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Video: School of Pharmacy Town Hall · Recovery plans proceed with attention to safety and well-being

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UCSF School of Pharmacy Town Hall June 29 2020 - Recovery plans proceed with attention to safety and well-being

Join School of Pharmacy Dean B. Joseph Guglielmo, PharmD, for the latest on response and recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic and the fiscal realities facing the University of California.

More updates this week include:

  • Jim Wells, PhD, reports his experience reopening his web lab.
  • Cindy Watchmaker, MBA, MEd, shares updates on the doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) degree program and students
  • Joanna Trammell details the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry plan for transitioning to limited office work.

Video transcript

[Joe Guglielmo]
Welcome everybody to the School of Pharmacy Town Hall. Once again, a couple reminders before we get going. Your audio and video will be automatically muted. Only the panelists can unmute themselves. The chat function at the bottom of your screen is disabled. And for questions from the audience, please use the Q&A feature. We will hold all questions to the end and as always, any outstanding questions will be answered in email or if anonymously provided at the next town hall. In this era of divisiveness and need for improvement in diversity, equity inclusion, there actually are a few things to celebrate. First of all the DACA decision. As I think you all know, the Supreme Court struck down the administration's attempt to end DACA. I don't know if you're aware of that the University California was the first university to sue to protect the 650,000 DACA recipients. And you may not know that we have had DACA students in our school for years, and we celebrate this decision. Really proud of the university's efforts and walk congressional action is still needed for permanent protection. This decision is really an important first step. The second thing to celebrate you also know that Supreme Court ruled that federal law prohibits discrimination against LGBTQ people in the workplace. This is a monumental step forward toward justice and equality. And it really is a potentially a watershed moment for the court itself. Third thing to celebrate in this general area, you may or may not know that NASA announced yesterday. Its naming its headquarters in Washington DC after mathematician and aerospace engineer Mary Jackson, the US Space Agency's first black woman engineer. Jackson was part of a group of very important women who helped NASA succeed in getting American astronauts into space. And her story was told in the book and the movie that followed Hidden Figures. Jackson retired from NASA in '85, died in 2005, and posthumously received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2019. Moving from that, those good news pieces COVID continues to impact the school, the campus, California, the nation, the world. At the time of our last Town Hall exactly one month ago, in the world, there were about a 5.9 million 5.9 million infections and 360,000 deaths today, we're up to 9.5 million infections worldwide. And deaths have gone from 360,000 to now 480,000 deaths. So if you do the math on that, since it's been about a month since our last Town Hall, that's about 4000 deaths a day due to COVID. If you take the US also taking first the last Town Hall. At that time, there were about 1.7 million infections in the US and a little over 100,000 deaths. Today, we're sitting at 2.4 million infections, and 124,000 deaths. I almost like talking about the projections from the University of Washington, they project that there will be 145,000 COVID-19 deaths by August 4, they project 179,000 COVID deaths by October the first. Just yesterday, the US recorded a record approximately 46,001 day jump and Coronavirus cases exceeding the previous records set April 26 by more than 9,000 patients. This new record came is several states including Arizona, California, Mississippi, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas reported single day infection record records. North and South Carolina broke records for new hospitalizations. These just weeks after easing lockdown and allowing businesses to reopen.

Getting to California specifically, again a month ago we had a little over 100,000 infections a little over 4,000 deaths today there are 190,000 infections and we're sitting at 5,600 deaths. The University of Washington predicts that we will have at 8,600 California deaths by August 4, they Project 11,600 by October 1. While the majority of the cases are in Southern California, LA, Riverside, San Diego, and Imperial counties, the Bay Area numbers are equally alarming. They are averaging 439 new cases a day for the last eight days. To give you a perspective, the Bay Area recorded its first day with 300 plus cases on June 12. The governor's provided three reasons for that surge, more pay people are being tested, many people refuse to wear a mask, and some people are not practicing social distancing. It also coincides with the opening reopening of restaurants, bars, salons, gyms, and a general relaxation of shelter in place, and social distancing protocols. In terms of UCSF, as of last Friday, the census due to COVID remains stable. It has been still sitting about 10 to 15 patients at one time, half of whom seem to be requiring critical care. In other UCSF news I want to highlight on Parnassus Heights. The plan for Parnassus Heights approval is due to be discussed at the July reasons meeting, and the Chancellor has informed us from the retreat last week, he believes it's likely it will be approved. However, the new hospital environmental impact report is due to the regions and that's planned for the summer of 2021. The Chancellor states this December will have a really good feel of exactly how the hospital will look like. And therefore what the EIR will look like as well. Just to remind you, Langley Porter will have to be destroyed to allow that cost will go up. And just FYI, the plans are for inpatient psychiatric care to go to the seventh floor at Mountain Zion Hospital. Just after the last Town Hall, UCSF announced specific long term recovery dates. What was stated was number one, those that can work remotely should continue to do so through January 18 2021. And that non-essential in person events and gatherings restricted be restricted through June 30 of 2021. A number of you once I forwarded those recommendations contacted me and I tried via an email to respond to your comments and to give clarification on this announcement. Now protocols are in place for employees and students performing on-site duties to return on-site. To remind you, anybody coming back, approval is required. COVID-19 training should be completed in The UC Learning Center. Online daily health screenings are required before arrival. Face coverings are required in all campus buildings. And importantly, workplace safety procedures are required for office and lab work, including sterilization or sanitizing surfaces and equipment.

