University of Louisville
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Louisville, KY 40208
Addressing the needs and interests of our diverse communities locally, statewide, nationally and internationally.
Although the flowers are still in bloom and the grass has turned that signature blue-ish green, things are no doubt different this year.
The traditional pageantry that kicks off springtime in the commonwealth – the Kentucky Derby – isn’t happening on the first Saturday in May for the first time since 1945.
A pandemic has put us all on pause.
However, while we’re relegated to our homes, left to wait for an unpredictable amount of time for things to get back to “normal,” our spirit still resonates. You see it when the green lights turn on. You hear it when the bells toll.
On Saturday, you’ll feel it when that old familiar song plays. Our song.
Since 1936, UofL’s Marching Cards have served as “The Official Band of the Kentucky Derby,” opening up the “Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports” with our rendition of “My Old Kentucky Home.” Each year, our students play this song to about 150,000 people at Churchill Downs and an additional 15 million television viewers across the world.
By the time the band is finished playing, there typically aren’t many dry eyes left. A Courier Journal columnist described this experience best last year: “I’ve interviewed Kentuckians who haven’t set foot in the state for 30 years who still stand in front of their televisions and weep when they hear the woodwinds and brass instruments strike the first few notes of ‘My Old Kentucky Home.’
The lyrics tell us that there’ll be hard times, by and by. But at the crescendo, it’s as if 150,000 voices nudge us to weep no more.”
Has there been a better time for such a nudge than now?
UofL’s drum major Natalie Humble didn’t want that feeling – that experience – to get lost this year.
So, she reached out to a few of her friends, both at UofL and at other colleges and universities across Kentucky, and asked if they would want to perform a virtual version of the state song and debut the finished piece on May 2, what would have been Derby Day.
“I came up with the idea one day while doing online schoolwork and reflecting on what the semester would have been like in a normal situation. ‘My Old Kentucky Home’ popped into my head and I immediately wanted to create something that brought some normality back into the spring. But I wanted it to be something that all of us – as Kentuckians – resonated with,” Humble said.
Everyone she reached out to was interested. In fact, Humble recruited about 100 total participants – about half of whom are UofL students. Another 20 or so are UofL School of Music alums, a handful are UofL faculty and the rest are from other institutions throughout the state. Thirteen total institutions, to be exact.
“We had a massive amount of interest from students at UofL, and it was really incredible to see the alums show so much interest. I am truly proud of how many other schools we got to participate,” she said.
Humble, a rising senior Music Education major from Monticello, Kentucky, has performed at the Derby twice. Her favorite memory was during her freshman year, when it down poured.
“It doesn’t sound like much fun, but it was so memorable that I can still feel the adrenaline now just the same as I did on that day,” she said.
Although performing “My Old Kentucky Home” to kick off the Derby is a signature UofL experience, Humble said it was important to get other schools involved this year because of the unusual circumstances created by COVID-19.
“As a college student and as a Kentuckian, I know how hard it is to adjust, and this experience is something that we all share. In times like this, it is especially important for all of us to realize that we aren’t alone and that we’re a team, so inviting everyone to be part of such a meaningful project was the most valuable part of the whole idea,” she said.
“The Derby performance always represents togetherness for me. It is such a short part of the timeline, but it is a time where all the people watching – no matter where they are in the world – are taking a moment to pause and come together. I think this year’s performance represents the same thing, just in a different way.”
The following schools will be represented in the performance: Campbellsville University, Eastern Kentucky University, Georgetown College, Ivy Tech Community College, Lindsey Wilson College, Morehead State University, Murray State University, Northern Kentucky University, Thomas More University, University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, University of the Cumberlands, Western Kentucky University.
The Commonwealth of Kentucky, in collaboration with the University of Louisville Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute and the Louisville Healthcare CEO Council, is launching a groundbreaking initiative with three large Kentucky hospital systems – Baptist Health, Norton Healthcare and UofL Health. The purpose is to help health care workers understand whether they were unknowingly exposed to COVID-19, to determine how much immunity was generated by such exposure, and to identify those with the best immune responses as donors of high-quality plasma for rescue treatment of patients with advanced COVID-19.
In addition, these data will be informative as scientists worldwide are working to determine whether quantitative antibody measurements can be used to predict immunity in the overall workforce. This program represents a unique alliance between government and otherwise competing private groups in order to address an unprecedented crisis.
Testing will begin with high-risk personnel in Kentucky, starting with the health care workforce. As the process is scaled up it will be made available to other essential workers. There will be three steps of testing:
The University of Louisville Center for Predictive Medicine for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases (CPM), has established a high-throughput, real-time assay for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies that will be utilized and CPM will use their renowned Bio Safety Level 3 facility to test for the neutralizing activity of the antibodies.
“The University of Louisville is committed to addressing all forms of health,” said Neeli Bendapudi, President of the University of Louisville. “We are uniquely positioned to play a key role in this effort because of our talented researchers at CPM and our UofL Regional Biocontainment Laboratory, which allows us to establish the very best donors of plasma for patients.”
This unprecedented collaboration of the public and private sector has already secured private donations of $1.75 million in the form of a challenge grant to build community-wide coalition of philanthropic support, which will allow the program to scale more quickly and save more lives. (Click here for more details on how you can help).
“America and Louisville need more and advanced COVID-19 testing now. I am excited about this ambitious project and its potential to provide useful data for the recovery of our community. Louisville’s team of cutting-edge scientists represents the best of who we are as Louisvillians – compassionate, smart and entrepreneurial,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.
“This is exactly the kind of collaboration that Kentucky is poised to enable,” said Dr. Cedric Francois, CEO of Apellis Pharmaceuticals and LHCC board member. “We have the infrastructure in our commonwealth to quickly bring this revolutionary technology together by leveraging the great work already being done with the health care stakeholders, such as Norton Healthcare’s convalescent plasma program, and the extensive work that had already been done to start their antibody serology testing to improve Kentucky’s response and recovery to the COVID-19 pandemic and be a model for the rest of the nation.”
“This model for testing is exciting and it is our hope that antibody measurements can be used to predict immunity,” said Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear. “If so, it will be a critical tool in the reopening of Kentucky’s economy.”
Praneeth Goli, a senior chemistry major with minors in philosophy and biology, has kept himself plenty busy during his time at UofL.
Goli is both a Henry Vogt Scholar and a KEES Scholar. He serves as the founder of both the Louisville Social Innovation Lab and the Droplet Water Project, and is also a member of the Indian Student Association. He has been involved in research in diabetes care and treatment at the University of Louisville and Harvard Medical Schools.
For the Droplet Water Project, Goli teamed up with UofL alum Jarui Desai (’18) to provide clean drinking water to those who need it most. As of now, they have completed water projects in both India and Colombia.
Last year, he was named a Barry Goldwater Scholar, a prominent award that goes to sophomores and juniors pursuing research careers in math, science and engineering. There have been just five Goldwater Scholars at UofL in the past decade.
In 2017, Goli earned the CCU Outstanding Freshmen Student Award. The next year, he earned the CCU Outstanding Sophomore Student Award. The year after that, the CCU Outstanding Junior Student Award.
Goli has certainly shown a pattern of achievement and a global pandemic hasn’t slowed that down.
Goli and Nico Ferreyra, another UofL student, recently assembled a committee of volunteers that have so far distributed nearly 800 meals to those who need them during the COVID-19 outbreak. The students are working with Blessings in a Backpack to facilitate the meal deliveries and are focused on making sure the food needs of the city’s elderly population are being met during this crisis.
According to Goli, the committee he and Ferreyra assembled is built in partnership “with inspiring local nonprofit leaders and include the key public organizations working on this issue.”
“We are excited to continue mobilizing our volunteers in a safe and coordinated manner,” Goli said.
For John Nevitt, director of economic mobility at Metro United Way, Goli’s efforts are not surprising considering his extensive resume.
“Praneeth Goli has been an extremely thoughtful and engaged Metro United Way volunteer, serving on our Community Impact Cabinet,” Nevitt said. “As you may know, he is extremely industrious, having launched two non-profit organizations since becoming a student at UofL, and soon to help with the creation of a social innovation lab at the university.”
Earlier this month, Goli was presented with a Cardinal Award. Formerly known as Mr. and Ms. Cardinal, the Cardinal Awards are presented by UofL’s Student Activities Board and is based on academic excellence, co-curricular activities and service to the university. It’s clear, however, that Goli’s service extends far beyond the university.
