Preparing for the Upcoming Week

April 06, 2020

April 6 Update: From the Chair

Dear Members of the Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Community,

All of us at Penn Medicine have been preparing for the weeks ahead of us. In this, we have the support from patients, colleagues, members of the community, and from people across the country. Their well-wishes can be found on the PennMedicineTogether gallery of gratitude. Their webpage is also very useful for information around coping with COVID. PennMedicineTogether is a crucial resource for those on the front lines because of the profound complex emotions and anxieties associated with this crisis. The initiative offers support and resources for all clinicians and staff at Penn Medicine to help deal with the challenges posed by COVID-19. More information is available on the Penn Medicine News Blog as well. 

As we have learned, social and physical distancing is hard. That is why I want to reiterate the importance of maintaining a six-feet distance at all times. Especially in the workplace, we often turn to each other for support over lunch or coffee with a co-worker. Please avoid doing so in any spaces where you cannot remain at least six feet apart from each other, including communal lunchrooms. The Vice Dean for Professional Services and SVP of CPUP, Dr. Deb Driscoll, has issued two important guidelines for all of the staff, housestaff and faculty:  

1) Anyone with sore throat, cough, respiratory symptoms, fever, diarrhea should stay home until symptoms are resolved and seek appropriate care and testing.

2) Employees should practice social distancing during coffee breaks and lunch when they are not wearing masks. 

The same message is emphasized in a useful New York Times article that explains the etiquette of how to stay distant but kind at the same time. Another news item that may help alleviate anxiety is the fact that insurance companies are to cover all cost of inpatient care for COVID-19.

Vanguard is offering one-on-one retirement counseling phone sessions today and tomorrow. If you are interested in scheduling a session then or a future date, you can register online at If you like to set up a one-on-one retirement counseling phone session with TIAA, you can register at You can also go to Penn’s Saving for Retirement home page here:

I also want to emphasize the importance of practicing IT security. There have been some significant privacy and security concerns for online video platforms like Zoom, so if you rely on this application for work, the Citizen Lab from the University of Toronto provides a helpful overview.   

Please continue to take care of yourselves because we are here for each other.

David Roth
Chair, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine