- U P D A T E S -

U-CAN Updates

May 18, 2020 | Posted by the U-CAN Committee

Weekly Update: May 18, 2020

U-CAN Welcome

News from the University COVID Action Network

Thank you to all the new and existing U-CAN volunteer members that have signed up for the University COVID Action Network. We look forward to engaging you in new activities where your expertise is a match.

Learn more about U-CAN in a recent Profiles feature, The second line of defense, by the College of Veterinary Medicine.

We would also like to extend our gratitude to the Sheet Metal Workers Local Union 10 for their generous donation of nose pieces for our DIY mask makers.

U-CAN Update –

Supporting COVID-19 Response, Recovery and Resilience Efforts

Social Distancing in the Workplace
As workplaces begin to reopen this week, we are working on creating a source of safety plans for different types of working environments as examples for people to use. We are currently seeking to assemble a team of volunteers responsible for compiling and organizing the various developing plans in a mode that is accessible to the general public. Previously, we have provided some volunteers to help a team from the Department of Environmental Health & Safety to gather information related to identifying the best materials and designs for DIY masks and have helped gather information to support College lab hibernation planning.

White Earth Tribal College Request
Disruptions in the food chain on the White Earth Tribal Reservation is a growing concern. We are putting together a team of U-CAN volunteers and UMN partners who can help our partners at the White Earth Community College and UMN Crookston campuses write a grant proposal in the next 2 weeks to address food sovereignty in the community. Last week, we convened a group of experts in aquaponics, hydroponics or deep winter greenhouse to discuss the feasibility for using these innovative sustainability technologies, with plans to submit the first draft of the proposal by June 1. We envision that this team could provide guidance and training to this community to address their food insecurity concerns. Stay tuned as we assemble this grant-writing team this week.

U-CAN Mask Makers
We currently have over 40 volunteers who are sewing masks for UMN workers and community organizations. This past week we dropped off nearly 200 masks, and we are continuing to produce and donate these masks as workplaces reopen. We're also in the process of purchasing additional material (e.g. cloth, elastic, etc.) to aid our volunteers in sewing masks. If you're interested and have expertise in mask production and/or sewing from patterns and who have a sewing machine to help with these masks, join our U-CAN Mask Makers today! To volunteer for this opportunity, please sign up in this spreadsheet.

The University Health & Safety office has also created a webpage on Using Cloth Face Covers (Masks) that includes tips on types of cloth masks, how to put on and take off cloth masks, and the care and storage of cloth masks.

Home Slaughter Guidance
The COVID-19 pandemic is causing supply chain disruptions to the swine industries as well. Large processors are forced to close the door and small butchers and custom exempt slaughter houses are not able to take on this large volume of animals, so home slaughter can serve as an alternative option to ease the disruption. The Meat Science group at the U is taking the initiative to tackle this challenge. They are working on a video based presentation on step by step processing and other written communications to provide guidance on home slaughter.

Supporting Research with Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger and improve nutrition and food security. U-CAN is supporting FAO on the tailored reports for the research on food supply chain disruptions by consolidating media sources.

Updates and Useful Resources –

From Around the University of Minnesota

Envisioning the Future: Advancing human rights in a time of crisis
In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, how do we identify gaps in human rights protections nationally and internationally? How do we look beyond the immediate and necessary response to the crisis to identify the best strategies for advancing human rights long-term? The University of Minnesota Human Rights Lab, in collaboration with the Center for Global Health & Social Responsibility, is providing a space for scholars, practitioners, researchers, and advocates to explore these and related questions through its virtual series, Envisioning the Future: Advancing human rights in a time of crisis.

Events in the series are free, open to the public, and accessible via Zoom.

Balancing Rights and Responsibilities During the Pandemic and Beyond
Thursday, May 21, 2020 | 12:00-1:00p CT / 1:00-2:00p ET
More Information: z.umn.edu/envisioning-the-future

CIDRAP provides tips for effective COVID-19 messaging
"Effective COVID-19 crisis communication," the second report in a multipart series titled "COVID-19: The CIDRAP Viewpoint," was published by the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota. The report provides government and public health leaders, communications professionals, and others responsible for COVID-19 messaging with six key principles of delivering messages to the public.

