Project Resurgence and Research Resumption Task Forces

April 16, 2020

April 16 Update: From the Chair

Dear Members of the Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Community,

UPHS leadership is working on a "back to work" strategy termed "project resurgence." As you may know, we paused many "nonessential" clinical services to prepare for the COVID-19 surge expected in Philadelphia. Thankfully, social and physical distancing measures appear to have "flattened the curve" and we have not experienced an overwhelming surge of critically ill patients. The census of COVID patients across UPHS has remained relatively flat, and we are now making plans for a careful return to offering routine clinical services to care for patients in our community. I will provide more details on this as plans develop. Thank you for helping with physical distancing – it appears to be making a difference!

It is critical that we continue to follow our remote work efforts and only allow essential personnel on our campus at this time. While we do not know when we can return to campus, the Office of the Vice Provost for Research has established a Task Force on Research Resumption Strategy in order to think carefully and proactively about what such a return will look like and how research activities can be resumed as safely and as seamlessly as possible.  As they plan this transition, they are inviting you to share your ideas and concerns; your thoughts on what has been working well during this period will also inform their planning.

I am saddened to have to share the news of the passing our beloved former colleague and Emeritus Trustee Madlyn Abramson, ED’57, GED’60. She was 84 years old. In a note to the Penn community, Dean Larry Jameson says: "to the end, Madlyn was dedicated to the health of our patients and this city, most recently helping launch a clinical trial for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19. Of course, she and husband Leonard are best known for their tireless support of the Abramson Cancer Center and Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute. We will miss her drive, her absolute focus on compassionate patient care, and her dedication to our physicians and researchers." An early beneficiary of this commitment was our colleague Dr. Carl June, who was one of the first recruits to the newly established Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute.

This is a challenging time for faculty and staff who are navigating parenting and home-schooling while also meeting their professional obligations. The Philadelphia Inquirer published some evidence-based parenting tips for getting through the end of the school year at home by Penn Medicine experts. Parents can also check out PennCobalt for individualized resources, group and individual support.

As the number of coronavirus cases continue to rise, the pressure is on to find a vaccine and treatment options effective against COVID-19. Emma Meagher, MD, chief clinical research officer for the Perelman School of Medicine, discussed new research led by Nicole Aqui, MD, an associate professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and Katharine Bar, MD, an assistant professor of Infectious Diseases, examining convalescent plasma therapy in an article in PhillyVoice.

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

David Roth
Chair, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine