U of L administers more than 100,000 vaccinations at Cardinal Stadium site Friday, Apr 16 2021 

By Madelin Shelton — 

This week, the University of Louisville opened Kentucky’s newest and largest drive through vaccination site at Cardinal Stadium. In nearly a week, U of L Health has administered nearly 100,000 vaccine doses, with hundreds of thousands of upcoming appointments.

David McArthur, director of public relations for U of L Health told the Cardinal that when planning, U of L wanted the vaccination site to be as quick and convenient as possible.

“The Cardinal Stadium site was built big to maximize efficiency, decrease wait times and increase convenience,” McArthur said.  With 24 lanes in total, McArthur said that the site is capable of administering over 4,000 vaccines a day, in addition to U of L’s other locations in Jefferson and Bullitt counties.

As for whether U of L has enough vaccines to vaccinate the entire U of L community, McArthur said that supply was keeping up with demand.

“Between now and May 28, we have nearly 200,000 appointments available at the U of L Cardinal Stadium,” he said. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the university is confident that they will have over 200,000 doses of the vaccine to fulfill those appointments.

Anyone above the age of 16 is eligible for a vaccine, at no cost to them. To schedule an appointment for vaccination, sign up through U of L Health’s website. For any questions about the vaccine, more information is available on U of L Health’s FAQ page.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal

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BRIEF: U of L drive-through vaccination site will open to employees on April 8 Friday, Mar 26 2021 

By Eli Hughes–

The University of Louisville announced on March 26 that a drive-through COVID-19 vaccination site will open on April 8 at Cardinal Stadium. Priority will be given to U of L faculty and staff, including students employed by the university.

“For the first two days, April 8 and 9, UofL Health will reserve Cardinal Stadium’s Purple Lot exclusively for university employees with vaccination appointments,” the email announcement said. “Starting April 12, the site will serve both university employees and members of the public.”

U of Health plans to vaccinate about 4,000 people per day at this site, which will have 24 lanes. Even though it will primarily be a drive-through site, people scheduled to get vaccinated do not need to be in a vehicle to receive the vaccination.

This site plans to administer the Johnson & Johnson vaccine which only requires one dose. However, it is possible that the vaccine type could change in the future.

Employees and students on payroll will receive and email next week inviting them to make a vaccine appointment. They will then fill out a form indicating if they would like to make a vaccination appointment and what their availability is. Employees who have already been vaccinated or don’t want a vaccine should still fill out a form.

Those who indicate that they would like a vaccine will receive another email with their appointment details from U of L Health’s scheduling system.

The email announcement encouraged employees who already have vaccine appointments to keep those appointments and for fully vaccinated people to continue to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines.

“Even after you are fully vaccinated, masking and physical distancing of at least 6 feet are still required on campus,” the email said. “We will inform the university community when changes to our health protocols and testing program may take place.”

More information about the COVID-19 vaccination can be found on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website. Further information on U of L’s vaccination plan can be found on their COVID-19 webpage.

Graphic by Eli Hughes//The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L begins Phase 1c of state COVID-19 vaccination plan Friday, Mar 5 2021 

By Madelin Shelton — 

The University of Louisville began Phase 1c of the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plan this week. U of L announced that U of L Health began vaccinating university members who are between 60 and 69 years of age as of March 1, 2021. For university members younger than 60, scheduling for vaccination appointments is planned to begin by mid-March.

“If you are between 60 and 69, be on the lookout for an email from Student Health Services (hlthoff@louisville.edu service account) with the subject line ‘UofL COVID vaccinations for ages 60-69’ enabling you to indicate if you wish to receive the vaccine and to propose your preferred day of the week and times for the first vaccine,” the university said.

Respondents will then have to complete the Microsoft Form attached in the email to ensure enrollment for the vaccination.

Appointment times for the first and second doses will be automatically scheduled for respondents upon completion of the form. Estimated appointment times range from 30 minutes to one hour.

U of L Health staff will have to monitor vaccine recipients for at least 15 minutes after the shot to watch for any adverse reactions. Those with a history of allergic reactions may need to be monitored for longer periods of time.

