covid19

Welcome


COVID-19: UPDATE FROM THE SCHOOL OF MEDICINE

Dear SOM Community,

As our response to COVID-19 continues to evolve, please stay tuned to regular communications from the Office of the President/UTMB Broadcasts and monitor the UTMB COVID-19 website for updates: www.utmb.edu/COVID-19. This page has been regularly updated with videos, FAQs, and additional information as developments are available. We are endeavoring to stay in close communication with you regarding updates as the situation develops.

Please review the information below for guidance regarding SOM and PAS coursework and research.

COVID19 Information for Faculty Staff Students

March 19, 2020

Match Day

A few details about Match Day:

  1. Not sure if the NRMP notified the applicants directly, but if not, they sent this to the schools this morning: “The NRMP is aware of the disruptions the COVID-19 outbreak has caused in the medical education community and the effect on medical schools and Match Day ceremonies. Therefore, on Friday, March 20, the NRMP will release the Match results to all applicants at 12:00 p.m. ET.” So, they plan to make the results available to you all an hour earlier than usual instead of the schools needing to send them. 11:00 a.m. (central time)
  • The full match list will also be emailed to you in a separate email from me. Also, we always share the list on the UTMB webpage. We will post that one hour later, at 12:00 p.m. (central time) to allow our applicants time to receive and view their results.
  • Although we are not gathering for the Match Day Ceremony where you all could participate in the big money pot that everyone contributes a $1 to with the money going to the student who waited the longest to get their match results, we have always done a secondary (runner’s up) pot with donations from faculty. Even with all that is going on, some faculty members had sent some donations over and we will do a drawing for that tomorrow when the deans are available. I’ll video it and we will post it on the Student Affairs facebook page. Valerie Carmichael  will also send an email to notify the recipient. So, watch for that little moment of fun!

ASCC Services Still Available
March 19, 2020
We recognize that this is a stressful time and admire your perseverance as continue your studies. Please know that Academic Support and Career Counseling (ASCC) is still providing services.

  • We are conducting individual appointments with students through phone or video conference. You are welcome to continue scheduling appointments through our online booking link: https://bit.ly/asccappt.
  • Our Blackboard page (“Academic Support and Career Counseling Resources”) contains a number of resources and is where we will continue adding support content.
  • For questions or concerns, please email one of our staff directly (see contact info below) or email our office account at somascc@utmb.edu.

 We are eager to support you as you navigate your studies during this time – please do not hesitate to reach out.

Pierre Banks, Ed.D.
Sr Specialist, Learning & Career Counseling
pwbanks@utmb.edu
Becca Güler, Ed.D.
Specialist, Learning & Career Counseling
rjguler@utmb.edu
Stacy Shields, Ph.D.
Director
seshield@utmb.edu
 

Clinical Rotations Suspension Guidance FAQs: Effective March 18, 2020
March 18, 2020 9:09 PM

We know that our announcements yesterday regarding suspension of clinical rotations have led to a lot of questions. While it is very early in the planning, we wanted to provide what guidance we can at this moment.

Why did we make this decision yesterday?
Leadership has been continuously monitoring the COVID-19 situation including local, state and national guidance and input from student leadership and faculty. The AAMC recommended all medical schools suspend medical student participation in clinical care for a minimum of two-weeks. Given this new guidance and input from a wide spectrum of students and faculty, the decision was made to immediately suspend clinical rotations for medical students.

What do we do now that we were relieved from clinical responsibilities?
You may not return to any campus at this time. All in-person activities are canceled.

  • We will be moving the year 3 and 4 curriculum to online-only curriculum immediately. Please stay tuned for more details from clerkship and course directors.
  • Check your email daily and stay engaged.
  • We advise that you practice social-distancing and very careful hygiene as recommended by public health authorities.
  • While we do not recommend travel at this time, we cannot restrict your movements. Please remember you may be called back to campus or your clinical site at short notice. If you choose to travel, please remember you are placing everyone you come into contact with at a higher risk given your potential exposure in the clinical setting.
  • At this time, you will be expected to return for shelf exams; see the next question. If you leave either Galveston or Harris county, you will be required to be cleared by Student Health to take your shelf exam as per previously issued University policy. Your clerkship leaders will be communicating more details. Please, keep shelf exam timing and need for clearance to return in mind with any travel plans to return home.

What about our upcoming shelf exams?
For now, please continue independent studies to prepare for your shelf exams. We anticipate the shelf exam dates will stay as scheduled. Your clerkship directors will keep you up to date with the most recent information.

Will missed clinical rotation time need to be made up? How is this going to impact my ability to graduate on time? What about doing needed rotations early in the fourth year to get recommendation letters in my field of interest? What if I’m off-cycle, it may be difficult for me to finish the curriculum on time?
This is an unprecedented time across the country for medical schools and residency programs as we are in a national emergency. We will work with guidance from LCME, AAMC and ACGME to find the best possible solution for all students. We will be flexible, innovative and diligent in finding solutions that meet learning needs while complying with educational requirements. Medical schools across the country are working together to find solutions. Residency programs understand the unique situation medical students across the country are facing and are actively involved in this conversation.
We are currently working on plans to accommodate fourth year medical students who have unmet graduation requirements.
 While this is a time of great uncertainty, please take care of your families and personal health as the number one priority. We will get through this together and it will work out. Please stay well, be patient and stay in touch. We are committed to working with students, faculty and leadership to find the best possible solution.
 We recognize the important roles that medical students play on health care teams and will be considering the adoption of innovative approaches that safely and appropriately engage students’ extraordinary dedication, passion, and skills for the benefit of the patients, other health care workers and public health as we move forward. We welcome innovative ideas and ask that you funnel those ideas through your student leadership team in how we can pull together to serve the public good during this national emergency.