Health in All Matters: A Misinformation Pandemic
Episode 8 of the School of Public Health podcast Health in All Matters features a number of experts discussing misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic. Misinformation and disinformation is causing confusion and, in some cases, death. The episode considers how to separate truth from lies and stop the spread of bad information.

Innovation Challenge: Tracking Coronavirus
The New York Academy of Sciences wants to bring together bright minds across institutions of higher education, like the University of Minnesota, to work on the Innovation Challenge: Tracking Coronavirus. Despite severe coronavirus outbreaks in the last 20 years research in this area has been slow. Now SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) has hit hard, exposing the lack of global and local preparedness for pandemics. COVID-19 infections and deaths have far surpassed those of SARS and MERS combined, and one of the biggest issues scientists now face is how to accurately predict the next disease hotspots.

They are inviting students 18 and over who are pursuing undergraduate, graduate, or postdoctoral degrees to design—either alone or with a team—a surveillance network to better understand the current pandemic and forecast future coronavirus outbreaks.

Solutions for this challenge are due by June 19th. After a first round evaluation, ten finalists will be selected to present their solutions during a virtual "Pitch Day" to their judging panel in July.

May 12, 2020 | Posted by the U-CAN Committee

Weekly Update: May 12, 2020

U-CAN Update –

Supporting COVID-19 response, recovery and resilience efforts

Supporting Research with Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

U-CAN is connecting with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to find ways to support the research looking at fake news/fake remedies and their relationship to cultural practices and beliefs. Some similar researches are going on here at the University of Minnesota. UCAN network will recruit a volunteer team to work with FAO on this matter. Volunteers who have signed up and with appropriate background will be reached out to form a project team.

Join U-CAN Mask Makers!

We have over 40 volunteers who are sewing masks for UMN workers and community organizations! As we finalize our entirely volunteer-led distribution, we are gearing up to drop off nearly 300 masks next week. We have also been working with volunteers who have expertise in hygiene engineering to test various materials for our mask production. If you're interested and have expertise in mask production and/or sewing from patterns and who have a sewing machine to help with these masks, join our U-CAN Mask Makers today! To volunteer for this opportunity, please sign up in this spreadsheet.

Social Distancing in the Workplace

As we embark on the university's Sunrise plan, U-CAN volunteers are working where requested with various departments around the university to support teams responsible for creating and implementing guidance regarding the safest possible practices in the workplace. So far, we have provided some volunteers to help a team from the Department of Environmental Health & Safety to gather information related to identifying the best materials and designs for DIY masks. We have also previously helped gather information to support College lab hibernation planning. Moving forward we will be collecting and linking to examples of safety plans for different types of working environments as examples for people to use.

White Earth Tribal College Request

Disruptions in the food chain on the White Earth Tribal Reservation is a growing concern. We are seeking to put together a team of U-CAN volunteers and UMN partners who are experts in aquaponics, hydroponics or deep winter greenhouse to conduct a feasibility study as quickly as possible in order to apply for a grant that can fund a food sovereignty program on the reservation. We envision that this team could provide guidance and training to this community to address their food insecurity concerns.

Home Slaughter Guidance

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing supply chain disruptions to the swine industries as well. Large processors are forced to close the door and small butchers and custom exempt slaughter houses are not able to take on this large volume of animals, so home slaughter can serve as an alternative option to ease the disruption. The Meat Science group at the U is taking the initiative to provide guidance on home slaughter. UCAN is connecting the communities who need the knowledge with the experts at the U.

Mask Decontamination Boxes for Frontline Workers

The University’s College of Design’s Fabrication Shops team designed and fabricated cardboard decontamination boxes for University hospital worker masks. U-CAN volunteers stepped up to help assemble over 300 of the laser-cut boxes and tops.

Help Students Return to Clinical Settings

We are looking for U-CAN volunteers to help create or identify training materials as a precursor to students returning to clinical settings. Our goal is to obtain educational materials on the following topics: infection control and prevention, personal protective equipment (PPE), N95 Masks, handwashing, respiratory etiquette, isolation and quarantine, high risk procedures, emotional health / self-care / vicarious trauma, communication skills (informed consent, breaking bad news). Interested in identifying or creating training materials? Please add your name to this spreadsheet.

