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DU Hosts Landmark Conference on COVID-19 Response

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Lorne Fultonberg

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Lorne Fultonberg
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The Jan. 8 STAT Conference brings together experts from across the country

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The University of Denver is bringing together the brightest, most innovative minds in COVID-19 response to address the unprecedented challenges the novel coronavirus poses for institutions of higher education.

On Friday, Jan. 8, the virtual Seeking Tomorrow’s Answers Together (STAT) Conference will look to the future while highlighting the ways institutions, researchers and academics have pivoted in real time to serve their respective campus communities during the ongoing global pandemic.

“This is an opportunity for DU to shine, hosting one of the most timely and relevant topic discussions of this moment” says Corinne Lengsfeld, DU’s senior vice provost for research and graduate education, who took the lead organizing the conference. “Going into winter every college and university needs to know the information we learned in December regarding best practices.”

In all, 21 speakers from across the country will participate in a series of panel discussions and lightning talks covering topics ranging from saliva testing and sewer monitoring to contact tracing. Discussions also will examine how institutions have overcome obstacles to safely house their students, deliver engaging courses, and preserve the physical and mental health of their campus communities.

Learn more and register for the conference

Speakers include:

  • Abby Davidson, program manager at the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment
  • Jay Finigan, professor and director of the Respiratory Centers of Excellence at National Jewish Health
  • Jennifer Francis, executive vice provost at Duke University
  • Kim Gorgens, professor and deputy COVID response coordinator at the University of Denver
  • Stuart Halsall, associate vice chancellor and deputy athletic director at the University of Denver
  • Paul Hergenrother, professor at the University of Illinois
  • Rachel Herlihy, Colorado State Epidemiologist
  • Erin Kobetz, professor and vice provost for research and scholarship at the University of Miami
  • David Larsen, associate professor at Syracuse University
  • Corinne Lengsfeld, senior vice provost for research and graduate education at the University of Denver
  • David Luzzi, senior vice provost for research and vice president of the innovation campus at Northeastern University
  • Cresten Mansfeldt, assistant professor at the University of Colorado Boulder
  • Anuj Mehta, pulmonologist at National Jewish Health
  • Shelly Miller, professor at the University of Colorado Boulder
  • Jacaranda Palmateer, director of counseling services at the University of Denver’s Health and Counseling Center
  • Jodi Silotto, director of academic communications at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • Derigan Silver, professor and deputy COVID response coordinator at the University of Denver
  • Scott Tims, assistant vice president at Tulane University’s Health Center
  • Brian Toolan, senior director of public sector strategy at Everbridge
  • Sarah Enos Watamura, professor and COVID response coordinator at the University of Denver
  • Patricia Whitely, vice president for student affairs at the University of Miami

“This will be the coolest chance to listen in on the scientists driving COVID prevention and Identification efforts,” says Kim Gorgens, a professor at the Graduate School of Professional Psychology and DU’s deputy COVID coordinator. “Audience members will get a glimpse behind the science and headlines.”

The University of Denver’s own COVID response effort featured a partnership with National Jewish Health that resulted in nearly 30,000 COVID-19 tests from a dedicated, on-campus “carepod.” DU expects to increase its testing capacity in 2021 through new saliva testing.

DU’s Facilities Management also modified spaces to accommodate distanced classrooms and installed MERV13 filters across campus to improve air filtration. The IT department ensured the community could conduct its business online, via Zoom, while Sodexo provided meals for those remaining on campus. More than 70% of the on-campus community adopted the Everbridge app for contact tracing.

“31,000 masks and 3,700 canisters of disinfecting wipes”: Read more about DU’s COVID response

As a result, a recent study by DU’s COVID Response Team found the University outperformed many of its peers in addressing the pandemic. DU’s COVID dashboard was one of the best in the country too, placing 10th out of 349 university dashboards reviewed by ratecoviddashboard.com.