Are students allowed to volunteer in the clinical setting?
At this time this is not allowed, we will continue to monitor and readdress any changes on a daily basis.

Are students allowed to volunteer outside the clinical setting in the community?
At this time, UTMB is not officially sanctioning volunteer opportunities for students and urge that you follow public health authority’s guidance on social distancing. We are working hard with UTMB and community leadership for creative and safe solutions for medical students to contribute to this public health effort. Please stay patient and we will be issuing updates as they become available.


Lockdown

Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.
But,
They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.
They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighbourhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on.
Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples
are preparing to welcome
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality
To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
To Love.
So we pray and we remember that
Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be a disease of the soul
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.
Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Today, breathe.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.
Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,
Sing.

--Hsiao-Wen


COVID-19 Clinical Experiences FAQs

March 16, 2020 9:11 PM

Attached and below, for your convenience, are some FAQs regarding students on clinical experiences. As we continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation, we will update our FAQs accordingly.

FAQs for Students on Clinical Experiences: Effective March 16, 2020

  1. Will School of Medicine learners (medical students and physician assistant studies students) be involved in the care of COVID-19 patients?
    Students will not be involved in direct patient care for those who test positive for COVID-19 or deemed at risk of having COVID-19.
  2. Are there any other limitations on School of Medicine learners (medical students and physician assistant studies students) in caring for patients on clinical assignments?
    Students should not provide direct patient care to any patient presenting with an undiagnosed condition that could be COVID-19. This includes patients that are presenting with acute, unexplained fever, cough, dyspnea and/or upper respiratory infection symptoms. Students can care for patients who initially presented with a possible diagnosis of COVID-19, but only if the patient has an alternative, firmly established diagnosis that rules-out COVID-19.
    For any clinical activities that require donning PPE (personal protection equipment), clinical duties of learners may be restricted when the attending physician and/or local administration determines PPE consumption must be minimized. It should be noted that each clinical site, not the School of Medicine, will determine when this is appropriate.
    Otherwise, at this time, medical students will continue in their routine clinical activities as designated by their attending physician in coordination with the clerkship or clinical experience directors.
  3. How will Core Clerkships, Electives, Selectives, Boot-camps and other clinical rotations be affected?
    As of 03.16.2020 all students on clinical rotations (MS3/4 and PAS) are to continue full participation as guided by their attending and the clerkship or clinical experience director. The exception, as stated above, is that learners will not directly participate in care of COVID-19 positive patients, or those patients who present with signs and symptoms that may be consistent with COVID-19, see #2 above.

    The School of Medicine leadership in coordination with UTMB administration will re-assess the clinical education continuity plan daily.

    All non-clinical content (didactics) will be delivered electronically; this does not preclude students participating in rounding on patients with care-teams. This may be asynchronous delivery or could be online group meetings. In rare circumstances, a small group session may be warranted but this will come with approval of the clerkship director and the Assistant Dean, Educational Affairs. Online content will be delivered in coordination with a UTMB approved platforms.

    At this time NBME Shelf Exams may be deferred; a final decision has not been made and students should continue to study and prepare. Some clerkships may, with the approval of the Curriculum Committee, use alternative forms of summative assessment that have been under review this year. As the NBME continues to provide clarification and guidance around delivery of secured exams, given the restrictions on large groups of people gathering in a single area, we will revisit this decision. https://www.nbme.org/news/coronavirus-covid-19-assessment-information-and-updates

    Our priority continues to be the health and safety of all our students, faculty, staff, and patients. We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and we may need to make additional changes to our curriculum. If that is the case, the School of Medicine will work with the Curriculum Committee to assess the expectations for all learners and what alternatives may need to be considered. We must maintain the integrity of the curriculum to ensure we have appropriate alternatives that still meet graduation requirements if changes are enacted to the curriculum. The Liaison Committee for Medical Education (LCME) and the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) is in continual contact with all medical schools in the country to explore adaptations to the current environment.

    We will take this opportunity to provide enhanced training to learners in infection control and the use of personal protective equipment. It is important to always act judiciously in taking necessary precautions when caring for patients with communicable diseases as you will be doing so for the remainder of your careers.

    Even with a rise of COVID-19 patients, there will remain a large population of patients needing care for other conditions and students can continue to play an important role in these patients’ care, helping at a time of great need in the medical community. As you all are training to become the next generation of care providers, we have faith in your service and contribution to improving patient care.

    In addition to assuring a safe learning environment, we will facilitate your education and complete of your degree requirements. Course and Clerkship directors will work with you to satisfy course objectives. At this time, we anticipate students will graduate on time, meeting all the curricular requirements, and entering the workforce with a newfound dedication to healthcare.
  4. What happens if my site determines student learners may no longer be present?
    Dr. Philpot (physician assistant studies students) and Dr. Farr (medical students) are working with the clerkship and clinical site directors to determine additional placement sites or alternative experiences.
    Physician assistant studies students will have their cases evaluated on a case-by-case basis. PAS students who have completed all learning outcomes and documented sufficient patient care experiences may be given credit for the rotation.
  5. What happens if I have a future rotation where there is a COVID-19 outbreak or where students are being turned away?
    For any sites no longer accepting students, we are actively searching for alternate sites or instructional opportunities. We continue to monitor all sites and will make appropriate adjustments if students face undue risks associated with sending the students to that location. We are reviewing and updating our information on site placements daily to try and keep ahead of future placements and anticipate changes.
  6. What happens if I am exposed to a COVID-19 patient and must go into a 14-day (or longer) quarantine? Or, I am COVID-19 positive and must go into isolation or seek medical care?
    While we do not anticipate any students going into quarantine, we are prepared to work with each student on an individual basis, just as we do now. This time would most likely be categorized as a medical leave of absence. We will work with students on an individual basis considering all factors including: the clinical assignment(s) that you will miss, possible alternative curricular experiences, your overall curricular status, graduation timing etc. All students are required to carry health insurance and it will be used as appropriate for any medical treatment necessary.
  7. What circumstances would be an exception to continuing in the clinical curriculum?
    If you have specific health concerns that could preclude you from fully participating in your clinical activities at this time you should reach out immediately to Dr. Farr (medical students), Dr. Philpot (physician assistant studies students), or Dr. Levine (all School of Medicine students). Based on current understanding of COVID-19, most students fall in a lower-risk group given their age and underlying health status. COVID-19 risk factors have been identified at this time to include advanced age, chronic medical conditions including Diabetes, Heart Disease, Lung Disease and immunocompromising conditions. If you, personally, have a high-risk condition or live with a family member with a high-risk condition you should talk with your or your family member’s health care provider immediately regarding their advice for care in the current COVID-19 situation.