COVID-19 has caused a sea change in day-to-day life. Work, school, recreation, retail, medical care, everything has been altered.
Many have expressed a sense of frustration or helplessness because they feel there is nothing they can actively do to help – this virus is unprecedented. But for Speed School engineers at the University of Louisville, creating innovative solutions for the most complex problems – and taking action – is what they do best.
The Additive Manufacturing Institute of Science and Technology (AMIST) facility at Speed School of Engineering has risen to this challenge by contributing something vital to the pandemic: protective face shields for healthcare workers, an item currently in a critical shortage due to tightening of hospital supply chain lines. The original impetus for the project was a request for 100 of the shields from the Internal Medicine Department at UofL Health.
Created with state of the art 3-D printing technology, the team has been printing face shields at their core facility, increasing their production output to 55 shields per day by running continuous shifts from 8 a.m. to midnight daily.
Ed Tackett, director of Workforce Development at AMIST, is coordinating the COVID-19 Speed School Response Team.
“We asked ourselves, ‘what can we do right now?’ How do we protect our most vulnerable citizens and how can the University play a positive role in making that happen?” said Tackett. “We have medical professionals literally on the front lines, and if we can help them be safer or keep them from getting sick, we’re going to do whatever we need to do to make that happen,” said Tackett.
What he needed was a dedicated and talented production team. He got that team with graduate assistant Kate Schneidau and four other Speed School students who wanted to help however they could with this health crisis. Schneidau is the production manager who helps manage the scheduling of shifts totaling 16 hours a day, and ensures that builds are continuously running so they can output as many face shields as possible in a day.
Schneidau said she feels a sense of pride knowing that she is contributing skills she learned at Speed School in such a direct way to benefit the community.
“It’s more than just helping produce a product that can be sold commercially. It’s a sense of camaraderie with the community knowing in tough times I can still help. I was taught all my life if somebody needs help, you step up and help as much as you can without expecting anything, because it’s the right thing to do.”
The first batch of 100 face shields have been picked up, and while the face shield production is filling the gap until the medical supply chain catches up, the Additive Manufacturing center is nimble and can adapt quickly to new 3-D printing needs that may arise due to COVID-19.
“We’re producing face shields now but that could change at any moment,” said Schneidau. “We are here as a tool to help in whatever way the medical community may need. We could shift production to ventilators if that is what is needed next.”
The community is doing their part to help, too. After a post on social media about the project, citizens with 3-D printers have stepped up, wanting to be part of the solution. Schneidau has helped to coordinate drop-off locations for the components being printed by people with their home printers, and these parts are picked up and put in the production stream at Speed School.
Schneidau said this experience is one she won’t forget and, in fact, it has solidified her interest in a career in building medical devices.
“I want to make an impact to help people better their lives – to make sure they live their best life possible,” she said.
Tackett said with all the bad news every day about COVID-19, it is great having the team of students and other people involved in this.
“They feel like they’re making a difference, and they actually are making a difference. Students involved in this will be better equipped to provide significant engineering changes in the world. It’s what we should be doing as an engineering school. We’re all going to come out of this, and we’re all going to be stronger when we come out of this,” he said.
As for Schneidau, she is a millennial leader ready to keep making a difference in her world.
“The fact that these students have these skills and are willing to step up to the plate to help – this has just reaffirmed my belief that the next generation – we got it covered,” she said. “The future is in good hands.”
Check out the team’s work:
If the person often standing next to Mayor Greg Fischer and providing regular updates on the city’s COVID-19 response looks familiar, that’s because she’s part of Card Nation.
Dr. Sarah Moyer is the director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness and the chief health strategist for the city of Louisville. She’s also an assistant professor of Health Management and Systems Sciences in UofL’s School of Public Health & Information Sciences.
Though the novel coronavirus pandemic is certainly on a different level than what she — or anyone in her field — is used to, Moyer is no stranger to leading the charge to affect better health outcomes for the city of Louisville. She’s a board-certified family physician who works with all sectors of the community to affect policy, systems and environmental changes. She spearheaded the creation of Louisville’s successful syringe exchange program in 2015, for example, to slow the transmission of HIV and hepatitis C cases in the state.
