Year in Review
When the coronavirus first began to spread across the globe and overwhelm healthcare systems, scientists such as Dr. Albert Chang, medical director of the Student Health Center; Dr. Susan Huang, medical director of epidemiology and infection prevention with UCI Health; and Bernadette Boden-Albala, director and founding dean of the Program in Public Health, quickly rose to the challenge of investigating and providing guidance for the mysterious and sudden pandemic. Scholars from every background poured their energy and resources into developing treatment drugs, antibody resistance, efficient testing and protective measures, while professors and students adapted to online learning in as little as a few weeks.
Despite all of the challenges, UCI still saw a record year in research funding, with 20 percent more than last year; built a new pharmacy school – the first of its kind in the L.A.-O.C. area; and received the most applications from California high school seniors. From front-line workers to faculty, students and staff, each individual has played an important role in keeping the university afloat.
Few institutions, if any, were prepared for what was to come when a novel coronavirus first began to spread in January. UCI leadership quickly took proactive steps to keep the campus and the Orange County community as safe as possible.
UCI Podcast: Coronavirus discussion
In late January, UCI interviewed Dr. Albert Chang, Student Health Center medical director, about the novel disease that was quickly spreading around the U.S and the world.
Hand-washing with Peter
In early March, Bernadette Boden-Albala, director and founding dean of the Program in Public Health, taught Peter how to wash his hands properly.
Adapting to a new normal
Despite physical distancing, we found many ways to connect and celebrate together – from livestreams of future physicians sharing their residency “matches” and undergrads receiving their bachelor’s degrees to social media art projects by students, faculty and community members.
Supporting the front line
UCI’s schools of engineering, arts, nursing and medicine came together to design and produce 5,000 face shields for front-liners at UCI Medical Center.
Helping healthcare heroes
First-year medical students formed a volunteer coalition to babysit, shop and run errands for UCI healthcare workers.
Virtual nurses make a real difference
Graduating students lifted the spirits of UCI hospital patients through video visits.
As a leading research institution, UCI took on the responsibility of tackling the world’s most pressing problem. But it wouldn’t have been possible without the generous donations that amounted to $2.5 million in funding for COVID-19-related causes.
The university looked quite different this fall when it opened its single dorm rooms to a new class of Anteaters. The days of Ring Road crowds were gone, but a new Ring Road soon appeared in “Animal Crossing: New Horizons,” a game in which students can visit UCI in its digital form.
In a world of uncertainty, UCI continued to make high-quality education accessible for all, ranking as a top choice for first-generation, low-income and minority students in California.
Although this year’s headlines were dominated by coronavirus-related topics, UCI logged some great achievements and set the groundwork for a brilliant future. From expanding healthcare facilities to the promise of cutting-edge research, the university found hope.
New UCI Health Center for Advanced Care: North Campus facility will include Center for Children’s Health and adult specialty services
Breaking records: Campus receives record $529 million in research
Can’t crush this: Ironclad beetle can survive being run over by car
Anthem, Apple Watch collaboration: How digital tools can aid asthma management
Bone marrow transplant: Lifesaving care close to home
UCI to launch innovative School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Against the backdrop of a pandemic and one of the largest social movements in our history, UCI continued to create positive change in our community and beyond.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that Anteaters are resilient. These challenging times drew out our gifts and brought us closer together in unexpected ways. Here are some of our favorite stories to reflect on as we move UCI forward.