To the Temple community:
The fight against COVID-19 is being waged in many ways in our city. We wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the actions being taken by you, the members of our Temple community. It would be impossible to detail every effort and thank every individual, but we wanted to shine a light on some of the amazing work being done by those associated with Philadelphia’s public university.
Treating the sick
Temple’s doctors, nurses and staff at Temple University Hospital, Jeanes and throughout the colleges and schools have been unrelenting in their efforts to treat patients with the coronavirus. We receive regular reports from those leading this effort and cannot express how deeply grateful we are to everyone who is on the front lines of this battle. Their efforts were part of a dramatic feature and video in Sunday’s Philadelphia Inquirer. Here are some additional ways in which Temple is leading the way in helping our city and our region.
- The Ambler Campus parking lot in Montgomery County became home to one of the first COVID-19 testing sites in the Commonwealth. For the past three weeks, this site has been a leader in providing testing for the disease to first responders and health professionals. We want to thank everyone at the Ambler Campus who has made this effort such a success, including those who helped outfit campus facilities with beds to accommodate National Guard troops and Temple Health personnel who need overnight places to stay.
- The Temporary Surge Facility in the Liacouras Center is preparing to accept its first patients. The dramatic transformation inside the arena has been breathtaking to witness. Equally impressive are the efforts of Temple staff, the Spectra management team, city Office of Emergency Management officials and a host of volunteers from around the region who are stepping up in this time of need.
- The mission of this surge medical facility will be to accommodate those who are in late stages of recovery from COVID-19 outside of the city’s hospitals. This allows the patients a place to complete their recovery before going home, while freeing critical beds in hospitals for those requiring more intensive treatment of the disease.
- We want to thank employees and students from our schools and colleges across the university who have volunteered to help set up and staff this vital facility. We want to especially recognize the Temple student nurses and medical students who have already made an impact at the facility. Creating a hospital at the Liacouras Center is a daunting effort. Each day, we have heard how Temple people have filled the void when a new need has been identified at the facility. We could not be more proud of you or more thankful for your selfless actions.
- To accommodate those medical volunteers and staff who need a place to rest, Morgan Hall North has been prepped as housing for Temple University Hospital staff and those working at the temporary surge facility. We owe these professionals our eternal thanks. Offering them the finest accommodations on campus is the least we can do to make their lives a little easier.
Making a difference
We have seen students, faculty and staff come up with great ways they can join the fight during this critical time.
- The team at the Temple University School of Pharmacy has generously made 450 gallons of hand sanitizer to be donated to Temple University Hospital. As you know, hand sanitizer has become difficult to find, and this effort will prove to be extremely valuable.
- Temple College of Engineering has organized a task force to support medical personnel with personal protective equipment (PPE) needs. Faculty, students and staff from across the university are using 3D printing and other methods of manufacturing to create face shields for use at Temple University Hospital. The first set of more than 1,000 shields was delivered last week, and more are in production.
- Temple University’s Chinese faculty and staff community, a group of 88 members, jumped on the chance to help fight the coronavirus pandemic. Multiple Temple University and Philadelphia Chinese organizations recently donated more than 81,000 PPE items to Temple University Hospital.
- We are also providing resources for those who are continuing their children’s education at home. For teachers and parents helping their students, we have available more than 160 free, open-source educational videos for children produced by faculty and students of our College of Science and Technology. Use of the videos has more than doubled in recent weeks.
- Temple’s Small Business Development Center, based in the Fox School of Business, is conducting online seminars to help small business owners cope with the challenges brought on by social distancing. The center is also planning future webinars for later this spring to help businesses build customer relations when they can reopen.
- Temple’s Computer Recycling Center and the Lenfest North Philadelphia Workforce Initiative are donating 50 refurbished computers and 40 new laptops to North Philadelphia residents. The computers will help local school children and their families stay connected now and in the future.
One of the unsung stories is the work by Temple researchers, who are tirelessly pursuing the best techniques and medications to help patients survive and recover from COVID-19.
- Much of this research is being overseen by Gerard Criner, chair of the Department of Thoracic Surgery and Medicine, a physician who is among the leaders of the Temple Lung Center and is one of the nation’s leading researchers in lung ailments. Many patients with severe cases of COVID-19 suffer from pneumonia that prevents their lungs from functioning properly, leading to death.
- Temple researchers are engaged in separate studies to evaluate the effectiveness of an antiviral drug in patients with moderate and severe COVID-19, compared against the standard treatment.
- There is also work being done using an antibody created to treat rheumatoid arthritis to determine its impact on coronavirus symptoms.
- In addition, researchers are also testing two compounds to assess their potential in suppressing virus replication in cases of COVID-19.
As you can see, Temple University is on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19. This list does not include the thousands of Temple alumni who are working across the country and around the world in this effort. We are deeply honored to be leading this university at a time when so many are working to change lives for the better everyday. To all of them, and to all of the university personnel everywhere who are making our world safer and healthier, we extend our deepest thanks.
Richard M. Englert
JoAnne A. Epps
Executive Vice President and Provost