During the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak earlier this month, the Courier Journal published a feature about Moyer and her work as it pertains to this specific crisis. In that story, SPHIS Dean Craig Blakely praised her ability to “adapt to public health situations.”
“In these settings, like what’s happening now, quick movement is essential to being successful,” he said. “It’s the same as Ebola – some lost the war, others did really well. It has to do with quick responses.”
Moyer told the publication that she is learning what is working in other places and applying it to the COVID-19 response in Louisville.
“I have faults, but adaptability and solving complex problems are on my strength list,” she told the CJ. “When you’re a mom of four kids, you’ve got to be able to adapt, no matter what comes your way.”
Prior to joining UofL in 2015, Moyer earned degrees from Temple, Wake Forest, Dartmouth and Colorado College.
If the SARS-CoV-2 virus is to be contained and cases of COVID-19 controlled, more knowledge is needed about how the virus is spread, who becomes ill and how the illness progresses. The University of Louisville is already at work to answer these urgent questions to reduce the impact of the global pandemic.
Infectious disease researchers at UofL are working with all 10 Louisville hospitals and two in southern Indiana, including UofL Health, Norton and Baptist, to process tests and study the illness in order to gather information needed to prevent transmission of COVID-19. Julio Ramirez, MD, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, and Ruth Carrico, PhD, RN, professor in the division, along with Donghoon Chung, PhD, and Kenneth Palmer, PhD, director of the Center for Predictive Medicine for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases (CPM), have developed a surveillance program to track the prevalence of the illness and which patients are most affected.
“I think the big issue is understanding the emergence of this illness and the pandemic response in terms of where the cases are, how many cases we’re seeing and among what types of patients,” Carrico said. “This study will help us better understand risk factors and how we need to approach it from a preventive perspective,” Carrico said.
Because this virus is so new, health professionals do not have as much information about how the disease presents initially and how it progresses as they do about other diseases that have been studied for decades. They also still need a better understanding of how the virus, SARS-CoV-2, is spread. The work being done at UofL will help provide that knowledge.
“With the information we are gathering, we will better understand how transmission occurs. When we understand how transmission occurs, that provides us the tools we need to develop some effective interventions,” Carrico said.
The development of testing for this research has been led by researchers at the CPM, where Chung worked to establish and refine procedures for high-throughput testing of more than 350 clinical samples per day for the research.
This information is needed not only to protect the community, but to protect health care workers from becoming ill. In China and elsewhere, doctors and nurses contracted COVID-19 at high rates, which affected their availability to care for ill patients. The information gained through the surveillance program will be used to generate guidelines for real-time hospital and community education and response activities, reducing spread in hospitals and protecting health care workers on the front lines.
Over time, the surveillance project will reveal not only the current scope of the pandemic in Louisville and beyond, but will monitor the epidemic over weeks and months, allowing the researchers to predict the impact of the virus in the future.
An update from President Neeli Bendapudi regarding the coronavirus outbreak:
Dear Cardinal Family,
What a time of unpredictable and rapid change we are facing today, as individuals, as families, as businesses, as organizations, and as communities. Each day seems to bring with it new issues and new complications. And yet each day also brings some hope and confidence and resilience because it is clear we are working together, and working with one singular purpose: to keep everyone healthy and informed as we move forward.
To that end, and in response to updated recommendations from leading health experts and from local and state government leaders, we are moving forward with the next phase of our emergency response to the COVID-19 situation.
Housing and Dining
A particularly difficult decision is to postpone the Spring Commencement ceremony. We will invite all Spring graduates to our December 2020 Commencement ceremony to be honored for your achievements. We know this is a tremendous disappointment to our graduates and their families. And we share that disappointment as well. Nonetheless we hope you understand the complexities we face now. We will also be thinking of alternative ways to celebrate the tremendous accomplishments of students who will be graduating this semester. Professional schools with separate graduation celebrations will be also be exploring creative alternatives such as virtual events. Please note: the date for spring degree conferral remains May 9, 2020, and students approved to graduate this spring will be awarded the degrees and certificates they have earned then.
The Health Sciences Fitness Center and the Student Recreational Center facilities have closed.
FOR FACULTY AND STAFF
I know that you have been receiving numerous updates and messages from me and from our campus leadership on this topic. I understand that the pace of messaging might feel overwhelming to some, and not enough to others. Please know that we are constantly working to keep all of your needs top of mind and to pivot as quickly, and as thoughtfully, as we can when new information becomes available.