To that end, for the second part of this program, we're going to get some real world updates on how recovery and the response in general are going throughout the school. First up, Professor Jim Wells is going to discuss his experience as he attempts to safely reopen his lab at the present in what is recommended at a 25% lab density. Jim.

[Jim Wells]
I do thank you very much for that in that update. We're living in a different world right now and it's a ... it couldn't be more different from the research into from the first week of March, or thereabouts. When, when all research activities, unessential research activities, had to stop. It's really been a sea change. Getting used to zoom getting used to working remotely for an experimental lab, like my own is has been a real challenge. And it's, but we're making do and actually in some ways we never shut down because we have one of the labs that is continuing to work on COVID-19 research, specifically building antibodies, and serological assays to detect the antibodies and antibodies that would be useful in blocking viral entry. So, we had to move to a steady state of about four researchers and one every eight days or so, and whenever you need holes, and so had to establish first what would be our policy about coming in. Showing the next slide are some of the things that we instituted. So to protect the health and safety the lab members, no one should come in who exhibits any flu or cold like symptoms. If individuals feel uncomfortable ,working in the lab puts them at heightened risk, they should not feel pressured to do so. Avoiding public transit and other modes of transportation that puts them in harm's way contacting the virus through direct social contacting, obviously, everybody wears PPE, gloves, lab coats, masks to prevent them engaging, you know, spreading the virus. Washing hands often and cleaning down all surfaces, before and after they've worked. Communicating often and transparently throughout throughout the projects so that they people know where they are and where they're going. We even had arrows on the floor with different sort of traffic patterns so that people would try to avoid coming in contact. That's a very different world than what we were living in, where communication and one-on-one interactions and socialization is so critical for exchange of ideas. But surprisingly, they've they bound together and worked as an amazing team got a lot of work done in the, in the pre-open opening era that we are that we now have, as of the end of May. So, in order to keep everyone kind of socially distance and whatnot, we've set up a Google Calendar kind of arrangement shown on the next slide I don't know if you can read the fine print there but it's says "In a galaxy far, far away." They consider themselves Jedi Knights for contribute for going in and being like a healthcare worker does taking the risk that to do their work. We have a we have a number of we have spaces in the lab designated where folks can work and they can sign up for those in a Google Calendar kind of fashion, where they get allocated a certain number of blocks of time each. And then they negotiate amongst themselves about making sure that if somebody needs to go a little bit longer than the other, they work it out socially. We've instituted Slack lines so that everyone's communicating frequently within the lab. We've also arranged it so that people who are doing similar projects, can they have similar reagents can work kind of in teams, and transfer, you know, if a culture needs to be started, but then stopped at a particular time, maybe someone starts it and another person stops it. It's actually been a great learning experience from that point of view, a silver lining. I think that one of the things we will take away from this era is that teamwork really, really can augment the everyone's productivity. So that's been really positive. At the bottom of this Google Calendar, calendar, then we keep track of each spot in the lab and what and whether or not we've exceeded the values, their red bars will come up if we do, and then people have to adjust accordingly. So it's actually a living document can be changed. People can sign up at a designated time the start of the week, but it can be changed as people adjust their laboratory work and shift in trade and barter time with others as well. So it's actually worked remarkably well. Of course, I'm a bit above the fray. But I, I've heard very few complaints and using this, a number of other labs are using something similar to this either shift designated shifts or these kinds of things. So with that, I'll just conclude and show you my lab. In the last picture. This is them. There, we were trying to escape pre COVID. The lab members there on the left, that column on the far left are actually people who have been involved in the COVID projects that we've been doing in this. And in everyone is shown there. I'm happy to take any questions. But Joe, maybe you want to wait until the end.

