Please click here for the latest information regarding Benedictine University's response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
I'm currently the epidemiologist for the Wayne County Dept. of Health, Human & Veterans Services (Wayne County, MI). We reported our first laboratory-confirmed case of COVID-19 on March 10th, and have since grown to 1,655 cases and 45 deaths as of March 31st. I am primarily responsible for disease surveillance and investigations. Due to the sheer volume of new cases being reported on a daily basis, our disease control efforts are primarily focused on high-risk occupations (health care workers, police, fire, EMS) and those living in congregate settings (LTAC, SNF, AFC homes, jails, prisons, etc.). While cases have exploded in March, my work on COVID-19 actually began in January 2020 when we partially-activated our Public Health Operations Center, in conjunction with our Emergency Preparedness colleagues, in response to the outbreaks in China and other countries overseas. Beginning in March, our PHOC has gone into full-activation mode.
It is an immense collaborative effort and we have amazing partnerships with the state of Michigan health department, as well as our regional local partners in the Metro Detroit region. We are a highly interconnected metro area, so it is not unusual for a case to live in one county, but work in another. Our large hospital and healthcare systems have also been extremely proactive in their response to this pandemic, setting up curbside and "pop-up" testing sites in a matter of weeks, as well as developing their own, in-house COVID-19 testing capacities, which relieved pressure on our state public health laboratory.
I'd like to give a shoutout to all BenU alumni nurses, epidemiologists, infection control professionals, doctors, and all other healthcare professionals working during this pandemic. It moves so incredibly fast. Thank you for all your hard work!
Lukas Ayers, BS, MPH
Benedictine University, Class of 2017
Jackie Bender, MSN/MBA in progress
Emergency Department Nurse, Pediatric Emergency Trauma Department in Northern New Jersey
I have been an Emergency Department nurse for five years and for a little over two years I have been working in a busy Pediatric Emergency Trauma Department in Northern New Jersey. We are currently expanding our patient population from ages 21 and under to 35 and under. Our unit is still fully functioning with our normal pediatric patients, but now have a huge influx of COVID19 patients. I am proud to serve my community and care for the pediatric population. I am currently working towards my dual degrees (MSN/MBA) and hope to be a nurse administrator in the future. Benedictine University and the faculty have supported me throughout my journey, especially through these difficult times. Thank you to everyone working on the front lines during this pandemic!
I am working with the LA County Department of Public Health in their Vaccine Preventable Disease Control Program. Our department, the Immunization Coalition, works with community partners on improving vaccination coverage in LA. Currently, we are doing a study on the Immunization Policies and Practices at Community Based Adult Services Centers (CBAS). These centers serve aging adults and adults with disabilities. Before the pandemic, our study was looking at whether these centers, which serve about 22,000 adults in LA County, had policies for screening for vaccine preventable diseases in their participants or staff. Preliminary results have shown that there are very few that check for the recommended vaccinations - including influenza and pneumococcal disease which disproportionately affect our study population. Now that we are in the midst of a pandemic, knowing whether these centers are looking at the vaccination status is of even greater importance. When the analysis is complete, in the next two months, my team hopes to make policy recommendations to help increase this vaccination screening. Not only will this information be vital if/when there is a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine, it is also important for the continued care of the staff, participants, and family members who work with these CBAS centers.
On a personal note, working in a public health department during a pandemic has been both meaningful and frustrating. I am so grateful to be doing something to help, but I wish I could do more. I am so impressed with the calm urgency in how the Department of Public Health is helping with the pandemic, how they ramped up all their efforts and pivoted to working from home at all hours to analyze data, translate information, and educate the public. It is amazing to also see that none of their existing projects have fallen by the wayside, we still are still monitoring air quality, tracking food-borne illnesses, working on preteen vaccines, and tracking the flu. All my training at Benedictine University has prepared me well for this experience and I am ready to take the next step.
My masters in nursing leadership has equipped me with the tools to support my staff and prepare for the changes the next few months may bring to healthcare and the country. As a returning graduate student pursuing my MBA at Benedictine during this crisis, I have felt very supported by the faculty as they guide us through necessary curriculum changes to ensure we receive a quality experience. I am thankful for my Benedictine education and faculty as we navigate these changing times.