Updates and Useful Resources –

From Around the University of Minnesota

U of M students looking for remote service opportunities

Do you or your community partner know of a community need that might be fulfilled by a University of Minnesota student? The Office for Public Engagement would like to connect students seeking service opportunities, especially students looking to fulfill academic program/course requirements, with organizations in need of materials or volunteers. Please submit needs and opportunities using this form.

Other Volunteer Opportunities

From Around the University of Minnesota

Medical Reserve Corps

The University of Minnesota Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) program is part of a national initiative to mobilize and coordinate volunteers at the local level to assist in the event of a public health crisis or large scale disaster. The MRC program provides a structure to pre- identify, train, credential and organize medical and public health professionals, as well as non-clinical personnel to supplement and support health emergency response systems. At the U of M any student, faculty, or staff member in the Health Sciences, Boynton Health, or mental health professional in Student Counseling Services is welcome to join the program.


May 4, 2020 | Posted by the U-CAN Committee

Weekly Update: May 4, 2020

U-CAN Update –

Supporting COVID-19 response, recovery and resilience efforts

Join U-CAN Mask Makers!

We’re continuing to work with our volunteers who have signed up for U-CAN Mask Makers to produce cloth masks for UMN workers and community organizations, and are excited to have our first drop-off early next week (of roughly 200 masks)! We’re still looking for more volunteers with expertise in mask production and/or sewing from patterns and who have a sewing machine to help with these masks. Join our U-CAN Mask Makers today! To volunteer for this opportunity, please sign up in this spreadsheet.

Supporting research with Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

UCAN is working with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to find ways to support the research looking at fake news/fake remedies and their relationship to cultural practices and beliefs. Volunteer recruiting will be open when project details are available.

Mask and Box Folding

We are working with interdisciplinary teams from the School of Design, Medical School, Engineering, MHealth to help support the folding production of procedural face masks and specialty boxes for mask re-use. Stay tuned for requests for volunteers for these tasks!

Social Distancing in the Workplace

As the university and world open up, there will be an increasing need to understand and support the safest possible practices in the workplace. Leadership at the University and in the state are working hard to create guidance and protocols to assure a smooth and safe transition. Where requested, U-CAN volunteers are working to support teams responsible for creating and implementing guidance. For example, we are providing some volunteers to help a team from the Department of Environmental Health & Safety to gather information related to identifying the best materials and designs for DIY masks. We have also previously helped gather information to support College lab hibernation planning.

Federal Agency Proposal Requests for COVID-19 Related Research

COVID-19 is an unprecedented global crisis and will require an unprecedented response. In response, many federal agencies have issued special requests for proposals for research or have modified existing ones to incorporate COVID-19 related work. University of Minnesota researchers are well-positioned to successfully respond to these calls. The University COVID Action Network (U-CAN) under the Strategic Partnerships and Research Collaborative (SPARC) hosted a Zoom Collision Incubator Event on Thursday, April 30 from 2-3:00 pm to highlight three opportunities. If you were unable to attend the meeting, please feel free to view the presentation recording or download the slides.

Updates and Useful Resources –

From Around the University of Minnesota

University of Minnesota Sunrise Plan

The University of Minnesota is closely monitoring the emerging public health concern involving the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Last week, the University of Minnesota released it’s Sunrise Plan to determine which employees can work on site.

Funds for COVID-19 Relief

To address urgent needs related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University established three new funds focused on providing COVID-19 relief to core priorities.

UMN Pandemic-Related Curriculum

The University of Minnesota launched a system-wide Pandemic-Related Curriculum for summer 2020. This suite of courses is available to all students interested in understanding and responding to pandemics. The courses are offered by faculty from across the University of Minnesota system who bring diverse disciplinary expertise to the circumstances that face society and impact our University of Minnesota community of students, faculty, and staff around the world.

Health In All Matters Podcast – COVID-19: When a pandemic sweeps the modern world

Health In All Matters is a weekly podcast produced by the University of Minnesota School of Public Health to bring more understanding of public health challenges across the globe and close to home. They include expert voices from their faculty and their colleagues around the world. Our premier series focuses on COVID-19 and the many issues it brings into question, such as transmission and prevention, life in a pandemic, loneliness and mental health, and the medical supply chain.

Support for Online/Virtual/Remote Teaching and Learning

Need help with your Zoom meetings, classes or conferences? The University of Minnesota’s Information Technology group is a great place to start. They have Zoom self-help guides and other resources, as well as very knowledgeable staff who are available by phone (612-301-4367) or chat.

Additional information about the University’s IT resources for online/virtual/remote teaching and learning can be found here.

The Center for Educational Innovation (CEI) offers excellent teaching and learning resources - many related to online/virtual/remote teaching and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, including

  • CEI is hosting a series of daily online consultations and timely topic discussions - "Drop in with one quick question or for a longer conversation with consultants from the Center for Educational Innovation. We’ll address your most pressing questions and concerns, as well as share practical ideas for remote teaching and learning that is manageable for both you and the learners in your courses." Staff are also available for individual consultations.

  • The CEI COVID-19 site addresses issues such as "How can I stay connected to my students (and keep them connected with each other)?" "What are some alternatives to Canvas and Zoom?" and "What creative solutions are available for courses with labs, studios, or clinicals?"

The Provost has also posted a COVID-19 Academic Planning FAQ web page with additional resources related to teaching and learning.

Upcoming University and Community Events

What It Means to be Part of the Community in a Pandemic: The Ethics of Social Distancing, Rationing, and Crisis Standards

Monday, May 4 | 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm CDT

The COVID-19 pandemic has stressed community resources, created significant economic hardships, and is resulting in the deaths of thousands of Americans. To minimize those harms, Minnesota has implemented unprecedented social distancing measures and has closed certain types of businesses statewide. At the same time, hospitals and health care systems are planning to ration care if scarcity arises. This presentation will examine how we share burdens and benefits in a pandemic, ranging from population-based interventions like social distancing to implementing crisis standards of care in hospitals. Presenters will discuss approaches to deciding what kinds of public health interventions are justifiable in the context of a pandemic, and some of the challenging decisions that lie ahead for policymakers and health care providers.

April 27, 2020 | Posted by the U-CAN Committee

Volunteers and Donations for Mask Production

Attention Twin Cities community: U-CAN (University COVID-19 Action Network) is rallying volunteers to make and distribute DIY masks for UMN and community needs.We are gathering recommended mask patterns and developing plans for mask production and distribution, however we need your help: please consider donating cloth and elastic to support these efforts! Email us at sparc@umn.edu if you would like more information. While these masks offer protection when PPE is scarce, please remember the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to practice social distancing. Together, we-CAN make a difference!

April 27, 2020 | Posted by the U-CAN Committee

Weekly Update: April 27, 2020

U-CAN Update –

Supporting COVID-19 response, recovery and resilience efforts

COVID-19 is an unprecedented global crisis and will require an unprecedented response. In response, many federal agencies have issued special requests for proposals for research or have modified existing ones to incorporate COVID-19 related work. University of Minnesota researchers are well-positioned to successfully respond to these calls. The University COVID Action Network (U-CAN) under the Strategic Partnerships and Research Collaborative (SPARC) will host a Zoom Collision Incubator Event on Thursday, April 30 from 2-3:00 pm to highlight three opportunities. At this Collision Incubator we will review the requirements of these opportunities and strategies for crafting successful proposals. Attendees will have the opportunity to brainstorm ideas and seek potential partners for interdisciplinary teams.

Task Milestones:

Food supply chain risk and threats: The Food Protection and Defense Institute requested help responding to a need from the Department of Homeland Security to understand potential risks and disruptions in the food supply chain.

Milestone: 6 students recruited to support collecting perishable data from the internet on food supply chain disruptions.

Distributed Pandemic Resources Access Collaborative (DPRAC): An transdisciplinary team led by faculty from the College of Design requested support to identify a potential collaborator in health sciences to inform the development of a distributed resource and supply community-support platform.

Milestone: Connected the DPRAC team with Jeannie Pfeiffer from the College of Nursing and also with the SPARC office to advise on seeking potential funding moving forward.

Legal Frameworks Lecture: Faculty from the Medical School requested support to identify a policy/legal expert to provide a lecture in their course on legal and policy frameworks in pandemics. The OACA office then asked to have this lecture recorded to circulate more widely.

Milestone: Connected team to Joel Wu, Clinical Ethics Adjunct Professor at the Center for Bioethics and Lecturer in the School of Public Health.

Essential Supply Organization: It’s an non-profit organization started by Stanford University aiming to combat COVID-19 by empowering community delivery organizations to serve the senior and immunocompromised neighbors across America. They requested volunteers to help with call center and engineering development of their platform.

Resolution: We asked them to send descriptions of the voluntary work and expectations for the candidates. We are now only comfortable recruiting volunteers for tasks that they can complete at home without going out of their house.

Highlights of Active Tasks:

Use Your Sewing Skills to Create Masks for Our Frontline Health Workers

We need you and your materials! As we move into a new phase in the Minnesota COVID response, we need your help keeping our workforce and citizens safe! With the governor’s announcement on Thursday, our Vice President of Research has indicated a need to provide UMN workers with cloth masks as they begin to re-enter the workplace as early as this week. At the same time, we will be working with community organizations to make sure the state’s most vulnerable citizens and front-line workers have the protective equipment they need moving forward. We are beginning to produce masks with the help of those who’ve signed up, but are looking for more volunteers with expertise in mask production and/or sewing from patterns and who have a sewing machine to help with these masks. Join our U-CAN Mask Makers today! To volunteer for this opportunity, please sign up in this spreadsheet.

Updates and Useful Resources –

From Around the University of Minnesota

OPE offers community members, University staff and students online ways to connect to University resources

The Office for Public Engagement is encouraging community members and University faculty, staff, and students to connect with University resources and expertise through two simple online forms. Making Connections—Making a Difference offers community members and University faculty, staff, and students a way to ask questions and offers ideas about University-community collaborations focused on COVID-19. Connect with a University Partner helps community members connect with University resources on longer-term projects and topics beyond the current pandemic. See links below.

COVID-19: Making Connections—Making a Difference

Have a question, idea, opportunity, or need related to COVID-19 activities that can be addressed through a University-community collaboration? Fill out the form below and an Office for Public Engagement staffer will respond to your query.

Connect with a University Partner

Have an idea for a partnership with the University of Minnesota, but not sure where to start? Fill out the form below and a Office for Public Engagement staffer will respond to your request with additional information.

Other Volunteer and Employment Opportunities

Essential Supply

Essential Supply is non-profit dedicated to making life easier for organizations facilitating deliveries of groceries and supplies to at-risk populations as a result of COVID-19. We build tools and platforms that help delivery organizations serve aging and immunocompromised Americans including a web platform, hotline (aimed at older individuals), low-tech contactless payment solutions, and more.

What we need: Volunteers to help staff our virtual call center a few hours a week to facilitate deliveries to customers across the country with a variety of partner organizations

If you or anyone you know would like to help: Please visit our website, click "Volunteer," and fill out the form that follows.

Student Work Opportunity-N95 Alternative Mask Production Project

You are invited to be a participant in a project to produce thousands of N95 Alternative Masks. This COVID-19 mask project is a collaboration between an amazing team from the College of Design, Mechanical Engineering, Chemistry and the Medical School.

Upcoming University and Community Events

Strategies for Supporting Community-Engaged Research and Teaching During COVID-19 — April 30 through May 26

The University's Office for Public Engagement (OPE) is hosting a continuing series of virtual discussions for University faculty, staff, and students systemwide on strategies OPE and other University units can use to continue to support community-engaged research and teaching while also supporting the University's community partners during COVID-19.

All discussions will take place via Zoom. Upcoming dates and topics follow:

  • Community-Engaged Teaching Strategies during COVID-19
    11:30 am. Thursday April 30

  • Community-Engaged Research Strategies during COVID-19
    2:30 p.m. Monday May 4

  • Community-Engaged Teaching Strategies during COVID-19
    1:30 p.m. Monday May 11

  • Supporting Community Partners during COVID-19
    1 p.m. Wednesday May 13

  • Community-Engaged Research Strategies during COVID-19
    11:30 a.m. Wednesday May 20

  • Community-Engaged Teaching Strategies during COVID-19
    1 p.m. Tuesday May 26th

Envisioning the Future: Advancing human rights in a time of crisis — April 30, 2020

In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, how do we identify gaps in human rights protections nationally and internationally? How do we look beyond the immediate and necessary response to the crisis to identify the best strategies for advancing human rights long-term?

The University of Minnesota Human Rights Lab, in collaboration with the Center for Global Health & Social Responsibility, is providing a space for scholars, practitioners, researchers, and advocates to explore these and related questions through its virtual series, Envisioning the Future: Advancing human rights in a time of crisis.

  • Revisiting the Right to Health: State responsibility for the highest attainable standard of health in a post-COVID world
    Thursday, April 30, 2020 from 12:00-1:00pm CT

Events in the series are free, open to the public, and accessible via Zoom.

People & Planet: Conversations at the Intersection of Covid-19 and the Environment

As our lives have been turned upside down, there is growing recognition that the novel coronavirus has changed our world in ways we’re only beginning to comprehend, from clarifying priorities to laying bare our interconnectedness. As we navigate what’s yet to come, there are critical questions: How did we get here? What can we learn? And where can we go from here? Join the Institute on the Environment (IonE) for a series of hosted digital forums with guests from the IonE community who will explore the intersections of COVID-19 and our changing global environment.

  • Planetary Health: Framing the Future
    Wednesday, April 29, 12:00 pm CST

  • Biodiversity Loss and Wildlife: Preventing the Next Pandemic
    Date and time to be announced soon.

These streaming conversations are free and open to all.

April 17, 2020 | Posted by the U-CAN Committee

Weekly Update: April 17, 2020

U-CAN Update:

COVID in the Workplace: Understanding and managing risk

We are working on a number of questions and requests related to understanding and managing COVID risk in active work environments. This has included helping compile guidance and model protocols to inform colleges on social distancing for labs doing active COVID-19 research. We are also providing some student support to help begin to understand the impact of COVID-19 on workforce continuity in the food chain.

SPARC Collision Incubator on COVID-19 Funding

COVID-19 is an unprecedented global crisis and will require an unprecedented response. In response, many US Government and private funders have issued special calls for research, education and community engagement projects to help our country, state and university respond and recover from this emergency. The faculty at the University of Minnesota are well positioned to receive this funding, a critical step in our own recovery and long-term resilience. However, these calls are unusual and often issued on short timelines.

To help faculty navigate and pursue this changing landscape of funding, the U-CAN under the Strategic Partnerships and Research Collaborative (SPARC) hosted an online Collision Incubator Event this week. If you were unable to attend the webinar, please feel free to view the presentation recording or download the slides. For more information on COVID-19 related funding sources, we have collected a list of funding opportunities on our website and the University of Minnesota's Corporate & Foundation Relations office has put together a list of current requests for COVID-related proposals from private foundations.

SPARC and U-CAN plan to host several Collision events like this over the next few weeks with targeted areas of focus.

Add Your Resource Group to the University COVID Action Network

We had an overwhelming response to U-CAN during our first week and we want to thank you for your efforts and enthusiasm for this network. We realized that there are a number of resource groups at the University of Minnesota that would like to join the network and that can be called upon for certain COVID-19 initiatives regarding response, recovery, and resilience. To that end, we also created a U-CAN Resource Group form where groups can join our list of centers, departments, colleges, and other groups at the U that are willing and able to take on some of these initiatives.

Use Your Sewing Skills to Create Masks for Our Frontline Health Workers

We are in discussions with the Office of Academic Clinical Affairs and some community groups about the possibility of supporting DIY mask production as coverings for N95 masks in the clinic, for essential workers here at the University and, potentially, for community health care organizations and long-term care facilities. We are looking for volunteers with expertise in mask production and/or sewing from patterns and who have a sewing machine to help with these masks in case the opportunity does come through. To volunteer for this opportunity, please sign up in this spreadsheet.

Volunteer with the University COVID Action Network

We are recruiting some help to move this network forward. Early this week, we sent out an email to look for volunteers with expertise in communications and project management. We received a number of excellent responses to the call. We have a few spots left if you are still interested in joining. To volunteer for these current opportunities, please sign up in this spreadsheet and submit a resume to sparc@umn.edu. Each position has space to sign up three people for 3 months at a time. Of these 3 people, we will select 1 volunteer as primary and the other two will be alternate volunteers for that position. Slots will be filled on a first come first served basis and the selection of primary versus alternate volunteer will be made based on the individual’s qualifications for the specific job. We would ask that you commit 10 hours a week if you can to the position.

University and Community Updates and Useful Resources:

A group from UMN CVM has led the creation of an Ape Disease HUB to support the conservation and non human primate sanctuary community in managing the disease interface between humans and apes.

Interested in working on environmental sustainability issues? The Institute on the Environment is accepting applications for Summer 2020 and Fall 2020 internships,or you can propose your own sustainability leadership project $5000! Check out our website for details, as well as instructions and eligibility.

UCAN supported OACA in creating their curated COVID-19 Clinical Training Resources on their COVID-19 Update Website

Upcoming University and Community Events:

Sing along with MPR tonight at 5:53

Minnesota Public Radio invites everyone across the state to join in Bring the Sing Home, a moment of song, on Friday, April 17, at 5:53 p.m. At that time, Minnesotans everywhere are encouraged to step outside their front door or open a window to join their neighbors in a mass rendition of Carole King's "You've Got a Friend."

Strategies for Leading and Sustaining Community Partnerships during COVID-19: Featuring the U of M Public Engagement Network and members of the Campus-Community Liaison Council

Wednesday, April 22, 1:00 - 2:00 PM | Office for Public Engagement

RSVP by close of business April 20 to receive the ZOOM call-in link.

Global Venture Design: What Impact Will You Have?

Are you seeking ways to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact in meaningful ways? In this class you will work in interdisciplinary teams to develop entrepreneurial responses to current social and environmental problems while developing the tools, mindsets and skills that can help you be a leader in addressing any complex grand challenge.

Our Weekly Updates are available on our website. If you would like to share a university community update, opportunity, or event related to COVID-19 in the Weekly Update, please email us at sparc@umn.edu.

April 15, 2020 | Posted by the U-CAN Committee

Volunteer Opportunity: Mask Production

Dear U-CAN volunteers,

We are in discussions with the Office of Clinical Affairs and some community groups about the possibility of supporting DIY mask production as coverings for N95 masks in the clinic, for essential workers here at the University and, potentially, for community health care organizations and long-term care facilities. We are looking for volunteers with expertise in mask production and/or sewing from patterns and who have a sewing machine to help with these masks in case the opportunity does come through. To volunteer for this opportunity, please sign up in this spreadsheet.

As always, we acknowledge that you are volunteering your time while balancing employment, personal, and academic responsibilities. We would ask that you not sacrifice your other duties to fulfill your responsibilities to U-CAN. We are flexible in our expectations of your availability and commitment.

We greatly appreciate your willingness to help our university, state and communities respond and recover from COVID! Thank you for your service!

Take good care,

The U-CAN team

April 14, 2020 | Posted by the U-CAN Committee

Learn More About COVID-19 Funding Opportunities

COVID-19 is an unprecedented global crisis and will require an unprecedented response. In response, many US Government and private funders have issued special calls for research, education and community engagement projects to help our country, state and university respond and recover from this emergency. The faculty at the University of Minnesota are well positioned to receive this funding, a critical step in our own recovery and long-term resilience. However, these calls are unusual and often issued on short timelines.

To help faculty navigate and pursue this changing landscape of funding, the University COVID Action Network (U-CAN) under the Strategic Partnerships and Research Collaborative (SPARC) hosted a Collision Incubator Event on Tuesday, April 14, 2020 online.

Goals of the Collision Incubator:

1. To review current COVID-19 funding calls

2. To strategically bring interdisciplinary teams of faculty together for high impact COVID work

3. To help faculty find appropriate calls to their area of expertise.

4. To support teams to submit proposals to likely calls.

View the recording of the presentation and download the slides here.

SPARC supports UMN faculty and students to fund and manage large-scale and muti-college work. Recently established under SPARC, the U-CAN is a grassroots coalition of willing faculty, staff and students focused on helping the front-line heroes at the University, state and country respond and recover from the COVID Pandemic.

April 13, 2020 | Posted by the U-CAN Committee

Welcome to the University COVID Action Network

Dear U-CAN Volunteers,

Thank you for signing up to provide technical support and expertise to the University of Minnesota community during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this time of crisis, it is especially important for us to work together to both support the response and facilitate long term recovery and resilience.

We are astounded by the overwhelming response to our call for University COVID Action Network volunteers. You comprise a coalition of over 380 students, staff, faculty, and administrators from three University of Minnesota campuses and over 50 offices, centers, and schools. Your areas of expertise are far-reaching and wide-ranging.