The vaccine appointments for university members are located at U of L Health’s drive-thru clinic on 499 South Brook Street, Louisville, KY 40202.

Graphic by Andrew Campbell // The Louisville Cardinal

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University students and faculty helping with COVID-19 vaccine Thursday, Feb 25 2021 

By Madelin Shelton — 

University of Louisville students and faculty, primarily from the medical, nursing and public health disciplines, have been volunteering to help administer the COVID-19 vaccine at the drive-in service Broadbent Arena, located on the grounds of the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center.

Amanda Beering, a fourth year U of L medical student is a volunteer at the site, serving as a Team Lead and Medical Student Supervisor. She oversees groups of volunteers and is responsible for training volunteers in the clinical zone.

Beering said that volunteers are split among three zones. The first zone consists of those helping direct patients to the appropriate areas and checking them in. The second and third zones consist of people getting vaccinated and monitored afterwards to check for adverse reactions, respectively.

While the volunteers contain mostly students in the health sciences fields, Beering said there’s people from all academic areas volunteering with the effort. Only students with medical training will be administering the vaccines, while other students can help with quality assurance on documentation, pre-screening, checking temperatures and other non-medical tasks. The LouVax effort is ongoing.

When asked what it has been like to help coordinate this task in the middle of a global pandemic, Beering said, “It’s definitely not what I anticipated when I entered medical school. As unfortunate and horrible this virus has been, from an educational standpoint, I do think it has prepared me for real-world considerations.”

“Helping with the vaccination effort has been a way to join together my efforts with the efforts of other people so that together we’re able to contribute more to do something that’s really impactful for our community.”

In relation to the LouVax effort, U of L Health has started emailing vaccine invitations to university members in groups 1 and 2, which consists of those above age 65. In addition, a standby list has been generated by the university for U of L Health to contact those who would like a vaccine in case there are unused or unexpected vaccines available.

The university does not anticipate that U of L Health will need to use this list frequently, and those called by U of L Health will only have 15 to 20 minutes to get to the specified location. Additionally, if someone misses the call for an available unused vaccine, they will have to move on to others included on the standby list. Signing up on the standby list will in no way prevent individuals from getting their regularly scheduled vaccine if they either miss a call or an unused vaccine does not become available.

The COVID-19 vaccine standby list can be found here.

Photo Courtesy // U of L News 

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U of L receives $11.5 million grant to advance cancer research Friday, Sep 18 2020 

By Eli Hughes–

The University of Louisville has received an $11.5 million grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. The grant will be used to advance cancer research in immunotherapy by establishing the Center for Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy.

“One of the university’s Grand Challenges is to advance the health of all people,” said U of L President Neeli Bendapudi. “Through this center, our cancer researchers will grow the field of immunotherapy, saving the lives of many more patients with cancer in the future.”

U of L Health’s James Graham Brown Cancer Center is already a valued resource for cancer treatment.

The Brown Cancer Center is nationally recognized and boasts the largest cancer trial program in the region. With this grant, U of L Health will be able to establish the Center for Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy as a National Institutes of Health-designated Center of Biomedical Research Excellence.

One of the main goals of the grant is to help establish the next generation of cancer researchers. Young researchers will be provided with funding and mentorship and then cycled out once they are able to obtain their own funding. This will allow for a new wave of researchers to receive support from the center.

“It’s my obligation to bring in and encourage more junior investigators to work in this area,” said Dr. Jun Yan, director of the Center for Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy. “We can work together and build this center.”

Yan also explained why it’s so important to get the next generation involved with cancer research. “Immunotherapy takes a long winding road to get where we are now. Just to give you one example, one drug that is widely used now in clinics was developed 20-25 years ago. Developing and discovery take a really long path to get where we are now. So you really need generations and generations of scientists to work in this area,” Yan said.

Dr. Paula Bates, an investigator for the Center for Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy, agrees that supporting young researchers is incredibly important. She will works as a mentor for these investigators and helps them with their grant applications.

Bates also doesn’t underestimate the effect that this grant could have on cancer research as a whole.

“The big picture of what this grant is about is figuring out what are the mechanisms that cancer uses to avoid being destroyed by the immune system. So that we can come up with new immunotherapies,” Bates said.

“We are looking to really get answers to those questions. And some of those will be longterm answers, you know if we find a new type of therapy, t might take 5-10 years before it is generally available. But there is the potential in the shorter term to have a real impact. ” According to Bates, some of those shorter-term projects will include research on combinations between existing immunotherapies and other drugs that aren’t normally used for cancer treatment.

The grant is currently set to last for five years but can be extended for two more five-year periods.

Photo Courtesy // University of Louisville

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U of L Health creates scholarship in honor of Breonna Taylor Saturday, Jun 6 2020 

By Eli Hughes–

U of L Health, a health provider affiliated with the University of Louisville, is creating a nursing scholarship to honor Breonna Taylor.

Taylor, an African American woman who was killed by police in March, was an EMT at U of L Health Medical Center East. The scholarship was announced by U of L’s Black Student Union on June 5, in honor of what would have been her 27th birthday.

“Breonna was a member of our U of L Health family,” said U of L Health CEO Tom Miller. “We grieve her loss, but we are hopeful her legacy can inspire meaningful change. This scholarship is part of an overall commitment to ensure diversity in our workforce and develop ongoing plans to eliminate racial inequality in health care.”

The Breonna Taylor Memorial Scholarship Fund in Nursing will be a 4-year renewable scholarship and will cover full tuition and fees. Preference for the scholarship recipient will go to a Black, female Kentucky resident.

“I am so appreciative that the University of Louisville, in partnership with the Black Student Union, will honor Breonna’s life through the creation of the Breonna Taylor Memorial Scholarship,” said Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer.

“Breonna is smiling down knowing that there will be a path for students to pursue nursing degrees without accumulating student loan debt. Thank you to the university and its students for ensuring that Bre’s legacy will continue for generations to come.”

Those who wish to donate to the fund can do so on U of L’s donation website. 

Photo Courtesy// University of Louisville

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U of L researchers using computers in schools to help find new drug to fight COVID-19 Wednesday, Apr 15 2020 

By Matthew Keck — 

University of Louisville researchers are using computers from schools across Kentucky to aid their search to find a drug that fights COVID-19. These computers are a part of DataseamGrid, which was developed to support research, education and workforce development in these schools.

Deputy director of basic and translational research at U of L Health – James Graham Brown Cancer Center, John Trent is helping conduct this research. By using virtual screening on the DataseamGrid, Trent and researchers are able to identify drugs that can potentially fight COVID-19.

“We’re applying all of the methods we use for cancer drug discovery to the new COVID-19 proteins that have been dried recently,” said Trent. He said that they have retooled their research to target these new proteins.

Trent and his team began this research in mid-March to help identify drugs and compounds that could help in treating or preventing COVID-19. Up to 80 percent of the computation used for the research comes from the DataseamGrid.

Their first approach in this research is to test 2,000 drugs that are already on the market currently. In addition, they will be testing 9,000 investigational drugs and nutraceuticals that have been tested and may be the most effective against the virus.

“We take a library of small molecules and we see individually on a computer, which one fits into the place where we want to block particular activities,” said Trent.

The molecular part of this research involves screening 37 million molecules to see which ones target the protein in SARS-CoV-2. This testing could help develop a new drug to treat COVID-19, but would have to be approved by the FDA.

“For the immediate approach, we are testing drugs that already are approved by the FDA or have been tested in humans. If we find activity with those drugs, we could get them into patient trials a lot quicker,” Trent said. “However, these drugs obviously were designed for something else and they may not have the same efficacy of a very selective drug.”

They have identified 30 potentially effective drugs that may treat the virus. These drugs are being tested in the U of L Center for Preventive Medicine for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases (CPM).

If any of those drugs are found to be effective at CPM, they will be moved into the next phase of testing.