My name is Shannon Roussy, I am an alumna of the Benedictine MPH program. I wanted to share my current experience with the pandemic response.
I work as a community health center in Washington state as the health educator. Washington, specifically the Seattle area, has quite a large number of cases and in order to better serve our patients we have transitioned all care to telemedicine visits until further notice.
My role has allowed me to reach out to patients, particularly our Spanish-speaking patients, who maybe be under-informed about the pandemic and ensure that they fully understand social distancing measures, the stay home order, and how the symptoms differentiate from the regular flu or common cold.
While I’m not on the front lines addressing the pandemic like our medical staff, I feel that my efforts have helped aid out patient population and community into better understanding the crisis at hand and ensure that they are prepared for what is happening.
Shannon Roussy, MPH, CHES
I started the MSN program in August of 2019 and have had such a great experience thus far so I thought I would share my testimonial to Benedictine University's MSN program! Benedictine University and its MSN faculty have been nothing short of supportive of their students during this surreal and trying time. I am so grateful to be attending a university that cares so much about the success of their students as well as their health and safety.
As an employee of the Illinois Department of Public Health I work with healthcare coalitions consisting of hospitals, local health departments, Emergency Management, EMS, and many others to prepare our state and the locals to respond to public health events such as COVID-19. My MBA and MSN education at BenU has prepared me well. The knowledge I have gained in areas of project management, communications, leadership, and healthcare administration has allowed me to be an asset to my team and the communities we serve. I am confident that our state, our communities, and our healthcare systems will effectively recover from this event. I am thankful for the support I have received from my professors and the BenU community during this stressful time of balancing an increased workload while completing my MSN degree.
Ashley Thoele, MBA, BSN, RN, MSN
Emergency Medical Services and Highway Safety
Office of Preparedness and Response
Illinois Department of Public Health
Alumnus featured in PHI/CDC Global Health Fellow program Covid-19 article
Ayayi Ayate, M.P.H., M.B.A. '18 was featured in a special article by the PHI/CDC Global Health Fellow program which discussed the Covid-19 outbreak and worldwide implications. Within the article, Ayayi discusses his upbringing, education at Benedictine University and personal experience working on the front lines of the battle against Covid-19. Click here to read full article.
BenU community unites under a new graphic amid Covid-19 pandemic
The Benedictine community has come together under a new graphic. The "B" which is synonymous with the University is now used next to the word, "United." Indicating the call for unity during these current times of shelter in place and social distancing. Though the BenU community, as a whole, has been separated in consideration for public safety, we remain united in both our mission and purpose. Join the movement! Copy the photo and add to your social media as we share with the world that the BenU community is United.
Alumni from BenU's MPH program in China donate N95 masks to the University's Lisle campus
Alumni from BenU’s MPH program based in China have come together to donate 500 N95 masks to the University. The masks will be used for the University’s Police Department other essential worker staff for protection during the Covid-19 crisis. The students wrote in a statement, “There is only one earth for human beings and all countries live in one world. We explicitly proposed to advocate the awareness of ‘a [world] community with [a] shared future.’
This pandemic demonstrates that the global community influences each of us . In the face of great disasters selfishness, hatred and criticism are never the right choices. Conscientious, mutual assistance and gratitude are much more powerful forces. We are very have learned from the excellent faculty of Benedictine [University], experiencing two years of valuable learning opportunities. The interviews, brainstorming, discussions, final presentations and graduation are still vivid memories. Some lovely professors shared delicious food from the United States with students after the completion of courses. We are a group filled with love. As alumni , we have serious concerns about the epidemic situation in the United States and Benedictine faculty on the other side of the Pacific ocean. Hopefully, our donation will help people who are in need.”
(Top From Left) Mrs. Wang Lei, M.P.H.’18; Mr. Li Guanran, M.P.H.’18; Mr. Wang Lei, M.P.H. ’18
(Bottom From Mr. Yazhou Han, M.P.H. ’18; Mr. Liu ChanCheng, M.P.H. ’18; Mr. Zhou Jun, M.P.H. ’18
For more information visit Benedictine University’s MPH program.
Calling All College of Education and Health Services Alumni!