    All MD students should then speak with Dr. Levine who will direct you appropriately for either a medical leave or, in conjunction with Dr. Farr, alternative clinical activities/experiences.

    All PAS students should initially contact Dr. Philpot and then you will work with Dr. Levine.

    If you have other non-health related concerns around remaining in the curriculum at this time you should contact Dr. Farr (MD students) or Dr. Philpot (PA students). If you make a decision to step out of the curriculum you will be will directed to Dr. Levine to discuss the options which include requesting a personal leave. By choosing to leave the curriculum voluntarily (you do not have a compelling medical reason) the School of Medicine will determine your re-entry date which will be no sooner than the next academic year but could be as late as the next calendar year. It will depend largely on the status of COVID-19 nationwide.
  8. What if I have been assigned housing by the School of Medicine and I am assigned to share a living space with other students? I thought we were supposed to be social distancing.
    If you are located at a remote clinical experiences site and you were assigned that site and the housing by UTMB SoM OCE, we will work immediately to find single person housing accommodations for you. You may contact the Office of Clinical Education if you have questions.

     


Infection Control Education

March 16, 2020

During this time of concern about the spread of COVID-19, it is a great opportunity to refresh our learning of infection control techniques. As such, we ask you to review these resources in detail for moving forward. Please remember, students should not provide direct patient care to any patient at risk for COVID-19 infection or with confirmed COVID-19 infection. Please refer to messages outlining medical student participation guidelines in the clinical setting.

Proper hand washing is a key tenet of infection control.
Quick Video Review of Basic Technique:
https://youtu.be/Oke9rjp8eFY  
*remember at least 20 seconds, sing Happy Birthday song twice to estimate a full 20 seconds.
 NEJM - detailed video review for Health Care Professionals:
https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMvcm0903599  
Jimmy Kimmel and Guillermo Learn How to Wash Their Hands:
https://youtu.be/sJfsyhQ0oBs  
UTMB PPE and Rooming Guidelines:
https://www.utmb.edu/covid-19/health-care-workers/ppe-and-rooming-guidelines  
***Keep in mind that at this time, UTMB is recommending using N95 respirator masks only when a procedural settings, see full description at this link. 
University of Nebraska Medical Center PPE Training Video:
https://youtu.be/oxAHqfXeevQ  
University of Nebraska Medical Center COVID-19 Resources for Providers:
https://www.nebraskamed.com/for-providers/covid19


NBME - Assessment Delivery Updates

March 15, 2020

We have been fielding questions about NBME Exams. Please know they are attempting to address the questions that come to them from every medical school in the country. Here is their latest update with a link.
Thank you for understanding and helping us manage this very fluid and unprecedented interruption in medical education across the country. I will do my best to keep working with our service providers to coordinate operating plans. We are also investigating all possible options for assessment delivery and are certainly viewing this with urgency.

More information will follow as updates are available. Please check our webpage routinely for additional resources as well: https://www.nbme.org/news/coronavirus-covid-19-assessment-information-and-updates.

Agata Butler, PhD

Vice President, Academic and Professional Programs
National Board of Medical Examiners


SOM Students in Clinical Settings

March 14, 2020

As we continue to monitor the COVID-19 developments please know the Office of the Provost is working closely with all of the School of Medicine leadership to assess risks and plan accordingly. Your health and safety, along with that of our faculty, staff, patients and community, is of the highest importance.
 
I appreciate the open lines of communication with the student leadership as well as the individual students who have reached out with questions and concerns. I would like to take just a moment to address some questions regarding students who are actively participating in clinical care, predominantly in MS 3/4 years and PAS year 2.
 
Students are expected to continue in their clinical activities as assigned. If you have concerns regarding your exposure to COVID 19 in the clinical setting, the first person you should speak with is your clinical attending. If you have additional questions or need additional information, you may reach directly out to Dr. Farr (medical students) at nmfarr@utmb.edu or Dr. Philpott (physician assistant students) at rophilpo@utmb.edu after speaking with your attending.
 
As of Saturday, 03.14.2020, students are to remain at their assigned clinical placements. Exceptions to this are:

  • the site/affiliate has asked us to remove students,
  • the site/affiliate has requested restricted access to high risk populations for students and does not have acceptable alternate clinical experiences for the students, and
  • students who are at high risk due to pre-existing medical conditions.

If a student does come into contact with a patient who has been tested positive, they are to follow the UTMB guidelines. https://www.utmb.edu/covid-19/health-care-workers/faqs

There is a possibility I have been exposed to COVID-19. Should I report for my shift as scheduled?

If there is a possibility that you have been exposed to the virus, please do not report to work and follow these instructions:

  • Avoid interactions with others.
  • Make your attending aware of your situation. Call them, DO NOT GO TO THE CLINIC.
  • Contact your health care provider or one of the six designated UTMB clinics for instructions on how to safely seek care. CALL BEFORE YOU GO IN.
  • Contact Student Health to inform them of your potential exposure.
  • Do not return to your clinical assignment location until authorized to do so by Student Health.

