Over the past couple of months, the world has experienced changes, challenges and grief like we have never known. Each day brings with it new hurdles to overcome, but also new reasons to be hopeful.
The UC San Diego community is working tirelessly to find solutions to the obstacles we face as a result of the the pandemic. From critical research to combat COVID-19 to making masks for healthcare workers, we are proud to witness inspiring acts of resilience and care.
In recognition of the ways the community has shown care during crisis, and to support these efforts as the crisis continues, UC San Diego has organized u.Care, a “Day of Caring” from 6 a.m. on May 14-2 p.m. on May 15. During these 32 hours, our UC San Diego community is encouraged to share inspiring stories, and, if you are able, donate a gift of any amount to make a difference.
We are so proud of the many Rady School alumni, partners, staff, students, and faculty who have found ways to support others in this difficult time. We have shared several of these inspiring stories below:
You can also dedicate your gift to UC San Diego’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund and participate in a $350,000 match thanks to a generous challenge grant from The Conrad Prebys Foundation.
Richard Castle (FlexWeekend MBA ’13), the co-founder and president of Cloudbeds, a hospitality management software, launched the #HospitalityHelps initiative. The online platform facilitates connections between hotel properties that want to make their beds available to healthcare agencies, organizations or individuals who need them. Within a few days, the more than 1.2 million beds had been pledged at HospitalityHelps.org.
Alumni working at the Scripps Research Institute are conducting a study to improve the real-time surveillance of contagious respiratory illnesses such as COVID-19 using data from smartwatches and activity trackers. Through the app-based DETECT study, Katie Baca-Motes (MBA ’09 and Director of the All of Us research project), Royan Kamyar (MBA ’10, physician and CEO and founder of Owaves app) and project manager and incoming MBA FlexWeekend student Lauren Ariniello, along with their colleagues, are crowdsourcing anonymized data across the United States.
“By evaluating individual changes to heart rate, sleep and activity patterns, as well as logged respiratory symptoms and diagnostics test results, the Scripps’ team hopes to complement traditional public health surveillance methods, potentially leading to earlier detection and containment of current and future outbreaks in various geographical locations,” said Baca-Motes.
Three MBA 2021 students have organized a GoFundMe campaign to manufacture and distribute 3D-printed mask kits. Since organizing the campaign in early April, Amir Hassan and Nicholas DiGirolamo (MBA ’21) and Mark Schultzel (FlexWeeend MBA ’21) have delivered more than 500 face mask kits to local organizations in need.
Snehanshu Tiwari, Vishnu Sharon R. and Sakshi Sharma (MSBA ’18) contacted Professor Ken Wilbur to offer their help reviewing resumes, preparing for interviews or make introductions for current MSBA students graduating this summer. When Professor Wilbur shared this update on LinkedIn, even more alumni offered to help!
Sean Haggerty (FlexWeekend MBA ’17), founder of Protector Brewery, made curbside pickup and delivery available, in addition to offering the brewery’s supply of filtered water available to those in need. Protector Brewery has pledged to donate $1 from each order to Team Rubicon, a non-profit organization supporting veterans impacted by COVID-19.
Grace Evans Cherashore, a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council and Executive Chairwoman of Evans Hotels, is leading an effort to make hotel rooms open and available to healthcare workers. Medical workers who present ID at The Lodge at Torrey Pines, Catamaran and Bahia Resort Hotels are eligible to receive a discount of more than 50%. “The medical workers want to be in this fight as long as they can and a hotel allows them to be isolated,” Bill Evans, co-owner of Evans Hotel told 10 News. The Evans family has been a generous partner to the Rady School.
Jaden Risner and Clay Treska (FlexWeekend MBA ’19) founded Family Proud an app to help patients and their caregivers and loved ones manage their care, while they were students at the Rady School. In Spring 2020, the Family Proud platform was updated to include resources and support for those affected by COVID-19.