[Joe Guglielmo]
Correct, Jim, we're going to have questions at the answer. Please hang in there. Until that Thank you. Okay, so for our next presentation, I'm, I'm asking MSO from Pharm Chem, Joanna Trammell. She's going to show you what the department plans are to accommodate limited office work, transitioning toward this January 18 deadline that I highlighted. So Joanna, please take it away.


[Joanna Trammell]
Thank you, Joe. Good afternoon Leanna. Can you please put up the slide?

[Joanna Trammell]
Can you have the... Thank you. Thanks, Eric.

[Joanna Trammell]
During several of our weekly staff check-ins, some of our team members had expressed a desire to return to work on an intermittent basis prior to the January 18 date given by the chancellor. And Joe had also encouraged the departments to think about what an eventual return to work look like. So building on the guidance given for the reopening of the labs, this plan was drafted. We wanted to ensure that this plan wasn't created in a vacuum. So we've vetted this with several staff as well as Matt Jacobson, our chair, prior to submitting it to Michael and Joe for review.

[Joanna Trammell]
As you'll see in the slide, the plan begins with Phase Two to align with the guidance for the reopening of the labs. There are six phases total, which begins with only a few staff going in, now, out of necessity. From there, one to two staff can sign up to come in for a few hours every other week. And we hope to gradually increase the same number of staff to one to two days a week as you'll see in Phase Four. By December, two to four staff, two in Byers Hall, two in Genentech Hall, will eventually come in two to three days a week. And in December, we anticipate having a conversation with the Dean's Office about the return to work in January and a possible hybrid model for that.

[Joanna Trammell]
In terms of tracking, we're doing what Jim's lab is doing and using the Google Calendar, which we actually already use now, to notate vacation and sick days. So should there be a need for contact tracing, we can use this calendar to assist us with that information.

[Joanna Trammell]
There are three guiding principles as we move forward with this plan. The first is to ensure the safety of all employees and to adhere to the guidance provided by university leadership. Two, to continue to provide support for the research that's being conducted in the labs. And three, to enable staff that want and need to return to work as a reprieve from some of the challenges that can come from working from home, an opportunity to do so. So this plan is flexible and it enables us to make revisions based on COVID-19 data as well as direction from leadership. And it also gives us a framework to work from and provides assurance that we are moving forward safely and methodically. So now I'd like to have a Matt say a few words.

[Matt Jacobson]
I don't have too much to add. I mean, obviously, how this plays out in practice won't depend completely on us. I mean, this is going to depend on university and city regulations, which in turn will depend on how the pandemic progresses. And of course, as Joe noted, it looks murkier today than it did even a couple of weeks ago. What I like about this, though, is that there's a large degree of individual choice involved here because there's just large differences between different staff members in terms of many different factors that, together, decide whether it makes sense for somebody to come in. That includes whether their work can be done more efficiently on site, whether they can arrive at campus safely with their commute, whether they have an enclosed office to use when they get there, and then personal factors such as childcare responsibilities, etc. And although that does involve a high degree of granularity and really sorting this out, I think that's going to be actually critical to making it through this upcoming period where we're living with the virus. I think that's all I want to say. Thank you.

[Joe Guglielmo]
Thank you, Joanna and Matt. Fantastic.

[Joe Guglielmo]
So finally, I've asked Associate Dean Cindy Watchmaker to provide us with an update regarding OSACA, the Student Affairs Office, efforts regarding the doctor of pharmacy degree program. As you know, COVID has required enormous adjustments and support from OSACA for both our current and future students. Cindy.

[Cindy Watchmaker]
Well, good afternoon, everyone. And thank you, Joe. Our class of 2023, 127 of them have started their orientation, which is online for the first several weeks, and will transition to a different version of online immediately before the curriculum begins. We continue to be very aware and planning for how we can build connections and community with this entering class, partnering with students, faculty and staff colleagues. This class will have a virtual white coat ceremony, one of the silver linings of which we think is that they can extend an invitation broadly and have as many people participate and hear about our program and their transition to the profession.

[Cindy Watchmaker]
With the COVID situation changing, questions are streaming into us as students get concerned about the logistics around their arrival. And so we're working with them individually to try address their questions and address their concerns. But we are excited to welcome this new class. In terms of COVID screening, there is a new protocol that student health, health and counseling has set up for students. All new students, all P1's, for us will have a COVID test before they can come onto campus property. Student Health Services is coordinating that. Sharon has worked closely with the Dean's group, as our office is, in making sure that information is clear to students. The test will be offered to students at no charge here in San Francisco.