Your health insurance will be billed for any clinical care that is required as related to exposure and treatment of a positive COVID-19 test.
 
Please continue to monitor the official UTMB COVID-19 website: https://www.utmb.edu/covid-19/students-parents

We appreciate the calm and measured response the student body has had during this time of a public health crisis. Watching your actions and hearing from many of you this week, we are positive we are creating the next generation of doctors and physician assistants who will have the knowledge, skills, and professionalism to take on the healthcare of the world.


Continued Communication Amid Change

March 13, 2020

Many of you are waiting for additional news and updates as both the awareness and spread of COVID-19 becomes more apparent. We have attempted to answer as many of your e-mails as we can and will continue to follow up with each of you. Official communications will continue to come from the Dean and the President so you should continue to monitor your e-mail as well as the official UTMB website https://www.utmb.edu/covid-19 for updates and announcements.

We are impressed by your professionalism, commitment to health care, timely and pertinent communication and awareness that public health is the responsibility of everyone. Please continue to reach out to the School of Medicine leadership with questions and concerns as we work together to determine the best ways to support and continue your education while following the recommendations and decisions made by our senior leadership to minimize risks for everyone, maintain continuity of care for our patients, and work to mitigate the virus spread.

Many thanks to each of you for working with us during this unprecedented time in recent history. The faculty and staff are working hard to be adaptive, supportive, and present for each one of you. Please keep communicating and reaching out with your questions. We will do our best to answer your questions.

Match Ceremony Cancelled

March 13, 2020

We have been encouraged to enact social distancing measures to slow the progression of COVID19. By doing so, we hope to be able to protect our UTMB resources so that we may optimally serve individuals when they become ill.
 We are currently looking at every opportunity in which we can convert large gatherings of individuals to online. Regretfully, it looks like we’ll need to cancel our face to face match ceremony. We will still be simultaneously sharing the results of match at 11:00AM on March 20th. We will do so by emailing to each of you your match information. We will raffle the “runners up pot” in which administrators chip in prize money and will share the name of the lucky winner via email.
 We hope that you will plan more intimate celebrations with your friends and family. Please record your experience and upload it to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. so that you can share your excitement with your classmates. You can use the hashtag #UTMBMatch2020.
We will sorely miss celebrating with you in person but look forward to seeing your smiling faces online.
Please continue to monitor the UTMB COVID-19 website. https://www.utmb.edu/covid-19/home


DHM Midterm Exam

March 13, 2020

At this time we are continuing with the implementation of the NBME CAS midterm examination for DHM, scheduled for March 16th. We ask for your patience and assistance as we administer these examinations according to current and established UTMB SOM examination policies, with the following changes:
The examination will be administered at the CTC in TWO designated groups. Please access and note your session time through the DHM Blackboard site. Switching examination times will be not permitted.

  • Doors will close for the first group to begin testing at 9:00 AM, including ADA students. Students with the Last Name beginning with A thru L will be in Rooms 1.212/1.214. Students with the Last Name beginning with M thru Z will be in Rooms 1.400/1.404.
  • Doors will close for the second group to begin testing at 2:00 PM. Students with the Last Name beginning with A thru L will be in Rooms 1.212/1.214. Students with the Last Name beginning with M thru Z will be in Rooms 1.400/1.404.
  • Students will not be in their assigned seating and will be seated at stations at least 6 feet from each other, where there will be one NBME note board and pen.
  • CTC lockers, furniture, screens, keyboards, mouse mice, note boards and pens have been sanitized for single use and will be re-sanitized between examinations.
  • Please Note: Access to the hospital and hence the CTC will be reduced effective 5 p.m. today (Friday, March 13, 2020) so that UTMB can screen patients, visitors and contractors for signs of illness. Screening will take place 24/7. Signs will be posted at affected entrances. Please plan additional time to arrive on time to the CTC so that you may be ready to take your examination on time.

We are all working to make the best decisions possible for the students, faculty, staff, patients, and in the best interest of public health. In the days to come Dr. Woods will also be releasing short updates or points of information and we ask you to please send questions or concerns to her so that she can, as appropriate, address them in those blasts.

Please continue to monitor the UTMB COVID-19 website:  https://www.utmb.edu/covid-19/home

Thank you and continued success at UTMB.


School of Medicine - COVID 19 Updates

March 13, 2020

School of Medicine SPECIFIC INFORMATION:

  • MS1 Students: 03.16-03.20 (Monday-Friday) All classes and academic activities cancelled. Further information to follow.
  • MS2 Students: Monday 03.16 instructions will be sent regarding attendance for the DHM midterm. 03.17-03.20 (Tuesday – Friday) ALL MS2 classes and academic activities cancelled. Further information to follow.
  • MS3/4 Students: Continue in clinical rotations. Further information to follow.
  • Students should take ALL personal items when leaving campus today if possible.

Further Details Regarding Travel Restrictions

March 11, 2020

Attachment: COVID-19 Preparedness: Travel Restrictions, Requirements & Considerations.pdf
Several folks have asked for more details regarding travel, and how “domestic travel” should be defined. If you are making a daytrip to a city close to us, generally that does not need to be documented. Overnight trips do need to be documented. This travel sheet should help to clarify additional requirements. Please let me know if you have any questions.
Ruth Levine MD


COVID-19 Website

March 10, 2020

UTMB is working with federal, state, UT System and local collaborators as we monitor the COVID-19 developments. Accordingly, UTMB Health has developed a COVID-19 website as a resource dedicated to sharing information about the new coronavirus (COVID-19). The site contains guidance for specific members of the communities served and employed by UTMB, including our healthcare workforce, patients, students and employees, https://www.utmb.edu/COVID-19. The website provides links to key national sources for the latest information and statistics on this emerging disease threat, please explore this informative website. Direct any inquiries regarding the curriculum directly to Dr. Majka Woods PHD, Associate Dean, Educational Affairs and Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, Interim.


