One UAlbany

Great Danes offer expertise to COVID-19 community response


The University at Albany knows how to lead in times of crisis.  

Our comprehensive public research university has vast expertise in a number of disciplines and stands ready to share these resources to help guide us through this global pandemic. Our faculty, students and staff are on the front lines offering their expertise in areas such as public health, emergency preparedness, government policy and educational resources.  

Here's a peek at some of the ways Great Danes are publicly engaged during COVID-19. 


Research Excellence

  • UAlbany President Havidán Rodríguez and UAlbany researchers were commissioned by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to lead the state’s research efforts — in coordination with the State Department of Health and Northwell Health — regarding the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on minority populations.

  • The School of Public Health’s Maternal and Child Health Program is partnering with the state Department of Health's to review the impact on COVID-19 on pregnancy and deliver a summary of its findings to the state’s COVID-19 Maternity Task Force and regional perinatal centers. 

  • The SUNY Research Foundation awarded seed funding to 10 collaborative UAlbany research teams — which include 37 investigators from 20 departments and centers — so they may continue their work addressing COVID-related challenges. UAlbany researchers are studying the biology of the virus, the role weather plays in its transmission, rapid testing, the social, psychological and economic implications of COVID-19, the roles official communication and individual decision-making play in the pandemic and methods to address widespread food insecurity. 

  • Ken Halvorsen, a senior research scientist at the RNA Institute, was awarded more than $177,000 in funding from the National Science Foundation’s Rapid Response Research program to develop a rapid coronavirus test

  • The School of Public Health and the State Department of Health have developed a detailed report of the emergence of COVID-19 in New York State, excluding New York City. It is the first comprehensive epidemiological report on the emergence of COVID-19 from a U.S. state in a peer-reviewed publication. It is published in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

  • Sociology Professor Angie Chung has launched a study on "The Impact of COVID-19 on Racial Belonging and Well-Being among Asian/American Students in New York State” with the Office of Diversity & Inclusion and International Student and Scholar Services

  • The School of Public Health acted as the State Department of Health’s lead academic partner on an observational study examining the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin as a treatment for COVID-19 and the drugs’ possible side effects. Their findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. 
  • SUNY awarded UAlbany’s RNA Institute and SUNY Upstate $151,000 to fund their joint research on the host-viral interactome in COVID-19.  

  • The Center for Technology in Government polled information technology leaders from New York’s county and city governments to determine what they’ve learned from the pandemic and what the future may hold for local governments. CTG shared its findings in a Government and Technology op-ed entitled, “New York State’s Local IT Leaders Respond to the Crisis.” 


Governance and Public Health Policy

  • Dozens of School of Public Health students are volunteering or interning with state and local county health departments. UAlbany students are conducting contact tracing and wellness calls, tracking new case intakes, drafting guidelines and advisories, writing letters to Congressional leaders, coordinating resources, leading webinars, and gathering and organizing data. As these partnerships grow, SPH has put out a call for more student volunteers.

  • School of Public Health associate professor Feng (Johnson) Qian is helping SUNY Downstate make evidence-based public health videos on COVID-19 in Chinese. 

  • Jean Moore, director of the Center for Health Workforce Studies at the School of Public Health represents UAlbany on a COVID-19 team established by Governor Cuomo to develop strategies for increasing New York’s health workforce surge capacity. 

  • UAlbany’s Virtual Operations Support Team, a student-led, expert-guided team of volunteers, is helping state and local officials make informed decisions. Students preparing social media trend reports for state and local partners, as well as post-incident reports for emergency managers and public safety agencies to assess best practices. 

  • UAlbany’s Health Workforce Technical Assistance Center is sharing data and information on surge capacity strategies, regulatory flexibility, maintaining the educational pipeline and state workforce strategies as hospitals nationwide work to develop, deploy and replenish their healthcare workforce. 

  • UAlbany Rockefeller College alumnus Matt Wiley '17 — who works as the Medical Countermeasures Program coordinator for the State Department of Health — is organizing and tracking the shipment of infectious disease specimens from across New York to the state lab in Albany. 

  • Donald Boyd, a senior research fellow at the Center for Policy Research in Rockefeller College, was one of three panelists on The Pew Charitable Trusts’ May 13 webinar, “COVID 19: How states can forecast the impacts on state budgets.” 


Assistance for Educators 

  • The School of Education is offering several resources to K-12 teachers as they navigate the transition to remote learning. SOE is hosting virtual writing workshops on Mondays, Twitter chats for teachers on Tuesdays and interactive, synchronous learning sessions via videocall on Wednesdays.

  • The School of Education has also launched RemoteED, a Remote Education Resource Center website, for K-12 teachers. The website, created by SOE faculty, administrators and graduate students, provides Capital Region teachers with immediate education tools and a community of practice. 


Business Leadership 


Supporting Frontline Workers

  • Both the College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity and the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences are using 3D printers to manufacture personal protective equipment. They’ve already donated 2,500 face shields to frontline medical workers. 

  • UAlbany is hosting a DOH antibody testing site inside the SEFCU Arena, where state law enforcement, first responders and other frontline workers can be tested by appointment for COVID-19 antibodies. The University is also hosting a state-run COVID-19 drive-through testing site, where individuals with an appointment can be tested for COVID-19.

  • More than two dozen student volunteers and two ambulances from Five Quad — UAlbany’s student-run volunteer ambulance service — traveled to Rockland County in downstate New York to help local ambulance squads keep up with high call volumes.

  • Several University entities have donated surgical masks, gowns and gloves to local hospitals and first responder agencies. UAlbany alumnus Mark Yang ’92 also donated more than 2,000 masks and gloves to St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany.


Supporting the Local Community 

  • UAlbany buses are delivering meals to Albany Meals on Wheels’ clients and the Cohoes Senior Center. University Parking and Mass Transit Services has partnered with LifePath, a not-for-profit senior services organization.

  • UAlbany men’s basketball Coach Will Brown is leading the charge to raise $100,000 for Capital Region residents fighting cancer during the pandemic. The fundraising is part of the national Coaches vs. Cancer program.

  • The BIG Event, UAlbany’s annual day of service that supports the Capital Region community, moved online this year. Nearly 1,300 people volunteered remotely for 55 organizations. 

  • Several UAlbany’s psychologists and mental health experts have volunteered to help with the NYS mental health hotline.

  • Nearly 1,000 students enrolled in Community and Public Services courses completed projects that range from volunteering at local food banks and health clinics, to recording videos of themselves reading books for the students of Albany’s Sheridan Avenue Elementary School.

  • UAlbany and five other upstate New York colleges worked with the American Cancer Society’s Northeast chapter to host a virtual Relay for Life.  

  • The New York State Writers Institute and WAMC have joined forces to help Capital Region’s indie bookstores with a new initiative, #IndieBookstoreBoost. It includes interviews with the owners of local independent bookstores posted on the Writers Institute’s website


Thought Leadership

Media Interviews