Dean Chris Duffrin, Ph.D. and the BenU College of Education and Health Services want to connect/reconnect with you! Stay up to date with COEHS news, hear about current student achievements, learn about opportunities to connect with other alumni and much more!
2020 Phon-a-thon to Resume in the Fall
Due to the University's response to recent events, the Benedictine University Phonathon will resume later this year. Keeping student safety as our top priority, the entire University has transitioned to our virtual platform for the remainder of the Spring and Summer Semesters. Therefore student-led calling will resume Fall 2020.
To those whom have already so generously made a pledge, we thank you for your support and are standing by to assist you in fulfilling your commitment to assisting our most important resource, our students.
For those still planning a donation, please consider a gift to the mission fund. The BenU Mission Fund assists students who encounter financial hardship while pursuing their educational aspirations. For click on Mission Fund for more information.
BenU MPH Students in China fighting on the front-lines in Covid-19 response.
Students participating in the Benedictine University MPH program located at the Dalian Medical University in China are among the many healthcare professionals on the front lines in Wuhan, Chin and beyond. They maintain communication with BenU professor Alan Gorr. The story was featured in the Daily Herald. Click here to read more.
Alumni and Friends Enjoy Benedictine Day at Cubs Spring Training in Mesa, Arizona!
More than 150 Alumni and friends gathered at Sloan Park in sunny Mesa, Arizona During Spring Training! Guests enjoyed food, fun and baseball as the Chicago Cubs took on the San Diego Padres! BenU alumni and friends helped to cheer the Cubbies on to a 3-2 victory over the Padres.
Alumni Board members and Benedictine Mesa, AZ campus graduates Victor, B.B.A. ’17 and Miranda, B.B.A. ’17 Chavez as well as Alumni Board member Diana Williams, B.A. ’99, M.B.A. ’02 were on hand to meet and greet fellow alumni attendees.
20 Words to The Class of 2020
Due to social distancing guidelines and the aggressive steps Benedictine University has taken to combat the Covid-19 virus, 2020 Commencement ceremonies were all postponed until a time deemed safe and appropriate. This means that many hard-working, deserving seniors, our future alumni, will not be able to celebrate their accomplishments on the dates they have worked toward since their initial enrollment.
SEND AN ENCOURAGING MESSAGE TO THE CLASS OF 2020!
To show the class of 2020 the support of their fellow alumni, let's come together and send them a positive message! In 20 words or less, send words of encouragement and hope to the soon-to-be newest members of our Benedictine University Alumni Association.
To participate, all you need to do is click here and complete the form. You can also submit a picture of you in your Benedictine gear to accompany your message.
2020 Alumni Achievement Awards - Postponed until Homecoming 2020
Due to the University response to the Covid-19 crisis, the Office of Alumni Relations has postponed the 2020 Alumni Achievement Awards ceremony. We look forward to hosting this event, in which the Benedictine Community comes together to celebrate of our incredible alumni. Stay tuned for more information!
To Alumni in America’s Hardest-Hit States and Throughout the World During The Covid-19 Pandemic
First and foremost, we hope you and your family are well. As a resident of a state that has been most affected by Covid-19, it is highly possible this virus has touched your life or the life of a loved one. Please know our prayers are with you.
In the last few days, you have all demonstrated commitment to love of neighbor in extraordinary and innumerable ways. What we have observed in person and remotely has made us all immensely proud to be a part of this enterprise called Benedictine.
Since 1887, our University has weathered wars, economic crises, cultural revolutions, political upheavals, and dramatic changes in higher education. For over 1500 years, Benedictine monks, sisters, oblates, and lay associates have witnessed the rise and fall of civilizations. Through it all, the values articulated in the Rule of St. Benedict have served as our moral and intellectual compass.
As we begin this new and unscripted chapter in our University’s history, we reply on that compass once again. May God grant us the wisdom, courage, and compassion we need to face this new and unforeseen challenge.
We think of the entire Benedictine family spread across the nation and the world. And we remember you with great gratitude—and now especially with great care.
You are a valued and indispensable part of this extraordinary fellowship of learning and service.
Though physically separated, we are together in spirit. May God bless you and your loved ones.
Peter A. Huff, Ph.D.
Chief Mission Officer, Professor of Theology and Religious Studies
Jon-Pierre Bradley, Ed.D.
Director of Alumni Relations