COVID-19 Response

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University Draws on Own Experts to Guide Health and Safety Decisions

University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Patrick Gallagher has established the Chancellor’s Healthcare Advisory Group (HCAG) to guide University decision makers in their ongoing response to the COVID-19 virus.  

The new Healthcare Advisory Group (HCAG) is dealing with the many questions that must be addressed as the University of Pittsburgh moves forward with resiliency planning to return to campus.

“The HCAG is charged with recommending University-wide health standards and guidelines that are needed for helping us live and work on campus, in order to pursue Pitt’s education and research mission to the fullest extent possible under the ‘new normal’ of living with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2,” said HCAG chair Anantha Shekhar, Pitt’s new senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and John and Gertrude Petersen Dean of the School of Medicine.

This group of experts, chaired by Anantha Shekhar, Pitt’s new senior vice chancellor for health sciences and the John and Gertrude Petersen Dean of the School of Medicine, is charged with recommending University-wide health standards and guidelines needed for immediate planning around returning operations to the University’s campuses as well as for monitoring and revising those requirements as the University adapts to the changing environment.The group’s role assures that Pitt is drawing on its world-renowned health sciences programs to guide decisions on the health and safety of students, faculty and staff alike.

“This group is composed of experts in health care and medicine, public health, occupational health and safety, infectious diseases and epidemiological modeling, emergency preparedness and the relevant legal regulations and compliance,” Shekhar said.“Its work will also be to continuously monitor the health status of the campus and align the University status to be well coordinated in our COVID-19 policies with the status of the city, county, state and beyond.”

The members—several of whom are both researchers and practitioners—bring their own specialized expertise as they develop detailed recommendations that are both sound and workable for the University community. They will be making recommendations for personal protective equipment and personal hygiene; shared spaces, distancing and density; virus monitoring, testing and tracing; safe mobility; and considerations for vulnerable populations.


HCAG members:

  • John Williams, Henry L. Hillman Endowed Chair in Pediatric Immunology; professor of pediatrics, School of Medicine; an infectious diseases expert.
  • Mark Roberts, professor and chair, health policy and management, Graduate School of Public Health, a public health modeling expert.
  • Anne Newman, Katherine M. Detre Endowed Chair, population health sciences; professor and chair, epidemiology; Graduate School of Public Health; a public health epidemiology expert.
  • Sally Wenzel, Rachel Carson Chair of Environmental Health; professor and chair, environmental and occupational health, Graduate School of Public Health; an environmental health expert.
  • Jay Frerotte, assistant vice chancellor for environmental health and safety, an emergency preparedness expert.
  • Kimberly Moses, senior associate legal counsel.
  • Maggie McDonald, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs and international programs, health sciences; associate professor of epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, HCAG coordinator.

Policy specialist Tyler Tenney will help facilitate and support the work of the HCAG.   

Read more in PittWire.