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. Our faculty, students and staff have been on the front lines offering their expertise in areas such as public health, emergency preparedness, government policy and educational resources.

Read the Fall 2020 edition of UAlbany Magazine. The issue is dedicated to the many Great Danes who are tackling the challenges of the pandemic as a community.   

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


Research Excellence

  • The School of Public Health acted as the State Department of Health’s lead academic partner on an observational study examining the effectiveness and side effects of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin. 

  • Ken Halvorsen, a senior research scientist at The RNA Institute, is leading a National Science Foundation (NSF) Rapid Response Research (RAPID) project to develop a saliva-based test that delivers coronavirus results much faster and at much lower cost. Researchers since published an article in Science Advances demonstrating the feasibility of developing rapid saliva-based tests. 

  • 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 a variety of coronavirus-related challenges. 

  • Associate College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cybersecurity (CEHC) Professor Jeannette Sutton is leading an ongoing NSF RAPID project to study public health officials’ use of Twitter to share COVID-19 information. 

  • CEHC Associate Professor Gary Ackerman and graduate student Hayley Peterson researched the challenges and opportunities that the COVID-19 crisis presents for terrorist organizations. They were subsequently invited to speak to the TSA and submit a written brief to the U.S. intelligence community. 

  • The School of Public Health partnered with the State Department of Health (DOH) and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to study the multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children associated with COVID-19.

  • The Center for Technology in Government (CTG) 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.”



Public Engagement

  • UAlbany partnered with Russell Sage College and Albany County to stage a Point of Dispensing (POD) vaccine site on campus, specifically for eligible employees of the partner institutions.

  • Both the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences and CEHC assembled teams of volunteers to manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE) for frontline medical workers using 3D printers. 

  • UAlbany hosted two state-run sites for drive-through diagnostic testing and walk-through vaccinations. The testing site was the first of its kind in upstate New York when it opened in Spring 2020.

  • Several of UAlbany’s licensed psychologists and mental health experts have volunteered to help with the NYS COVID-19 emotional support helpline.

  • The School of Education (SOE) 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 education tools and a community of practice. 

  • The Economic Development Administration awarded $300,000 to the SUNY Research Foundation to support the revitalization of the Capital Region economy. School of Business Professor Sanjay Goel leads the project.

  • UAlbany offered its campus buses to deliver food to Albany Meals on Wheels’ clients and the Cohoes Senior Center.



Diversity & Inclusion

  • UAlbany President Havidán Rodríguez and UAlbany researchers were commissioned by the governor 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. 

  • Julia Hastings — an associate professor for the Schools of Social Welfare and Public Health — examined how COVID-19 has impacted mental health in the Black community from March 2020 to June 2020, through the lens of racial justice and trauma. 

  • Sociology Professor Angie Chung 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 and the State Department of Health published an article in Annals of Epidemiology documenting a serological survey that highlighted substantial racial disparities in infections. Using the survey data, New York estimated more than 2 million residents had been infected by late March.

  • Public Administration and Policy professors Erika Martin and Lucy Sorensen published a report in JAMA Health Forum on the disproportionate health impact that school closures had on vulnerable children and how districts can support a successful return to the classroom in the fall. 

  • Communication Chair Rukhsana Ahmed and her research team are analyzing different ways to communicate public health information to individuals with limited English proficiency, with a focus on the efficacy of COVID-19 prevention YouTube videos. The project is funded by the SUNY Prepare Innovation and Internship Program.




  • Jennifer Manganello, a professor of Health Policy, Management and Behavior, worked with colleagues across the U.S. to study face mask guidance issued by governments worldwide. 

  • Assistant Professor of Management Matthew Crayne published a paper in American Psychologist that, by comparing the leadership styles and responses of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, examines how different ways of thinking predict how leaders deal with the pandemic

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



Student Success

  • UAlbany’s Student Support Team — composed of more than a dozen students from various academic backgrounds — are on the frontlines of the campus’ COVID-19 response, contacting peers who had an positive surveillance test result or exposure to someone presumed positive.

  • More than two dozen student volunteers from Five Quad — UAlbany’s student-run volunteer ambulance service — answered the call for help in Rockland County to help EMTs keep up with high call volumes during the start of COVID-19.

  • Nearly 1,000 students enrolled in the School of Social Welfare's Community and Public Services Program 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.

  • Two School of Social Welfare graduate students, Jennifer Casale and Nicole Gardy, who are participating in the “Internships In Aging” program, are helping older adults and veterans stay connected to health care services during COVID-19. 

  • Dozens of School of Public Health students are volunteering or interning with state and local county health departments in roles such as conducting contact tracing/wellness calls, tracking new case intakes, drafting guidelines and advisories, writing letters to Congressional leaders, coordinating resources, leading webinars and gathering and organizing data.

  • UAlbany’s Virtual Operations Support Team, a student-led, expert-guided team of volunteers, is helping state and local officials make informed decisions during COVID-19 by observing and reporting on social media trends.