Photo Courtesy of the University of Louisville 

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U of L processing more coronavirus test results Thursday, Apr 9 2020 

By Matthew Keck — 

The University of Louisville has increased its efforts with coronavirus testing to help fight the fatal pandemic.

Researchers at U of L are processing test results from 12 different hospitals, U of L Campus Health and four outpatient clinics in the Louisville area. As of April 1, they have processed 1,797 tests, with more than 1,000 of them coming from Norton Healthcare.

Out of the 1,797 tests thus far, there have been 204 positive results.

U of L executive vice president for research and innovation Kevin Gardner said they now have to capacity to test up to 1,000 cases per day. Other U of L researchers have put their duties on hold to devote their time to fighting this virus.

Last week, U of L Health opened the first drive-thru testing in Kentucky. As a part of this effort, the drive-thru testing will be processing up to 200 cases per day.

According to Gardner, U of L’s efforts are producing test results within 24 hours. This quick turnaround allows hospitals to isolate patients and healthcare providers with COVID-19. Along with that, they can move others out of isolation, saving protective medical equipment that is low across the state.

This processing is also an effort to help researchers answer questions about the deadly COVID-19. They are hoping to find how the virus has spread, how it progresses and who gets it. U of L is also working on long-term approaches to the virus.

Kenneth Palmer, director of U of L’s Center for Preventive Medicine, is testing potential treatments, one of which was developed at U of L in partnership with the National Cancer Institute and the University of Pittsburgh.

Support for this research includes $500,000 in funding from U of L, but the university is asking for those able to make a donation for further support.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal 

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School of Medicine Dean named vice president for academic medical affairs Friday, Apr 3 2020 

By Matthew Keck —

The University of Louisville named Toni Ganzel, School of Medicine dean, vice president for academic medical affairs March 30.

“I’m pleased to announce that School of Medicine Dean Toni Ganzel has agreed to take on an additional role in leading our Health Sciences Center,” said President Neeli Bendapudi.

Ganzel will be taking on the role of vice president for academic medical affairs while also remaining the School of Medicine dean.

Her duties as vice president will include overseeing research activity at the Health Sciences Center, areas regarding diversity and inclusion and faculty development and student health. She will be reporting the overseen activity to Bendapudi and provost Beth Boehm.

Alongside U of L Health CEO Tom Miller, Ganzel will be in charge of making sure that teaching and researching are successful at U of L Health.

“Dr. Ganzel has done an excellent job as dean of the School of Medicine,” said Bendapudi. “I value her expertise and her leadership and look forward to continuing to work with her in this new role. She and Tom Miller are a great team to lead medical education, research and care in our community.”

Ganzel has served as the School of Medicine dean since 2012. She joined U of L in 1983 as an assistant professor in otolaryngology and has held other various roles with the school since.

Bendapudi said she wishes Ganzel well in educating U of L’s health professionals of tomorrow.

Photo Courtesy of The University of Louisville

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U of L Health expands telehealth program in response to COVID-19 outbreak Tuesday, Mar 31 2020 

By Eli Hughes —

U of L Health announced March 26 they are expanding their telehealth program in order to continue to treat patients while maintaining a social distance.

This telehealth program allows patients to have an appointment with their doctor over video chat. This service will be available to current U of L health patients as well as qualifying new patients.

“This is something that had been on track for a launch later this year,” said Wade Mitzel, chief operating officer of U of L Physicians.

“But given the current need to reduce contact and increase precaution, we fast tracked the launch in order to give our patients peace of mind, with a convenient and safe way to access their provider.”

Patients who wish to set up an appointment can do so by calling their primary care number at 502-588-4343. If it is determined that a telehealth appointment may be beneficial, the patient will be able to set up a video call with their provider.

U of L Health assures patients that these calls are secure and HIPPA compliant. The calls will also not be recorded or stored in any way.

Providers can use these appointments to assess possible COVID-19 symptoms as well as to treat minor illnesses like a common cold or flu. Providers will also be able to prescribe medication or recommend over the counter options when needed.

When necessary the provider can refer the patient to a specialist, a U of L health location or an emergency medical center.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

 

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