Apr 17, 2020 3:00 PM

HCI Community Update, April 17, 2020
Mary Beckerle, PhD

Update from HCI CEO Mary Beckerle, PhD

April 17, 2020

Greetings to our Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) patients and community.  

Today - April 17, 2020 - marks six weeks since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in Utah. We have been on an extraordinary journey together during this time.

Across the globe, we have heard stories of suffering, loss of life, and economic distress. These are juxtaposed with acts of kindness, compassion, and community.

At HCI, we have used science and data to drive our decisions. We have taken many steps to keep our patients and staff safe. Here are just a few of the steps we have taken in the last six weeks at HCI:

  • eliminated non-urgent visits and procedures,
  • expanded telehealth visits,
  • practiced physical distancing,
  • encouraged telecommuting among our workforce,
  • implemented a zero visitor policy,
  • established health checks for everyone entering our facilities.

We have sacrificed, found new ways to communicate, and importantly, HCI has not stopped moving. HCI has continued to advance our quest to deliver a cancer-free frontier. We have continued to care for our patients in their time of need and we have continued to advance our science. Thanks to these efforts, we have not had any of our patients or providers at HCI test positive for COVID-19.   

This week, I have heard many inspiring stories of HCI staff, patients, and their loved ones, who are facing this pandemic with resolve and humanity. I heard praise for employees across the organization, from schedulers, to dock workers, to facilities, to environmental services personnel, and more. These teams are going the extra mile every day. I heard about the ongoing efforts of HCI's lab workers to catalogue personal protective equipment for distribution to clinical care areas. I heard stories about finding ways to safely move cancer research moving forward. I heard about teams who have found enhanced camraderie and connection as they solve challenges of providing cancer care while working remotely.

HCI's extended community is finding ways to keep healthcare workers comfortable, like sewing buttons onto headbands and extenders to help relieve irritation that comes from facemask earloops when worn for extended periods.

One extraordinary endeavor, Project Protect, organized by our University of Utah Health system, Intermountain Healthcare, and Latter-day Saint Charities, is mobilizing heroes in our community to sew face masks to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Learn more at projectprotect.health. 

Perhaps most inspiring of all have been stories about patients and family members finding new ways to show their love at a distance. You can read these and many others on HCI's Facebook page

At HCI, we have been united in our commitment to put the safety of our patients and staff first. We are strong. We are resilient. We are creative. We are caring. And really, we are family. We are moving forward together, and our future is bright. We are delivering on the promise of a cancer-free frontier. 

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Cancer touches all of us.

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