Academic Affairs - Health and Wellness

March 9, 2020

We want to thank all of you for your continued patience and attention to the health and wellness of our community as the COVID-19 virus continues to be monitored. We encourage everyone to look for institutional updates on the UTMB website, https://www.utmb.edu/covid-19/non-healthcare-workers. In addition, updates will be sent as needed from Academic Affairs administration.

A few updates you should all be apprised of:

We are actively working to have hand sanitation stations installed in strategic locations on the first three floors of Marvin Graves, the first floor of Mary Moody Northen, the first three floors of Old Red, and additional areas requested by the Physician Assistant Studies program where students and staff frequent.

“Please also remember to use common-sense wellness practices such as: frequent handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; using alcohol based hand sanitizer, with at least 60% alcohol content; avoiding crowds of people; covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing; and maintaining good health and dietary routines. And, please remember to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands, stay away from people who are sick and stay at home when you are sick.”

  • If you are sick please call into employee health, (409) 747-9172, or your local clinic. We should be following the same practices we always ask you to follow when you are ill. Definitely do not come to work if you have a fever or are not 24 hours fever free.

 At the moment we are running School of Medicine ‘as normal’ with modifications as needed per the institution’s updates. Classes are still in session, our own clinics remain open for our students, and of course the online delivery of content remains constant. We are anticipating modifications to Match week and Match Day (March 16-20) and will send further updates. Some of our affiliated sites are restricting access to our students in the clinical years. We are working closely with the students and clerkships to find alternative placements and/or experiences to fulfill the curriculum requirements.

We also ask that you make yourself prepared to work remotely should that be necessary. You should be able to VPN to UTMB to remote to your desktop to gain full access of your work information. Please test this process so you are prepared. Information regarding how to remote in can be found here: https://myvpn.utmb.edu/dana-na/auth/url_default/welcome.cgi and if you have further questions, please contact (409) 772-5200 (they will even help you from home if you are having trouble remoting in).

Again, many thanks to all of you for remaining calm, organized, and forward thinking as we deal with the changing situation day to day. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have questions and I will continue to send out announcements.


Information Regarding COVID-19

March 6, 2020

UTMB is working with federal, state, UT System and local collaborators as we monitor the COVID-19 developments.  Accordingly, UTMB Health has developed a COVID-19 website as a resource dedicated to sharing information about the new coronavirus (COVID-19). The site contains guidance for specific members of the communities served and employed by UTMB, including our healthcare workforce, patients, students and employees - https://www.utmb.edu/COVID-19. The website provides links to key national sources for the latest information and statistics on this emerging disease threat. Please explore this website to inform yourself. Direct any inquiries regarding the curriculum directly to Dr. Majka Woods PHD, Associate Dean, Educational Affairs and Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, Interim.

March 19, 2020

Class of 2020

  • FACULTY HOUR - Monday March 23rd at 10 am we will have a Zoom room open for the Class of 2020. This will be an information session to answer questions and update everyone on our plans to finish the clinical year.
  • We are making arrangements to let you begin completing some of the online assignments for PHAS 6414 Professional Practice Issues early. We are also trying to create as much time as possible for people to make up clinical rotations prior to graduation.
  • You will soon be getting a subscription to PA Excel online PANCE review.  This will be used in PHAS 6414. But you may also use it to study for the PACKRAT and PANCE exams. 
  • Plans for a virtual call back are still ongoing. We are still working out some technical issues with PAEA regarding offsite administration of the EOR exams.
  • We are also still planning to give the PACKRAT in May.  But there is a possibility it may also be done off-campus.
  • At this point we don’t know about the next rotations, or Supervised Clinical Practice Experiences (SCPEs). We hope we can resume rotations as scheduled.  If we’re not able to resume regular SCPEs we’re working on the possibility of increasing participation in non-clinical electives and telemedicine experiences, etc….more to follow.

Class of 2021

  • Get ready to start working online. The campus is, for the most part, closed to students. But we are waiting for you in cyberspace.
  • No one is coming back to campus. At the present time the only space open on campus is the study space in the basement of Old Red.
  • FACULTY HOUR- Monday March 23rd at 9 am we will have a Zoom room open for everyone to log in. This will be an information session to answer questions and help everyone adjust to our new normal. Bring your own food and drinks.
  • Please be sure your computer web camera and microphone are working.
  • Check your Wi-Fi connection.
  • Please continue to follow the posted COVID-19 Guidelines at https://www.utmb.edu/covid-19/students-parents

The Galveston County Health District needs student volunteers to help contact nursing homes and other assisted living centers about COVID-19 preparedness.  Calls may start as early as tomorrow.  Volunteers will receive training on how to do this. This may also be done from a distance, no need to be at the Health District.

Other volunteer opportunities are in the works, but this is an urgent need.

If you are able to help, please complete this form. Please use your UTMB email address. We will reach out to volunteers by this evening with more directions.


March 18, 2020

Class of 2020

  • As you are aware, we have made the decision to pause all clinical rotations until after April 3rd.  All evaluations and learning outcomes should be submitted as if you completed the rotation. 
  • We will evaluate each rotation on a case-by-case basis to determine if the experience was sufficient to provide credit for the rotation or if it will need to be rescheduled.
  • Please plan on completing the EOR activities on-line.  We will provide details soon.

Class of 2021

  • Classes will resume online March 23rd. Please enjoy the rest of your Spring Break.
  • At this point we plan to offer two options for testing. One option will be to come to the test center and take the exam sitting at least six feet apart. The other option, for a $10 fee, will be to take the exam at home on a secure browser.  We will offer a practice quiz to make sure everyone is comfortable with the browser…more to follow.
  • Because we had a two-week long Spring Break, some of the  exams and assignment due dates may be delayed. It is, however, our plan to end the semester on time.
  • All of the uncertainty surrounding this pandemic can be very stressful. Please take a little time to relax, meditate and practice mindfulness.

