A Message From Dr. Richard Friend, Dean of the College of Community Health Sciences

September 29, 2020

COVID-19 has kept University Medical Center extremely busy – caring for our patients and for The University of Alabama community.

We haven’t shut down or stopped at UMC. Our quality and compassionate care has continued during COVID-19, via telemedicine early on and now, once again, in-person in our clinics.

We have extended that same quality and compassionate care to the UA community, providing important and necessary COVID-19 testing and care to students, faculty and staff. It’s a service we are uniquely qualified to provide. And while there’s no playbook to follow, when you operate a medical practice and are a health-care college, and you are called upon, you answer the call.

Every one of our doctors, nurses and other health-care professionals, our faculty, staff and administrators have worked tirelessly since spring to test, provide care for and information about COVID-19 to the UA community, and to be a source of comfort and support for worried students and parents, faculty and staff.

Our employees continue to conduct campus re-entry testing each weekday for students, faculty and staff at Coleman Coliseum, as well as student exposure and symptomatic testing. At UMC, they provide exposure and symptomatic testing for UA faculty and staff. We estimate that to date, we have provided approximately 20,000 tests campus wide, including 2,500 at UMC.

In addition, we conduct geographic testing. When we learn that an area on campus has three or more positive COVID-19 cases, we travel to that site in our mobile medical unit and test everyone there.

Our doctors continue to reach out across campus to provide medical and health information about COVID-19, partnering with UA colleges and programs to help monitor health conditions and to answer questions about the virus. Our resident physicians provide daily, and nightly, outreach to students in quarantine. Our mental health-care providers work to ensure students, faculty and staff have a place to turn during these stressful and uncertain times.

Members of UMC leadership serve on UA COVID-19 response committees, providing valuable medical knowledge and insight to top UA administrators. Our physicians and faculty make themselves available to educate the UA and local community about COVID-19 through media interviews, UMC Town Halls and newsletters.

We’re headed in a good direction. Numbers show that positive COVID-19 cases are dropping across campus. Student quarantine capacity has not been exceeded.

It’s a tremendous accomplishment.

And through it all, our employees have continued to do their day jobs, ensuring that UMC patients are well cared for, educating the next generation of primary-care physicians through our medical student, resident, fellowship and graduate education programs, and conducting important and impactful research to improve health for the future.

I wouldn’t trade this team for anything.

The College of Community Health Sciences operates University Medical Center