In the past week and a half, we have responded to 10 inquiries from parents of students, researchers, administrators, and faculty. We anticipate that an influx of requests will continue.

How will you be involved?

We are an all volunteer network, so we will identify tasks at the university, in our state, and beyond that are helpful in supporting our front line workers, leaders, and communities in response and recovery from this crisis. These tasks and projects are not front line or official response work. That is the job of the official state, and university-led response teams.

We are signing up for jobs important to response and recovery that the front line is too busy or strapped to do. If you are a healthcare worker or in a field related to direct health care response and are interested in potential deployment to support the official response, you might be eligible to join the Medical Reserve Corps. You can sign up here. You can be on both volunteer networks as well.

As we identify tasks and needs for the U-CAN volunteer network, we will recruit your help and engage you in several ways.

  1. If we receive a request that requires your specific expertise, we may contact you directly with further information.

  2. If we receive a request that requires a range of expertise, we will email a specific job description and sign up sheet or announce it in our regular emails. Any volunteer with the needed skills (student, staff, faculty) is encouraged to sign up.

  3. We will share both regular updates about what we are doing and opportunities you may be interested in.

  4. We will be hosting events and exercises periodically to foster communication and collaboration and inform good work around COVID-19.

We will begin recruiting for opportunities during the week of April 13.

Thank you again for your dedication to this evolving effort. Please visit ucan.umn.edu for regular updates and watch for further opportunities in your email inbox.

Sincerely,

U-CAN Core Committee

March 29, 2020 | Posted by the U-CAN Committee

Introducing the University COVID Action Network

COVID-19 is an unprecedented global crisis. Inevitably, there are many gaps and needs emerging at the University, state, national, and global levels as we respond, react and recover. We are grateful to our University of Minnesota leadership in this time of crisis for their efforts. We also recognize that the challenge is large and the current emergency will surely require the entire breadth and depth of expertise at all UMN campuses. To help organize and mobilize this support, we are forming a coalition of dedicated faculty, staff and students to help those on the front lines address these needs and gaps as a ‘second line’ or ‘bench’ to draw upon as needed. Through this University COVID Action Network (U-CAN) we hope to efficiently and effectively leverage our work to support our collective response now, and our resilience and recovery in the months ahead.

For the past two weeks, we have met daily with over 50 faculty and staff from across the university and multiple UMN campuses to understand how this network can potentially support University and Minnesota Stakeholders. To that end, we have collectively identified three major areas of work that we can support moving forward.

Connect, communicate, and foster solutions across the university. Members have found value in having a dedicated venue to share needs, gaps and solutions across offices and disciplines. We are creating a virtual space where diverse ‘front’ and ‘second’ line members can support each other, share lessons learned and mobilize help. This will include three weekly debrief calls: one all-member meeting, one research/government needs meeting and one training/outreach meeting.

Serve as a technical and informational back-up and support for frontline internal and external stakeholders in meeting their priority needs. Those on the front lines are rapidly identifying needs and gaps, but often do not have the bandwidth to create and deliver important information and innovative solutions while providing front line response. We will create a supply chain of expertise to internal and external frontline responders to help find needed resources, provide information and, where needed, develop new solutions and materials to address gaps that will increase the speed and effectiveness of the response and recovery.

Engaging the U-CAN members to develop high impact programs/projects to submit for funding as calls emerge. We will work with faculty teams to brainstorm new ideas for potential research, training and outreach programs that will support a better understanding of COVID-19 and establish new solutions to the many challenges we face ahead. We will support these teams to raise funds through competitive grants and recruitment of private sector and government funds for long-term program growth.

To achieve these aims, our first concrete actions will be to:

  • Establish a virtual clearing house that will monitor and link a roster of willing expertise at UMN to submitted and known tasks and needs on the front line.

  • Organize three targeted weekly calls on different subjects for the greater COVID response community to debrief lessons learned, share needs, and facilitate meeting those needs.

  • As needed, establish an online repository of developed tools and resources for people to access - or identify and support the creation of repositories for these materials with other UMN entities.

  • Foster research and program teams to seek funding through existing and upcoming proposal calls through SPARC Collision events, team formation and support and other strategic support.

Questions? Please contact Katey Pelican (pelicank@umn.edu) or Dominic Travis (datravis@umn.edu)