Behind University decisions regarding COVID-19, is the Campus Health Advisory Team (CHAT), which monitors issues important to the overall health of the campus community and provides advice to the president and campus leaders on questions of student, faculty and staff physical, psychological and emotional well-being.
Using advice from the team, the University was able to successfully get through the entire fall semester of fully in-person learning. The campus community followed evidence-based protocols intended to maximize safety and reduce the spread of COVID-19, and the CHAT group monitored case levels and changes in and around the community.
“We are a dedicated team of people who meet weekly and bring our own areas of expertise to the table,” says Dean of Students Margaree Coleman-Carter, the CHAT chair. “We have a genuine commitment to the health and safety of our campus community that goes beyond COVID. We are here to support and foster our campus culture of care.”
The team consists of 12 campus representatives who solicit input and opinions from University experts and provide President Jonathan Koppell and other University leaders summaries and briefings as needed to make policy decisions that advance campus health.
Its initial focus has been related to COVID-19 and the team has advised the president and a COVID-19 policy implementation group that supports the president’s decisions and ensures that plans are executed as envisioned.
The team makes recommendations that are considered for possible implementation. Implementation requires input, action and collaboration among multiple departments and divisions within the University under the guidance of those uniquely qualified.
The team has made recommendations that have contributed to:
- Providing updated critical information in a timely manner
- Presenting best practices for a safe work/education environment
- Testing and vaccine initiatives
- Responding to individual information requests
- Communicating with external experts
- Updating Hawk Check language
- Health Promotion Office messaging
- The design and production of the “For you, for me, for us” mask
Members of the team are: Dean of Students Margaree Coleman-Carter (chair); Patricia Ruiz, director of the Health Center; Gena Coffey, assistant director of Environmental Health and Safety; School of Nursing Dean Jan Smolowitz; Stephanie Silvera, professor of Epidemiology and Public Health; Lisa Lieberman, chair of the Department of Public Health; College of Science and Mathematics Dean Lora Billings; Jaclyn Friedman-Lombardo, director of the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services; Deputy Chief of Police Kieran Barrett; Christopher McKinley, professor of Health Communications; Valerie Hunter, associate vice president for Benefits, Compensation and Payroll; and Jonathan Howell, associate Linguistics professor.