[Cindy Watchmaker]
Second year students and others will continue to use the health screening tool before coming onto campus property. And we're working to make sure students are informed about those procedures as they come to campus. It's about a one month countdown for the beginning of didactic instruction this summer quarter. And information is coming to students about their schedules and specific plans for in person instruction in our didactic curriculum.

[Cindy Watchmaker]
The class of 2022 shared some very powerful reflections with faculty and with one another, as we closed their academic year, about what it was like to experience remote learning. And one of the beautiful outcomes of that was the way in which they're supporting one another and creating communities of support within the class. For these students, housing and logistics remain top concerns. And it is a reminder to all of us that we need to keep connected to students and to think about them and their whole experience as we move through this pandemic.

[Cindy Watchmaker]
Students are engaged in APPE's and IPPE's. Huge shout outs to all the preceptors and particularly the program directors that are facing new and complex situations related to students navigating in these health care environments now. And we stand ready to assist students as well as faculty as they do so.

[Cindy Watchmaker]
This marks the time of year that we also begin to turn our attention to our next entering class. And so in mid July, we will launch our application for the class of 2024. The admissions committee and faculty have already began discussions about our interviews for this entering cohort. And we will be doing virtual interviews. So the MMI, as we've noted the past several years, will be changed. But we're excited about some of the discussions we've had about doing that in a new way.

[Cindy Watchmaker]
The final thing that I'd like to report on is what's happening in the student community around the Black Lives Matter movement and recent events that have really gripped, importantly, conversations in our country and around all of us. And there are a number of student grassroots initiatives to try to stimulate conversations within the school around diversity, equity, and inclusion, and we welcome student ideas and inputs and plans about how we, as a school, can take action and to respond and advocate for all members of our community. Student organization leaders have developed some programming. And we know students are working with faculty on issues around health disparities. So those conversations need to continue. And we look forward to engaging students in all those matters. Joe, I think that's it for me right now. And thank you.

[Joe Guglielmo]
Thank you, Cindy.

[Joe Guglielmo]
So now, we have a few minutes for questions. Grant Burningham is going to read out questions and we'll answer them as appropriate.

[Grant Burningham]
Sure, Joe. This first one I think could be for Jim, it could also possibly be for Eric. Is slack available as a general resource to all of UCSF, or does the lab have to purchase it? If it is a funding issue, what other options might be available?

[Jim Wells]
That's a good question. I'm not sure. I know our lab has it. I'm not sure what we had to pay for that license. Maybe somebody else knows, like Matt or Andre.

[Eric Davila]
I can pitch in on this one. There's a free version of Slack that, if you're not needing to store your history for a long period of time, anyone can use. Otherwise it does have a cost. Matt Denny reported that they did a 25 person instance for $200 a year at the education pricing. Beyond that, they also has recently been the launch of Office 365 and Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams can be used in a very similar way and also has apps for your phone and tablet, so you can keep communicating. So that's now sort of the UCSF alternative.

[Jim Wells]
And I know Kevin Redondi mentioned it's free. That's just along the lines of what you said, Eric.

[Grant Burningham]
Okay, it looks like we have one more question. This one probably for Cindy. How often do incoming P2s have to come to campus?

[Cindy Watchmaker]
I think you're granted I'm actually going to ask Sharon Youmans if she would respond to that question, I believe Sharon's on?

[Sharon Youmans]
Yes, I'm on the faculty are finalizing details. Our general principle is that we would have students come to campus for in-person skills, sessions that are required to be done that way. We are finalizing those details and we'll be sending out a communication to the P2's so that they can know. It's not in addition to the didactic, it's also the experiential IPPE activities that they'll have to do on campus. So stay tuned for specific details, like next week.

[Grant Burningham]
Okay, thank you very much, Sharon. And that's it for the questions Joe.

[Joe Guglielmo]
Okay. All right. Thank you, Grant. Well, I think we're about there. I thank everybody for their contributions, giving real world examples of where we are. And I think the examples really inform others. All these in a way are pilots, and I'm glad we're trying a few things. And if we make a few mistakes, that's okay. We'll shift accordingly and make a better mousetrap so to speak. So I'll close with letting you know that the next town hall is scheduled to be Thursday, July the 30th from 2 to 2:30pm. You can expect Outlook invitations to be sent in the future. In the meantime, thank you all for participating. As always stay safe and be well. Thank you