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Health & Science

We were only 15 minutes into our lab meeting when my single tear became what Oprah calls “the ugly cry.” My graduate students are therapists in training at the Family Institute at Northwestern, so they met my wave of emotion with empathy. I felt embarrassed, nonetheless.

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How should internet service providers keep their employees safe from COVID-19? When should a retail warehouse close?

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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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Hearing Aides

Spring 2020
Last August, Northwestern audiology graduate students made the trek to Nuevo Progreso in western Guatemala to provide comprehensive care for the local residents. Over the course of four more-than-12-hour days, eight students worked alongside four professional audiologists to perform diagnostic testing and hearing-aid fittings.

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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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Desmond Wang reached out to alumni affiliated with the NU Club of Beijing to launch a fundraiser. In less than two weeks, Wang led an international effort that resulted in the donation of more than 5,500 N95 masks and two iPads to Northwestern Memorial Hospital — and a contribution of nearly $14,000 to Northwestern Medicine’s COVID-19 Relief Fund to give the hospital flexibility as its needs evolve.

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PPE donation
Amy Rosenzweig picks up a Rubik’s Cube–like paperweight with a colorful, spiral structure printed on one side. “This side commemorates that I determined the complicated structure of a protein in graduate school, which ended up launching my career in chemistry,” says Rosenzweig, who holds joint appointments in chemistry and molecular biosciences in Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.

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When hospital leaders across Chicago wanted to know if providing housing to the city’s homeless individuals reduced their use of the emergency room and increased their use of primary care services, they turned to a collaboration brought together by the Feinberg School of Medicine’s Center for Health Information Partnerships (CHIP). “We knew from prior work that homeless patients are the most likely to seek care across multiple institutions,” says CHIP director Abel Kho, “and this fragmented care and lack of social support leads to poor health outcomes.” By linking data on Chicago’s homeless individuals with clinical data across multiple hospital and health care centers citywide, the collaborative team was able to determine the immense impact of housing on health.

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Using South African Radio Astronomy Observatory’s MeerKAT telescope, professor Farhad Yusef-Zadeh and an international team of researchers discovered a gigantic, balloon-like structure in the center of the Milky Way. The newly spotted pair of radio-emitting bubbles spans hundreds of light-years.

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Sahar Jamal, founder of Maziwa, is creating a battery-powered breast pump so new mothers in East Africa can return to work. Maziwa’s design includes a cooler and pump so that women can collect and store breast milk even if they have no access to electricity or refrigeration, and the pump’s sleek, compact design also allows women to pump more discreetly.

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