Creating a Brighter Future
At University of Utah Health, our mission is to advance the health of our communities. As an academic health center, our purpose is to make people’s lives better. Those are ambitious goals—impossible to achieve alone.
That’s because the health of individuals is not solely determined by what happens inside our clinics, hospitals, research labs, and classrooms. Rather, it’s connected to a whole host of factors, including the neighborhood we live in, the air we breathe, the money we make, the school we attend, and the color of our skin.
Profiles in Excellence
We believe that every individual deserves equal opportunity to live a healthy life. We recognize we have a long road ahead to meet that goal. But the individuals and organizations included below are humbled and honored to partner with passionate Utahns who share our commitment to creating a brighter future.
“He who has health, has hope; and he who has hope, has everything.” –Thomas Carlyle
At University of Utah Health, our dedicated clinicians treat infectious diseases, care for racially and ethnically diverse populations, and implement population-specific programs. This work spans locations, methods, and outcomes, and we hope the passion and optimism of the individuals featured at the links below creates a bright spot in an otherwise difficult 2020.
COVID-19 Pandemic Response
The coronavirus pandemic has challenged us in new ways. It’s challenged us medically and scientifically. It’s also challenged us to recognize how interconnected our lives really are—and that living healthy requires that we work together.
Nothing has brought the community together like our response to the pandemic. U of U Health has teamed up with the state of Utah, county and city governments, health systems, religious organizations, community nonprofits, international research institutions, and hundreds of others, all with the same goals in mind:
- To keep vulnerable populations healthy,
- To disseminate critical information, and
- To tackle one of the biggest public health threats in a century,
All in a coordinated fashion. We know that the fight against COVID-19 isn’t even close to over. That’s why U of U Health remains committed to working with community partners to test, treat, and prevent the disease. Here we highlight just a few of the efforts.
Knowledge Is Power
- One of the most frustrating things about novel SARS-CoV-2 is the lack of knowledge around this new virus. Academic centers are best poised to combat this. U of U Health’s 3i Initiative and Office of the Vice President of Research have invested $1.3 million to fund 56 novel research projects led by 60 investigators across nine colleges aimed at understanding the nature of COVID-19, from its basic mechanisms as a disease to its societal impact.
- Of 136 total campus-wide projects, 56 have attracted $19 million in external funding from the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health. U of U investigators have also published 60+ COVID-19-related research articles in peer-reviewed journals.
ARUP Laboratories, one of the four largest reference labs in the nation, has performed nearly 287,000 COVID-19 diagnostic tests for University of Utah Health and other Utah health care providers, identifying 23,300+ positive cases.
- As part of the Utah Health and Economic Recovery Outreach (HERO) Project, U of U Health and ARUP have performed another 17,300 molecular diagnostic tests and 28,700 IgG antibody tests. These examine the spread of COVID-19 in Utah and assess how many Utahns have developed antibodies against the virus.
- U of U Health staff reassigned from their regular jobs have braved snowstorms and heat waves to deliver in-car testing at five locations around the Salt Lake Valley, including a partner site with Intermountain Healthcare in Park City.
- As of October, 175,000 of these tests have been performed, alongside mobile testing on the Wellness Bus and Huntsman Cancer Screening and Education Bus that has reached 12,000+ Utahns in vulnerable neighborhoods. That has helped to flatten the curve of COVID-19 cases across the valley.
- ProjectProtect—a partnership between U of U Health, Intermountain Healthcare, and LDS Charities—mobilized 57,500+ volunteers to sew nearly six million masks in six weeks for health care workers.
- U of U Health collaborated with the Utah Hospital Association and its members Intermountain Healthcare, Steward, and MountainStar to create #MaskUpUtah, a public service campaign advocating for masking to keep Utah safe.
- In response to COVID-19, U of U Health leadership have worked to support, inform, and influence state and national policy, serving on eight different committees, councils, and task forces.
Generosity & Gratitude
- As of September, U of U Health’s Office of Advancement has collected nearly 750 donations totaling more than $1.7 million for our COVID-19 response to support patient care, caregiver and staff relief, and research.
- U of U School of Medicine student-led donation drives collected 38,600 pairs of gloves; 6,000 masks; 200 safety glasses; and 112 face shields across four weekends in April.
- More than 450 pieces of COVID-19-related content have been disseminated across 15 communications platforms and translated into 9 languages since March.
- U of U Health experts and executives have been featured in 50+ local, national, and international news outlets since March.
- With all of the stress and uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, Michael L. Good, MD’s weekly video and email updates have become a trusted source of information for Utahns.
Here in Utah, the spirit of volunteerism is ingrained in our culture. Beyond just checking a feel-good box, that spirit rallies to meet the needs of our community every day, in thousands of ways.
Meals to Heal Food Drive is an all-year activation that transforms volunteer shifts at the Utah Food Bank into team-building activities that fight hunger. Since 2009, U of U Health employees have donated 2,641,773 total meals, with another 1,000,000 donations planned by June 30, 2021.
Be Well Utah is a weeklong celebration of community wellness that impacts the lives of Utahns each August. After a decade of volunteer-led family health fairs, walk and run races, and farmer’s markets around Salt Lake Valley, Be Well Utah went virtual in 2020, helping even more Utah families take the small but powerful steps necessary to build healthier habits.
This volunteer spirit has strengthened in the face of COVID-19. When an entire community leans on each other, amazing things happen. Volunteers sew millions of masks and wear thousands of white ribbons supporting health care workers. Millions of dollars in donations go to patient care and research. And random acts of kindness proliferate among patients and providers all looking to make sense of the pandemic.
Today, our community is stronger than ever—and together, we can make a difference.