Med school fights COVID-19 misinformation on social media, record patents for U of M, and more.
Med School Fights COVID-19 Disinformation
To combat falsehoods about
COVID-19 circulating widely
on social media, a new virtual
course at the U of M Medical
School trains students to recognize
and amplify reliable public health
messaging and engage in respectful
and informed medical discourse on
Kristina Krohn (M.D. ’10) created a
four-week elective course, COVID-19:
Outbreaks and the Media, with
experts in the U of M’s journalism
school who specialize in public health
communication. The course teaches
medical students about COVID-19 and
fact-checking data, translating scientific literature, and using social media
to connect the public with accurate
information about the pandemic.
The success of the course led to its recent publication in the journal Academic Pediatrics, and earned it additional funding from the medical school through a COVID-19 Medical Education Innovation grant. Krohn says training medical students to be “sharers of knowledge” is critical—both for fellow physicians and for their patients.
Multiple Alumni Named 2020 Bush Fellows
The Bush Foundation recently
announced its 2020 Bush
Fellows, a group of 24 visionary
leaders from Minnesota, the
Dakotas, and the 23 Indigenous
nations within the region.
Several of this year’s fellows have
earned degrees at the University
According to the organization, “Fellows [receive] up to
$100,000 over 12 to 24 months
to pursue formal and informal
learning experiences that
help them develop the skills,
attributes and relationships they
need to become more effective,
equitable leaders who can drive
change in their communities and
region as a whole.”
Alumni from the Twin Cities
campus include the fellows pictured above: Amira Adawe (B.S.
’07, M.P.H. ’15), David Anderson
(M.P.A. ’14), Roque Diaz (pursuing his Ph.D.), Ani Ryan Koch
(M.P.H. ’16), and Brittany Lewis
(M.A. ’12, Ph.D. ’15).
In addition, two of the fellows earned degrees at UMN-Duluth: Kirsten Kennedy and Jenna Udenberg.
U of M 17th in Patents Among Universities Worldwide
The U of M ranks 17th in the world—ninth among
U.S. public universities—on a recent list of universities granted the most U.S. patents in 2019.
The Top 100 Worldwide Universities Granted
U.S. Utility Patents list, released by the National
Academy of Inventors and the Intellectual Property
Owners Association, draws on data from the U.S.
Patent and Trademark Office to highlight the vital
role patents play in university research and innovation. UMN has ascended the
rankings continuously for the past five years, climbing from 50th in 2014.
Patenting new technologies allows the University to protect intellectual property and license it to companies or organizations with the ability to develop it into a product or service. UMN received 102 U.S. utility patents in 2019, up from 89 the previous year. The most recent UMN Technology Commercialization annual report notes that, for the fiscal year ending June 2019, University researchers disclosed 391 new inventions and were granted a total of 187 U.S. and foreign patents.
U of M Scholarships Honor George Floyd
During George Floyd’s memorial service,
attendees called upon universities to create scholarships in his honor to help create
a more just, equitable world.
The U of M, along with numerous higher
education institutions, has announced
several new scholarships as a result.
• The George Floyd Memorial Scholarship in Law was
established in mid-June with
a gift from spouses Catlan
M. McCurdy (J.D. ’11) and
Sanjiv P. Laud (J.D. ’12), which
was matched by the U of M
Law School. The endowed
scholarship will provide critical financial support to allow
students of color to pursue
careers in law.
• The Office for Undergraduate Education also created a
systemwide fund to support
whose identities are
underrepresented at the
University or undergraduate
students whose studies
focus on racial and social
justice. You can donate at
• U of M–Morris established a Racial and Social Justice Scholarship to advance equity, diversity, and inclusivity on its campus. It will be awarded to students who demonstrate a commitment to anti-racism, racial justice, or social justice.
U of M Press Recommends Racial Justice Books
In June, the U of M Press suggested a collection of anti-racist books for readers that it
has published. The Reading for Racial Justice
collection challenges white supremacy, police
violence, and unequal access to resources
in Minnesota, the U.S., and the world. The
Degrees of Freedom: The Origins
of Civil Rights in Minnesota,
1865-1912, by William D. Green
Hope in the Struggle: A Memoir,
by Josie R. Johnson
Tell Me Your Names and I Will Testify:
Essays by Carolyn Lee Holbrook
What God Is Honored Here?: Writings on
Miscarriage and Infant Loss by and for
Native Women and Women of Color, edited
by Shannon Gibney and Kao Kalia Yang
Blood Sugar: Racial Pharmacology
and Food Justice in Black America,
by Anthony Ryan Hatch
Civil Racism: The 1992 Los Angeles
Rebellion and the Crisis of Racial
Burnout, by Lynn Mie Itagaki
Digitize and Punish: Racial Criminalization
in the Digital Age, by Brian Jefferson
Educated in Whiteness: Good
Intentions and Diversity in Schools,
by Angelina E. Castagno
Prison Land: Mapping Carceral Power
across Neoliberal America, by Brett Story
Survival Schools: The American Indian Movement and Community Education in the Twin Cities, by Julie L. Davis
Otto Bremer Trust Invests $1M in Mobile Health Care Initiative
The U of M recently received a $1 million gift from the Otto Bremer Trust to
establish mobile health care services
in communities that lack access to
medical care because of COVID-19,
civil unrest related to racial injustice,
or economic and other factors. Initially, the program will be based at the Broadway
Family Medicine Clinic in North Minneapolis and the Community-University Health
Care Center (CUHCC) in the Phillips neighborhood of South Minneapolis, with
geographical expansion to come over the next several months.
The mobile health initiative brings together U of M health professionals from dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, medicine, and veterinary medicine to provide a range of services, including COVID-19 testing (both viral and antibody) and education, as well as enhanced access to healthcare for populations at higher risk for COVID-19 infection. The goal is to address health care disparities occurring in neighborhoods that are segregated or that have inadequate access to community facilities because of long-standing racial and social injustices.