Important updates on COVID-19

NEWS

innovation

UF researchers lead the way in rapidly designing, building low-cost, open-source ventilator

This open source project has been created to address predicted ventilator shortage worldwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic and host open source contributions.

Hands assemble a ventilator made from hardware store parts

innovation

UF Health anesthesiology team devises respirator mask made from existing hospital materials

Two prototypes have been developed for respirator masks that can be produced in large quantities using materials already found in hospitals and medical facilities.

Two UF Health workers demonstrate mask prototypes that are crafting masks out of materials already available in medical facilities.

philanthropy

Flanzer Trust announces donation to support UF Health COVID-19 research

The Louis and Gloria Flanzer Philanthropic Trust and UF College of Medicine 1989 alumnus R. Dean Hautamaki, M.D., announced they will donate funds to help UF Health researchers continue to battle COVID-19.

R. Dean Hautamaki, M-D, stands outside of the George T. Harrell, M-D, Medical Education Building at the UF College of Medicine.

ACTS OF SERVICE

UF College of Medicine students assist in screening seniors for COVID-19

While clinical rotations are paused amid concerns of COVID-19, many students have stepped up to serve more vulnerable members of the population. Starting March 23, student volunteers from the UF College of Medicine are assisting in screening senior citizens in The Villages® for COVID-19.

A volunteer wearing personal protection equipment asks screening questions to two people sitting in a golf cart

Wellness

Finding opportunities for wellness during COVID-19 pandemic

Lisa Merlo Greene, Ph.D., director of wellness programs for the UF College of Medicine, offers tips to ease anxiety during the stressful period of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lisa Merlo Greene

research and discovery

Certain compounds may block coronavirus from cells

Computer simulations run by David A. Ostrov, Ph.D., an associate professor in the UF College of Medicine department of pathology, immunology and laboratory medicine, have shown that three compounds appear to have the potential to block cells from being infected by the novel coronavirus COVID-19.

Researcher David Ostrov looks at a computer monitor that shows a research model

STUDENTS

Educational updates

Collegewide events — such as Celebration of Diversity Week (including the Emerald Ball and the Unity in Diversity 5K Run, Walk & Roll), Second Look and Accepted Student Weekend, Medical Education Week and the Faculty Appreciation reception — will be halted or postponed, minimizing large group activities.

Second-year students studying the STEP1: Our second-year medical students are scheduled to begin 10 weeks of independent study Monday, March 16, to prepare for their clinical skills exam.

First-year medical students and PA students will shift to online, Canvas or Zoom delivery coursework as of Monday, March 16.

For up-to-the-minute details on curriculum changes, please check with the UF College of Medicine Office of Educational Affairs.

Mental health resources

For emergencies, please call 9`11.

The UF College of Medicine Office of Student Counseling & Development is temporarily closed. For students experiencing an urgent mental health need, please contact the UF Counseling & Wellness Center at 352-392-1575 and request to speak with the on-call provider. The office is available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, with emergency phone-support service available after 5 p.m. and on weekends.

Additionally, you may call the following 24-hour phone hotlines:

  • Alachua County Crisis Center: 352-264-6789
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is also available via their helpline at 800-950-NAMI Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. NAMI also offers a 24-hour crisis text line — text “NAMI” to 741741.

Library services

The Health Science Center Library is closed until further notice. However, the virtual library is open and available, and library faculty and staff are here to help. The library will still provide the majority of its services remotely, including instruction, research consultations, reference services and digital interlibrary loan, as well as access to all of its digital collections, including journals, books, databases and clinical tools.

Contact reference@health.ufl.edu for reference help, instruction, consultations and other online services. You may also leave a voice message at 352-273-8408; library staff will be checking email and voicemail Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. -5 p.m. Journal articles, books, videos and other resources are available on the Health Science Center Library website.

FACULTY & STAFF

Mental health and wellness resources

A collaborative group representing the Departments of Psychiatry and Clinical & Health Psychology; Shands Employee Assistant Program, or EAP; UF EAP; UF Health Shands Psychiatric Hospital; GatorCare Wellness; and the UF College of Medicine Office of Wellness Programs has developed/expanded services to promote the mental health and well-being of our workforce across the UF Health academic health center and UF Health Shands. Learn more about these services on Bridge.

Human Resources guidance

For information on working through COVID-19, including guidance on taking leave and working remotely, visit the UF Human Resources website.

Research continuity updates

March 26: With few exceptions, animal experiments within the Animal Care Services facility will be suspended effective 12:00 PM on Thursday, March 26. Most activity should have already ramped down or ceased. See the Animal Care Services March 25 notice for more information. This suspension will remain in effect until we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis.

March 24: UF Vice President of Research David Norton issued an  update on the impact of COVID-19 on research activities, including assessing whether specific human subject research may continue at UF. These guidelines are for human subject research only, for use during the current COVID-19 epidemic, and will be in place until removed by the UF Vice President for Research. In addition, the UF IRB posted an update to its COVID-19 investigator guidelines

For previous communications on research updates, log into the Bridge to access this information. If you are not on the VPN, please visit http://vpn.ufhealth.org to log in.

IT resources

UF Health IT has provided resources to assist employees who may be working remotely at this time. Please visit the UF Health IT page on the Bridge to see the most up-to-date resources, including remote access instructions, tips for setting up call forwarding and collaboration tools such as Zoom, Skype and EPIC.