa's Coronavirus Expert

Stanley Perlman ILLUSTRATION: JARED SALASBERRY

Scientists around the globe racing to find treatments and a vaccine for COVID-19 are building upon the work of Stanley Perlman, a veteran University of Iowa researcher and one of the world's leading coronavirus experts. Read more…

College of Engineering Helps Fill Face Shield Gap

Colleen Bringman PHOTO COURTESY UI COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING

When UI Hospitals & Clinics put out the call for additional face shields, the College of Engineering jumped in to help. Read more…


Nurses Connect Patients With Their Families

Jolyn Morgan PHOTO: SUSAN MCCLELLEN/UI HEALTH CARE

When in-person visits to UI Hospitals & Clinics patients were temporarily suspended as a COVID-19 safety precaution, a team of specially trained nurses stepped in to make sure every patient was able to stay in touch with loved ones. Read more…


Telemedicine Brings Healing to Patients' Homes

Bradley Manning and Andrew Bryant PHOTO: SUSAN MCCLELLEN/UI HEALTH CARE

UI Hospitals & Clinics is one of only a handful of hospitals across the country with a Home Treatment Team, which uses telemedicine to provide daily care and support to patients with COVID-19 who do not need in-hospital care. Read more…

Hospital Provides State's First In-House Testing

Bradley Ford PHOTO: SUSAN MCCLELLEN/UI HEALTH CARE; ILLUSTRATION: JARED SALASBERRY

It all begins with a swab up the nose. That's when the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory team at UI Hospitals & Clinics gets to work. Read more…


Alumnus Featured in Netflix Documentary Tracks Viruses

Scientist Ghazi Kayali PHOTO COURTESY GHAZI KAYALI

Ghazi Kayali (08PhD) is part of a global network of scientists dedicated to researching novel viruses transmitted between animals and humans. Read more…


UI Student Forms Network of Helping Hands

Allie  Stutting PHOTO: DAVID SCRIVNER/UI OFFICE OF STRATEGIC COMMUNICATION

Allie Stutting, a recent graduate from Princeton, Iowa, started Iowa City Errand-ers, a network of young, able-bodied volunteers who help the elderly and other at-risk populations during the coronavirus pandemic. Read more…

UI Health Care Joins Remdesivir Clinical Trial

Dilek  Ince ILLUSTRATION: JARED SALASBERRY

UI Hospitals & Clinics is the first in the state of Iowa to participate in an international clinical trial for remdesivir, believed to be the most promising drug available to treat COVID-19. Read more…


Hawkeye Cares for Patients in Nation's Coronavirus Epicenter

Noly Agdinaoay PHOTO COURTESY NOLY AGDINAOAY

UI nursing student Noly Agdinaoay has been caring for patients in New York City—the epicenter of the nation's COVID-19 crisis. Read more…


UI Makes Face Masks to Protect Workers

FACE SHIELD GRAPHIC

With professional-grade face shields for health care providers in high demand, Iowa MADE—the UI's medical device design business—is using materials provided by Iowa manufacturers to build the coronavirus-fighting tools by the thousands. Read more…

In This Together: The UI Confronts COVID-19

Colleen Bringman PHOTO: SUSAN MCCLELLEN/UI HEALTH CARE

Snapshots of how the pandemic affected the University of Iowa—and how Hawkeye students, faculty, staff, and alumni responded to this global health crisis. Read more…


UI Pharmaceuticals Addresses Need for Hand Sanitizer 

Hand Sanitizer ILLUSTRATION: JARED SALASBERRY

University of Iowa Pharmaceuticals (UIP)—a unique service division within the College of Pharmacy that develops, manufactures, and performs analytical testing on medicinal drugs—recently began making hand sanitizer for UI Hospitals & Clinics in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Read more…

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Iowa Magazine Summer Issue Cover COVER ILLUSTRATION: ALEXANDER WELLS/FOLIO ART Click on the image above to view the full summer 2020 Iowa Magazine cover.

ON THE COVER

In the spirit of unity and strength reminiscent of the Iowa football team locking hands before entering Kinnick Stadium, Hawkeye health care workers swarm to fight COVID-19. This artistic rendition of their solidarity is symbolic in nature and doesn't represent the extent of the precautions UI Health Care employees take and recommend to the general public, including physical distancing.


COVID-19 TIMELINE

See how pandemic-related events shaped Iowa's spring 2020 semester.

Jan. 21 

First known COVID-19 case identified in the U.S. 

Feb. 6 

First known death related to COVID-19 identified in the U.S.  

Feb. 28 

University of Iowa cancels a student program in Italy for the remainder of the spring semester—the first of many study abroad programs to be recalled.  

March 5 

Board of Regents, State of Iowa, institutes ban on university-sponsored international travel. 

March 8 

First known cases of COVID-19 identified in the state of Iowa. 

March 10 

Board of Regents asks the UI, Iowa State University, and the University of Northern Iowa to move as quickly as possible toward the ability to deliver instruction online. The last day of in-person classes is later that week. 

March 11 

UI Hospitals & Clinics admits first patient with COVID-19.  

March 12 

Big Ten Conferences cancels all conference and non-conference competitions through the end of the academic year.  

March 13 

UI cancels all face-to-face meetings and events, while UI Hospitals & Clinics enacts additional measures to restrict and screen visitors for influenza and COVID-19. 

March 16 

President Donald Trump announces 15-day plan for social distancing, which is later extended through April. 

March 17 

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds issues a State of Public Health Disaster Emergency. As a result, UI leadership directs all employees—outside of UI Health Care—to work remotely unless the critical function they provide must be completed on campus.  

March 18 

UI announces cancellation of spring commencement ceremonies, classes online for remainder of spring semester, and most residence halls to close.  

March 19 

First member of the UI community reports positive test for COVID-19. 

March 20 

UI Hospitals & Clinics becomes the first hospital in the state to test for COVID-19. 

March 23 

UI Center for Advancement sets up two emergency funds to benefit students and health care providers at UI Hospitals & Clinics. 

March 24 

First known death related to COVID-19 reported in Iowa. 

March 26 

U.S. surpasses all other countries in number of COVID-19 cases.  

March 30 

All UI classes go online. 

April 2 

Global COVID-19 cases top 1 million. 

April 6 

UI Hospitals & Clinics joins trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of remdesivir, a promising drug available to treat COVID-19.  

April 7 

U.S. COVID-19 cases top 1 million. 

May 1 

UI cancels all in-person summer programs and classes, but plans to resume face-to-face instruction in the fall. 

May 14-June 5 

UI holds virtual commencement ceremonies. 


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