Meanwhile I hope each of you takes care of your own physical and mental health. Despite all the busy-ness, I hope you will take a moment to pause. Slow down. Anchor yourself in what matters most to you. Reach out to someone for help. Whether it is your dean, supervisor or another leader on campus, let us know how we can support you best at this time. Reach out to see if someone else needs help. Let us be patient with one another. Together we will persevere through this tumultuous time and come out the other side a stronger, more unified university community.
The University of Louisville Trager Institute has launched a comprehensive virtual information session that addresses pressing questions about COVID-19, with particular focus on older adults and individuals with chronic diseases.
“As most of us have heard by this point, older adults and individuals with serious chronic diseases such as respiratory conditions, heart disease and diabetes are at elevated risk for serious cases of COVID-19. Given the expertise of our leadership team in the areas of older adult health and chronic disease management, we want to provide practical advice and guidance for people who are scared and concerned for their safety and health,” said Anna Faul, PhD, executive director of the UofL Trager Institute.
This session addresses the following pressing questions:
This session is recorded from the live March 17 event and available for distribution.
“Even though older adults and persons with chronic diseases face greater risk relating to COVID-19, there are simple precautions all of us can take to keep ourselves, our families and our communities as healthy and resilient as possible. If you are high-risk it is important to take proactive steps now to try to prevent the disease – such as washing your hands, avoid touching your face, avoiding crowds and non-essential travel – as well as developing safety plans in the event of quarantine or illness,” said Christian Davis Furman, MD, medical director of the UofL Trager Institute.
Important COVID-19 resources:
Teaching community-based learning (CBL) courses online may be challenging for many of us as it forces us to adapt and make changes to our courses. While we continue to grasp with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of Community Engagement would like to offer a few suggestions, Ideas, and resources to assist you as you shift your CBL courses online.
Here is what you need to do:
Here is the link to see a webinar on teaching CBL (service learning) courses online, presented by Jonathan H. Westover, Ph.D., MPA, SFHEA, AFCIPD, Associate Professor at Utah Valley University.
Use critical reflection as a means to involve students to think critically about current situations and our own values. It is a great way to involve students to think critically about issues impacting our community if they cannot physically engage with these issues. The Center for Civic Reflection has a wealth of information, activities, and videos that can be incorporated into your online teaching. These already developed plans can be used with your students in your online instructions. Here are a few examples on selected topics:
Here are links to additional resources from other organizations and engaged institutions
Please note the Office of Community Engagement is open and available to consult with faculty virtually. We can schedule a phone call, a meeting through Microsoft 365 Team or some other medium. Please feel free to contact us via phone, 852-6026 or e-mail Henry Cunningham. We are here to assist you.
An update from UofL President Neeli Bendapudi regarding COVID-19 is available below. Please note that COVID-19 updates will also be posted regularly online here.
As I shared with you yesterday, my leadership team and I are committed to keeping each of you informed and protected as we deal with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Our people are, and always will be, our greatest asset and highest priority.
After extensive and in-depth conversations with infectious disease experts at our university, and higher education peers in the state and the nation, I have made the following decisions.
Please read below for further detail on each of these important actions.
We understand that these restrictions will cause significant inconvenience for many of you. Please know that we do not make these restrictions and recommendations lightly. I am convinced that these measures are essential to preserve the health and well-being of all members of our University community and all citizens of the Commonwealth.
We also encourage you to visit our dedicated Coronavirus webpage for more information about the virus and our response. If you have a specific question about the virus, please direct it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The best thing you can do is follow the steps listed here to help prevent further spread of the coronavirus.
We will continue to provide frequent updates on university activities and decisions in the days and weeks ahead. In the meantime, we ask that every member of our community stay true to our Cardinal Principles as we all do our part to stay ahead of this evolving situation. We are a family and we will get through this period of global uncertainty together.
DETAILS OF UNIVERSITY OF LOUISVILLE PREVENTATIVE ACTIONS
Spring Break is extended through March 17. Classes will be delivered remotely starting March 18 through April 5.
International travel is suspended effective immediately
Non-essential domestic business travel is suspended effective immediately
On-campus events will continue, but are under review
UofL’s campuses remain open and operational