March 17, 2020

Class of 2020

Effective immediately, the UTMB Physician Assistant Program is suspending all physician assistant student clinical rotations through April 3, 2020.  Plans are currently being developed to conduct call back activities online.  We will keep you informed as we finalize these plans.  Until further notice, you should plan on attending your next rotation as scheduled.

We encourage you all to stay safe and take advantage of the extra study time.


March 16, 2020

These are interesting times.  We would like to update you on our plans to manage the educational enterprise of the university and, more specifically, the PA program.   Daily meetings  (sometimes several in a day) are being held to deal with the multiple issues facing us.  In the days to come we will continue to make decisions, change decisions and continually struggle with the impact of what we do and say.  Thank you.

We remain committed to looking out for your health and wellbeing in light of the pandemic disrupting medical education nationwide. Your leadership and faculty team are working hard to adjust to the ever-changing situation. Please be patient as we develop new processes to respond to the challenges presented to us.

At one time or another we all took an oath and have committed to a life of service to mankind.  We  are very proud of you. Even as learners, you are on the front lines. Your knowledge, skills and compassion have equipped you to “stand in the gap” to help your patients deal with this virus.  You are making a difference.  We encourage you to learn as much as you can about the virus and about infection control procedures.

We encourage you to read the attached article. We think you will appreciate the author’s perspective.

https://www.statnews.com/2020/03/14/medical-students-can-help-combat-covid-19/

Here are some specific updates for each of the cohorts.

Class of 2020
The School of Medicine will be publishing guidance for clinical students soon. Most of the points will apply to medical students. Here are a few things specific to PA Students in the clinical year.

  • At this point we would like to maintain as many clinical rotations as possible.
  • You should not be in contact with patients who are suspected to have COVID-19 or have other respiratory symptoms or complaints.
  • You may be asked to exclude yourself from situations where PPE  are required.
  • If your rotation is cancelled we will determine if a replacement is needed. For example, if you’ve completed most of your rotation and have documented all of the Learning Outcomes for that rotation the program might be able to give you credit for that rotation. On the other hand, if your rotation is cancelled during the first two or three weeks and/or you haven’t had the opportunity to complete all of the learning outcomes, we may need to find a new rotation for you.
  • If you have a medical or personal reason to opt out of a rotation, you may request a leave of absence as outlined in the handbook. To do this, you should contact the Program Director first.  Students who take a medical or personal leaves of absence will be required to make up missed rotations before they can graduate.
  • Rescheduled rotations.  We will make every effort to reschedule rotations during the month of July in order to prevent delayed graduations. Priority will go to students who had rotations cancelled by the institution/preceptor.  
  • We are planning to do the next call back session online.  We will send instructions as this develops.
  • Check the UTMB Coronavirus page frequently. Pay special attention to their travel instructions. Do not forget to send copies of your travel forms and return to work authorizations to Shirley.
  • Please don’t forget to send copies of your travel forms and return to work authorization forms to Shirley (smcgraw@utmb.edu). 

Class of 2021
Today, Dr. Beach will be recording some lectures on Panopto. These will be the first of several faculty lectures posted online.  Even though this week is an extension of Spring Break and there are no classes. You may want to view some of the posted materials to give you a “head start” on next week.  We are still working on some technical issues. But here are a few things to expect.

  • Our plans for the “Quarantine Rehearsal” are still in place.  Pick a “Q-Buddy” and a day to self-quarantine for 24 hours.
  • The schedule for the rest of the semester may change a bit to accommodate online delivery. We’ll keep you updated on changes.
  • Lectures will be recorded on Panopto.  We will publish a synchronous schedule for those who wish to attend live. Lectures.
  • Chat rooms will be made available following the synchronous lectures to answer questions or clarify concepts.
  • Those who are unable to attend the live, synchronous lectures will be able to watch the recordings at their own convenience.
  • One of your concerns is probably about the Clinical Medicine exam originally scheduled for March 17th.   We have tentatively planned to give the exam online March 24th.  Once we iron out some details with the software vendor, we will put together a practice quiz to be administered on Monday, the 23rd.
  • Check the UTMB Coronavirus page frequently. Pay special attention to their travel instructions.  
  • Please don’t forget to send copies of your travel forms and return to work authorization forms to Shirley (smcgraw@utmb.edu). 

Once again, we want to thank each of you for your patience as we respond to this pandemic.  We admire your dedication and willingness to serve our patient population. They are counting on you.


March 13, 2020

Class of 2020 
Please continue your rotations as planned.  We will let you know about the call back plans as things develop.

Class of 2021
The decision has been made to extend Spring Break for another week for the Class of 2021.  This means that you can enjoy another week of Spring Break. Your faculty team will be busy planning for our Quarantine Dress Rehearsal (now scheduled for March 23 - 28).  We will send more details next week.  If the decision is made to close the campus and go online beyond our rehearsal week, we will let you know.  But until further notice, you should plan to return to campus on Monday, March 30. 

Please feel free to contact Dr. Philpot or your faculty coach if you have any questions or concerns. 


