“I wish I could say that we were overly prepared for this — as a health system, as a community, and as a country — but we weren’t,” said Peter Newcomer during The UW Now Livestream event on April 14, “And that’s led to some things that we’ve had to do over the last several weeks that none of us could have predicted. We will be much better prepared for the next [pandemic]. We just weren’t for this.”
During the event, Newcomer, the chief clinical officer at UW Health, and Robert Golden, the dean of the UW School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH), spoke about the ways in which the UW’s health care system has responded to the coronavirus outbreak.
UW Hospital treated the first COVID-19 patient identified in Wisconsin, and it continues to be one of Wisconsin’s leading medical facilities. Newcomer described the ways in which UW Health mobilized to face a months-long crisis, postponing treatments in some areas to clear resources for COVID patients.
Golden explained how SMPH leans into its three pillars — service, research, and education — to help Wisconsin meet the pandemic’s demands. He noted studies to help seek therapeutics and to improve both diagnostic and antibody testing, as well as efforts to share resources with medical providers across the area. He also told how SMPH had developed online learning tools for both its students and for practicing physicians elsewhere.
The two doctors then spent a half hour answering questions from some of the more than 1,100 viewers who watched the presentation online.
The UW Now Livestream is itself a response to the pandemic. The UW Now had originally been planned as a series of events in cities across the United States. Instead, the programming is being offered via YouTube and will continue through the spring. The next event will be April 16 and will feature Corey Pompey, director of the UW Marching Band, and Mike Leckrone, director emeritus of the UW bands.