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Our Year in Review

Click to learn more about what we've been working on in each of these areas:

Chair's Message

Though the entirety of the 2020-2021 academic year was during the COVID-19 pandemic, our department met with many successes. We recruited and promoted many faculty despite the challenges everyone was facing. We welcomed new residents and fellows and then mastered Zoom interviews to meet those who would be our new trainees in the following year. And we continue to expand our clinical volumes, providing much-needed care to the entire region.

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In addition to making telehealth part of routine healthcare, we adapted to make more surgeries outpatient and shortened postpartum stays to 1-2 days to assure adequate space and staff remained available for our patients when one of our OB inpatient units was needed to care for COVID patients awaiting discharge. We also upgraded the OB operating rooms and 3-1400 front desk at Strong and converted the OB triage areas at both Highland and Strong into OB/Gyn Emergency Departments.

When COVID vaccination became available in December 2020, itwas rapidly distributed to health care workers, those at greatest risk due to age and underlying health condition and then the general public. So many of our faculty and staff worked to expand vaccine administration and decrease vaccine hesitancy to protect our patients, families, neighbors and community. There were, of course, challenges as well. We lived through travel restrictions, changes to hospital visitation,

remote learning for our families and remote teaching for us. Logging ourpotential COVID symptoms and exposures through an online “Dr. Chatbot” became routine. OR’s opened up over the summer of 2020 only to shut down a bit more selectively in the winter of 2021 as a new surge hit our areaand our ICUs filled to past capacity. Comparing the COVID-19 pandemic to the influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 we worried that surges would continue. In retrospect, the similarities are striking.

Deaths from COVID-19 2020 - 2021 Graph
Deaths from 1918-1919 Flu Graph

In addition to the stress of COVID-19, our community and the country grappled with systemic racism when video footage of the arrest of Daniel Prude was released. Our Department’s Progress Team put together an online course, Dismantling Racism, which allowed our faculty to better understand how racism impacts health care, academics and society and how we can improve. So many more of the contributions of our Department are reflected in this report. Despite all of the hardships our faculty, staff and trainees have experienced this year, I am so impressed by all they have accomplished.

Residents cheer on a colleague during the Laparoscopic Olympics event