March 13, 2020
When decisions are made, things change rapidly. It is best to be prepared. Here are some tips:

  • Have a plan. Be sure that you have resources to work from home (wherever that may be).
  • Be sure your computer and webcam are ready. You should be ready to meet by video conference, watch Panopto lectures, and complete assignments in Blackboard. 
  • Be sure your Wi-Fi connection is reliable and ready. 
  • Stay informed- Check the UTMB website frequently. https://www.utmb.edu/covid-19/students-parents
  • Support each other and communicate. If you have any questions or difficulties please rely on your Faculty Coaches.  I will also keep everyone as up-to-date as possible as time passes. 
  • Pick a “Q-Buddy”; in the unlikely event that you should need to self-quarantine, you will need someone to bring you food and supplies. Work within your Faculty Coached Teams to organize this. 
  • If you are returning from any kind of travel – sponsored or personal, domestic or international – you MUST contact Student Health at stdwappt@utmb.edu to be screened before returning to a UTMB Health campus or clinic location.  There also is a form to complete on the UTMB website. This form is required if you are returning from international or domestic travel.
  • If you have traveled, remember to complete the Student Health travel form on the UTMB website. This form is required if you are returning from international or domestic travel.
  • Finally, don’t panic. Wash your hands often. Practice “social distancing”. Keep your hands away from your face, etc. The mortality rate for people under 70 is extremely low. We just want to make sure the virus doesn’t spread to the older and more vulnerable populations. 

Information about COVID-19 for UTMB's Students & Parents
March 5, 2020. UTMB is working with federal, state, UT System and local collaborators as we monitor the COVID-19 developments. We are now aware of new cases of COVID-19 in our region, which makes our need for more local action and prevention policies imperative.
www.utmb.edu

March 20, 2020

COVID-19 Daily Update

There have been a lot of rumors and questions around the seemingly conflicting information that has come out about the Clinical Labor Pool Employee Availability Form and the Non-Clinical Labor Pool Employee Availability Form (highlighted below). In short – please complete the form most relevant to you (clinical or non-clinical). Everybody should complete a form. Please do it to the very best of your ability. Do not over think it; do not worry. Just do the best you can. Nobody will be impacted without his/her manager being involved in the decision making.

Please complete the form by Wednesday, March 25, 2020.

Thanks for ALL every single one of you do!!!


From:UTMB Broadcast Account <UTMBbroad@UTMB.EDU>
Sent:Friday, March 20, 2020 2:27 PM
Subject:COVID-19 Daily Update, March 20, 2020

This message is a general update and reminders regarding our COVID-19 response. Specific groups (such as students, providers, managers, etc.) may receive additional, more detailed guidance from their leadership, as needed.

Checkhttps://www.utmb.edu/covid-19regularly for information.


As of Noon, March 20, 2020:

IMPORTANT FOR TODAY
  • To keep patients and staff healthy, UTMB has instituted a NO VISITORS policy at its hospitals. This policy applies to patient rooms, the Emergency Departments and waiting areas. There will be exceptions to the policy for:
    • Partner or spouse in Labor & Delivery
    • One parent or caregiver in Pediatrics
    • Patients receiving end-of-life care
    • Visitor permission may be given by the Patient Care Team on a case-by-case basis.
  • Until further notice, patients should call the Access Center at (800) 917-8906 so the nurse hotline can determine the best location for needed care—regardless of symptoms. We will conduct televisits whenever medically appropriate. For the safety of patients and employees, patients should not show up at a clinic location without first calling the Access Center.
  • All UTMB employees (faculty and staff, including PBLs) are required to complete either the Clinical Labor Pool Employee Availability Form for those with clinical duties/skills or the Non-Clinical Labor Pool Employee Availability Form for those with non-clinical duties/skills. These forms allow us to capture an employee’s education, experience and skills and will assist with redeploying talent to priority areas should the need arise in the future. These forms have been modified as of this morning, so we ask every employee to complete the appropriate form by Wednesday, March 25, even if you had completed the form previously.
  • Continue to practice social distancing at work and at home.
GENERAL STATUS
  • UTMB activated its Emergency Operations Plan on March 18, consistent with declarations at the local and state level. See the March 18, update for details.
  • Telecommuting, modified schedules and teleconferencing should be implemented, wherever possible, to achieve social distancing to limit spread of COVID-19. Avoid groups of more than 10 people and maintain 6 feet of distance between individuals.
REMINDERS FROM PREVIOUS UPDATES

Closed Until Further Notice

  • Campus Store—Call (409) 772-1939 to place orders for pick-up. Visit https://www.utmbstore.com to place an online order
  • League City and Galveston Parking Offices—Call (409) 266-7275 or write parking@utmb.edu for assistance.
  • Alumni Field House
  • Health Education Center closed to general student population (including food court)
  • Moody Medical Library closed to general student population (including Starbucks)
  • UTMB Dormitory Office Closed: Please contact the Ferry Road Apartments Office for assistance at (409) 750-9792 or email UTMB.Studenthousing@utmb.edu.

For All Faculty and Staff

  • See details on screening of employees at hospital entrances. Please use only the designated entrances and do not allow anyone without a UTMB badge to come through a badge-access-only entrance with you.
  • As the situation develops in our region, continue to display the same level of professionalism our communities have come to expect from UTMB.
  • Get information only from reliable sources, and do not contribute to the rumor mill that always accompanies an emergency.

For Patient Care Providers (Faculty and Staff)

  • The Health System page on the COVID-19 web site has been updated with the latest guidelines on PPE, along with other information for health care teams. Please check the page regularly for the updated information.
    • PPE should not be worn by a faculty or staff member unless they are in a patient care area that requires PPE.
    • Any faculty or staff member who has symptoms of respiratory illness should stay home.

For Researchers

For Students

For Patients

  • All patients should call the UTMB Access Center at (800) 917-8906 to determine the best way to receive care—televisit (preferred when medically appropriate) or in-person appointment at the most appropriate location.
  • Current visitation guidelines are available online.

