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Fall 2020

Features

Emergency medicine physician and former Wildcats offensive lineman Ryan Padgett ’97 was one of the first healthcare workers in Washington state to test positive for COVID-19. His harrowing story has become both a symbol of hope and a cautionary tale about the ­­­dangers of the global pandemic.

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Padgett Hero Image
As communities across Illinois respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and brace for its long-term effects, mental health and wellness are central to the recovery strategy. Rachel Bhagwat ’12 and Anthony Guerrero ’14, ’18 MS are on the team leading that effort at NAMI Chicago, an affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

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Rachel and Anthony Illustration
When New York's Montefiore Medical Center admitted its first COVID-19 patient on March 11, Albert Einstein School of Medicine professor of medicine Kenneth J. Schaefle ’90 was pulled in alongside many others to help with the COVID response.

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Ken Schaefle
Chinazo Opia Cunningham spoke out for patients and her medical colleagues while helping her New York City hospital through the worst of the pandemic. A physician and researcher at Montefiore Health System and Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, Cunningham has been working tirelessly to care for patients in one of the cities hardest hit by coronavirus.

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Chinazo Illustration
In the early days of the pandemic, Whitney Owens quickly pivoted the Cincinnati Museum Center’s three institutions — the Duke Energy Children's Museum, Cincinnati History Museum and Museum of Natural History & Science — to virtual programming.

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Cincinnati Museum Hero
Karly Raber expected to spend her final months of medical school finishing up her last rotations, but her plans were upended by the pandemic. So Raber got involved in COVID-19 monitoring efforts, calling people across the Chicago area who had tested positive for the virus to track how they were feeling, monitor their symptoms and refer them to more intensive care as needed.

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Karley Hero
In the wake of the coronavirus, life will never quite return to “normal.” We asked Northwestern professors to weigh in on how life has been transformed as a result of the pandemic.

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Northwestern has a hard-earned and growing reputation for excellence, but that excellence is for a purpose: to be in a position to make the fullest possible contribution to our world precisely at moments like the one that we are in now.

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morton schapiro feature
Artist Ryan Tova Katz painted a mural at 829 Foster St. in Evanston in honor of the 2020 Northwestern graduates.

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Mural Hero
After many years in government, Tista Ghosh '99 is bringing her public health training to the private sector, leading a team that advises Fortune 500 companies across a range of industries on how to keep their operations running as safely as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Public Health Covid-19 Story Image
Ryan Lee ’03 runs a dental oncology practice with four offices in the Northeast. But for the past month he’s been leading 18 Massachusetts Army National Guard strike teams, coordinating COVID-19 testing for some of the state’s most at-risk residents.

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ryan lee
When molecular diagnostics expert Karen Kaul ’84 MD, PhD, ’88 GME ordered reagents and other supplies for her lab at NorthShore University HealthSystem’s Evanston Hospital in early February, she and her team had been following the coronavirus outbreak overseas for weeks. They figured they’d better be prepared, just in case.

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Karen Kaul Hero v2

Voices

Beginning in preschool, Black students are disproportionately disciplined in schools, from teacher-issued referrals, to corporal punishment, to police arrests and their attendant violence. And it is not simply that Black students are over-represented in these areas, but rather it is about the ways our presence — have always represented a dangerous intrusion within educational institutions structured by anti-Black solidarity.

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kihana ross article
How can corporate leaders prepare for the unknown, build trust in their companies and transition their teams online? Three Kellogg School of Management professors share their insights.

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Chicago mental health services provider CEO Mark Ishaug works to change hearts and minds and structures of oppression.

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Discovery

The coronavirus pandemic forced patients and doctors to engage via video and phone — and made virtual visits mainstream. Doctors say video visits and phone check-ins advance the delivery of health care by removing physical barriers, while also increasing privacy and reducing stigma.

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Innovation

Early in the coronavirus pandemic it became clear that a shortage of testing supplies was one of the bottlenecks that limited more expansive testing. Matthew Grayson, professor of electrical and computer engineering, assembled a team to design a patent-pending prototype for a nasal swab.

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swab diagram
An organization run by Northwestern students is working hard to keep Evanston’s small business owners afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is just one of several ways that Northwestern students are addressing needs in response to the pandemic.

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Lending a hand

“We Will” Update

When Northwestern researchers Chad Mirkin and David Walker ’14 PhD heard about the PPE shortage, their team sprang into action. They used a new 3D-printing technique they invented called “high-area rapid printing,” or HARP, to produce face shields at high volumes.

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3D printing
Researchers at Northwestern and the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab have developed a novel wearable device and custom data algorithms to catch early signs and symptoms associated with COVID-19 and to monitor patients as the illness progresses. It measures and interprets coughing, respiratory activity, heart rate and body temperature to uncover subtle but potentially lifesaving insights.

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neck device
To help reinvent the struggling industry, in 2018 the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications launched the Local News Initiative — a research and development project designed to improve audience engagement and strengthen business models. Alumni and industry leaders have stepped up to fund LNI’s reporting, data and research, which is conducted by students and faculty.

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In mid-March the University’s financial aid team began receiving a plethora of requests from undergraduate, graduate and professional school students in need of emergency financial assistance. Many needed help with unexpected travel costs, while the majority sought assistance to upgrade computers, internet service or other technology for remote learning.

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