Steve Prestrelski (FlexWeekend MBA ’06) is the founder and chief scientific officer of Xeris Pharmaceuticals, which is offering its GVOKE Pre-Filled Syringe—an injectable treatment for diabetes patients who experience severe hypoglycemia—for $0 copay through May 31st.
The team at Indigo Marketing Agency, founded by Claire Akin (MBA ’10). prepared a list of tips for working from home. “Indigo Marketing Agency is a company run almost completely virtually by mothers of young children,” said Akin. “We saw so many of our clients struggling to adapt, so we wanted to offer our tips and tricks for working at home (even with small children) … I believe that we are helping our team members support their families and spend time with their children. It’s the best of both worlds and it provides a highly fulfilling lifestyle!”
Rady Alumni Board president Josh Kuss is the Senior Director of Commercial Strategy at Illumina and the commercial lead for the company’s San Diego Emergency Management Team. The team has been working since March “defining and implementing the strategies for how we keep Illumina’s employees safe, while ensuring supply to our customers, many of which are on the front line of SARS-COV-2/COVID19 research, tracing, and treatment. We tackled how to transition to work from home, and are now in the process of determining a sound return to work strategy,” said Kuss.
Academic Assessment Senior Analyst Christine McMahan volunteers with a national organization that has provided 100,000 masks for front-line workers. McMahan also offered to sew masks for Rady School staff and faculty in need. She made 65 in total, sewing every evening until she ran out of supplies.
Krithi Bindal (MBA ’17) is the founder and president of Aroga Biosciences, a regulatory writing biopharma firm which has been donating their scientific expertise to peer-review pre-print literature related to COVID-19 research.
“We are in a period of information overload,” said Bindal. “Misinformation about COVID-19, especially information lacking scientific rigor, can lead to significant risk to the public. I feel it is our duty as scientists to ensure effective communication and to help delineate scientific factual results from fiction. After all, our job as scientists is to find the truth.”
“The name of our company Aroga is based on the sanskrit term ‘arogya”, which means free of disease. We hope to continue to contribute to freeing the world of disease as we help to develop treatments for ailing patients. As we navigate these challenging times, our mission is unchanged and is stronger than ever.”
Sara Jones (Flex Weekend ’13) is the CEO of Plum Blossom Creations. She is offering free workshops on The Big Four of Mental Toughness.
“As an Unbeatable Mind student, I learned first-hand the power of the Big 4 of Mental Toughness in my fight against Triple Negative Breast Cancer. I used the Big 4 to feed my Courage Wolf, stare down my fears and thrive through the health crisis that threatened my life…
As lives were disrupted by homeschooling, layoffs, new routines and all the rest, I wanted to do what I could to help. As an Unbeatable Mind Coach, I had access to the four habits, tried and tested by warriors for 1000s of years, made simple and doable by Mark Divine, retired Navy SEAL through the Unbeatable Mind Academy. And I wanted to share those tools with others.”
To learn more about the Big Four of Mental Toughness, connect with Sara by email firstname.lastname@example.org or on LinkedIn. To sign up for coaching, visit https://bit.ly/UMCoachingwithSaraJones.
More ways in which the UC San Diego community is responding to COVID-19:
- Medical school researchers launched “MyWellnessCheck,” an online platform to help identify how certain attitudes and behaviors may help increase well-being during a crisis.
- UC San Diego Health is offering virtual appointments for people that have tested positive for COVID-19 but don’t require hospital care
- Groups of engineering students spent their spring break designing a low-cost, easy-to-use and easy-to-build ventilator that could serve COVID-19 patients
- The Theatre Costume Shop made and donated over 150 masks to UC San Diego nurses in one week.
- UC San Diego physician-scientist Dr. Eliah Aronoff-Spencer, along with a team of researchers, built a rapid response platform to connect clinicians with answers to COVID-19 questions, resources and potential solutions to the challenges they face.
Read more about UC San Diego’s response to COVID-19 here.
Are you a member of the Rady School community who would like to share a story of care? Please fill out this form or email email@example.com.