Resources

  • Guidelines for Managers (travel, telecommuting, etc.)
  • Employee Health or UTMB Health employee return-to-work screenings after travel or self-isolation: emphlthc@utmb.eduor (409) 747-9172 (taking calls evenings and weekends to expedite screenings; same-day screening is guaranteed if request is received by noon)
  • Student Health for health questions and return-to-school screenings after travel or self-isolation: stdwappt@utmb.edu or (409) 747-9508
  • For employees and their dependents who are experiencing stress or anxiety due to COVID-19, the University of Texas Employee Assistance Program confidential counseling and other services (24/7): (844) 872-5986 or https://www.uth.edu/uteap/contact.htm. (Please note that the EAP cannot answer medical questions related to symptoms or COVID-19.)
  • UTMB Access Center for clinical appointments and 24/7 Nurse Hotline: (800) 917-8906.
  • https://www.utmb.edu/covid-19

Protecting Everyone’s Health

Reminders for minimizing your risk of catching or spreading COVID-19:

  • Avoid groups of 10 or more people and avoid people who are ill with respiratory symptoms.
  • Thoroughly wash your hands frequently, for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Any kind of soap will work.
  • Use hand sanitizer with minimum 60% alcohol content if soap and water are not available.
  • Cough/sneeze into a tissue and dispose of it right away. If you do not have a tissue, cough/sneeze into your elbow.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth—especially with unwashed hands.
  • Use disinfectant wipes or cleaner on frequently touched or shared surfaces.
  • Do not share dishes, cups/glasses, utensils or towels.
  • STAY HOME IF YOU ARE SICK.

Guiding Principles

  • Protecting patients, students, employees, volunteers and the community
  • Preventing exposures through social distancing and limiting non-clinical activity on our campuses
  • Preserving access to the outstanding care in our hospitals and clinics
  • Sustaining our financial stability for the long-term success of our mission.

Thank you for your help in planning, preparing and responding to the COVID-19 public health threat.

Sent by the Office of Marketing and Communications, on behalf of President ad interim Dr. Ben G. Raimer and the UTMB Health Incident Command leadership.


Telecommuting

March 17, 2020

Currently UTMB has not mandated folks work remotely. However, we have reached out to everybody and only a few of you have indicated they are unable to work remotely. We are working with those folks on a case-by-case basis. In the meantime, if you are working remotely, please put an out of office message on your work email. Below is an example of how your message should read.

I am currently working remotely and will respond to your email as soon as possible. If you need to reach me immediately, please call XXX-XXX-XXXX.

 If you do not want to use your personal cell phone number, you can create a Google Voice number https://voice.google.com/u/0/about. You create it and folks will call it and then it will be transferred to your cell phone.

If you are telecommuting, your supervisor should have pre-approved it. If you have not already, please submit a completed version (with signatures) of the attached telecommuting document. Please send all signed telecommuting agreements to:

  • Zelma Bocanegra: AA, OEA, OED, OCE, IMO
  • Shirley McGraw: PAS
  • Shirley Pullen: OSAA, CME

If you have questions, thoughts, ideas, etc., please contact Lori DeWillis.


Notice to Academic Affairs
IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED

March 12, 2020

Thank you for your ongoing efforts to keep the School of Medicine medical school and physician assistant studies programs up and running even while we deal with the daily announcements regarding updates to our actions to stay ahead of the COVID-19 virus in our academic communities.

In an effort to be proactive we are asking that ALL employees in SOM Academic Affairs prepare for the possibility that we may be required to work from home in the coming days. In order to do this, we are requesting that you do the following:

  • Confirm that you have the ability to work from home (for PAS program, please contact Shirley McGraw, for all other programs, please contact Lori DeWillis)
    • Make sure your VPN is working
    • Ensure you have internet access from home
    • Be sure you are connected via Skype
  • Kronos: For hourly employees, be sure you understand how to clock in and out via an off-campus phone (i.e. mobile device)
  • Make sure you have access to all the software at home that you do while at work so you can get your job done
    • Blackboard
    • Panopto
    • Microsoft Office
    • Etc.
  • Please update your emergency contact information here: https://www.utmb.edu/meded/emergencyContact/

Each area is working on their Business Continuity Plan at this time. There will be a process for daily check-ins and team meetings and your Supervisor will be sending this out no later than Monday 03.16.2020.

We are currently planning for the possibility that we may need to deliver our entire curriculum and ALL of our student services virtually for a period of time. This will take all of us working together to provide as seamless a process as possible.

Please continue to monitor your e-mails for updates from the President’s Office as well as the website, https://www.utmb.edu/covid-19/.

As always, we appreciate all of you and the dedication you show day in and day out to excellence in the workplace. Please do not hesitate to reach out to Dr. Majka Woods if you have any questions or concerns.

For All Faculty and Staff

  • Please be aware that employees may be asked to work a different shift, work in a different location or perform different job duties than they usually do. We appreciate everyone’s flexibility and willingness to support the needs of those we serve.
  • Avoid gatherings and meetings of more than 10 people. Make every effort to maintain 6 feet of distance between participants when in-person meetings are unavoidable. Meet by teleconference/Skype whenever possible—and think broadly about what “possible” means.
  • If an in-person meeting is essential to UTMB’s mission and it involves people outside of the university, you must use conference rooms only in the Administration Building or Rebecca Sealy Building and maintain distance between participants and regular occupants of the building who may be working on-site. Meeting organizers should inquire the health status of any guest. And, again, think broadly about how the meeting could be done by telephone or teleconferencing/Skype.
  • See the guidelines for managers for information on travel, telecommuting and other HR-related information regarding COVID-19.
  • Continue to explore and implement telecommuting wherever possible to reduce the number of people gathered at our campuses.
  • If you are ill, please do not come in person to the Employee Health clinic. Contact the UTMB Access Center at (800) 917-8906 and speak with the 24/7 nurse hotline for a recommendation or contact your doctor’s office if you are not a UTMB patient. (If you have a work-related injury or illness, follow the established reporting procedures by contacting Employee Injury/Wellness Management at (409) 772-1892. See https://hr.utmb.edu/eim/ for more information.)

2020 Pre-Medical Conference
Saturday, April 18, 2020 is cancelled. Please read announcement. Conference Announcement