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.

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


Governance and Public Health Policy

  • Eli Rosenberg, an associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics, was one of five global experts who worked with the Governor Cuomo’s office to develop the state’s early warning dashboard

  • School of Public Health Dean David Holtgrave is the lead author of a peer-reviewed paper, published by AIDS and Behavior, that reflects on lessons learned from HIV/AIDS and proposes for an evidence-based national strategy for COVID-19. 

  • 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

  • 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, has joined The Pew Charitable Trusts’ webinars, "COVID 19: How states can forecast the impacts on state budgets" and "How D.C. is forecasting and managing the fiscal implications of COVID-19" as a panelist. 


Assistance for Educators 

  • UAlbany President Havidán Rodríguez was a panel member for The Chronicle of Higher Education’s “Running Campuses in a Pandemic: Hard Lessons from Fall, Prospects for Spring” virtual forum on November 10. 

  • The Systems Center held summit for schools and colleges virtually this year. UAlbany experts spoke about how to safely reopen school buildings, campuses and classrooms, keep students and schools safe online, and deploy psychological first aid for students and staff during the pandemic. 

  • UAlbany’s Capital District Writing Project and Academy for the Advancement of Teaching, Leadership & Schools have partnered with the New York State Master Teacher Program to offer virtual camps for K-12 students this summer. 

  • 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. 

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

  • 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 

  • Associate Professor of Economics Gerald Marschke has received a $199,000 National Science Foundation to study how COVID-19 has affected the future of the STEM workforce in the United States and how policymakers can lessen that impact. 

  • 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 will lead the project, which aims to help local businesses overcome technology and information security challenges related to the pandemic. 

  • The Small Business Development Center hosted a webinar for small businesses and the Chamber of Commerce to advise on economic disaster loans available through the federal Small Business Administration.

  • Andrew Kennedy, the president and CEO of the Center for Economic Growth, and Kate Baker, director of the Small Business Development Center, joined state Assemblymembers Patricia Fahy and John McDonald for a virtual Small Business Survival Forum to share resources with local businesses.

  • Noah Simon, the director of the Office of Career and Professional Development, joined state Assemblymembers Patricia Fahy and John McDonald for an April 30 virtual town hall entitled, “Moving Forward: Adapting Your Job Search and Career Transitioning During COVID-19.”  

  • School of Public Health Dean David Holtgrave has been a featured public health expert on the Albany Times Union’s “Back to Business: Insights on Restarting the Capital Region Economy” webinar series, participating in panels on reopening businesses and higher education

  • Seven UAlbany School of Business alumni have joined the efforts of The Ventilator Project, a nonprofit Boston start-up producing affordable ventilators specifically for COVID-19. Robotics experts are working with those in the medical and business fields to design and build ventilators quickly and at lower cost while maintaining product quality. 


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 more than 7,500 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’s Student Support Team — composed of more than dozen students from various academic backgrounds — work with the University’s Incident Management Team to notify individual campus community members of an exposure or a presumed positive surveillance test result, in an effort to stop the spread as quickly as possible. The pooled surveillance testing program is being facilitated by the University’s RNA Institute in collaboration with the School of Public Health

  • 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.  

  • 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 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.

  • 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