United in a Global Pandemic

In recent months, we have experienced an unprecedented time in the history of Northwestern Medicine. The emergence of COVID-19 has required the collective response of our dedicated physicians, nurses, and support personnel, along with our scientists, trainees, and students. Together, we share incredible pride in the collective efforts of so many.

The pandemic has demanded the best of our academic medical community: The stories emerging from hospitals and those of our patients have lifted our spirits and reinforced why we chose the paths of medicine and life sciences.

In this issue, you can read about Northwestern Medicine’s response in our special COVID-19 section, “Mobilizing in a Pandemic,” which shares stories from front-line clinical units, transformed laboratories, and virtual classrooms — stories of resilience and collaboration under remarkable circumstances.

Eric G. Neilson, MD
Vice President for Medical Affairs
Lewis Landsberg Dean

Dean M. Harrison
President and CEO
Northwestern Memorial HealthCare

As a result of this extraordinary commitment, already at the time of this writing, thousands of patients have been discharged from our hospitals to complete their COVID-19 recovery at home. Promising drug targets have been identified. Critical clinical trials have been rapidly launched.

This past March, not long before the Illinois stay-at-home order was issued, Feinberg was recognized by U.S. News & World Report as one of the best research-oriented medical schools in the nation, rising one spot to 18th in the nation. Later that month, we matched our most diverse class of residents ever to train at the McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University. Then, at the end of May, we graduated 147 of the healthcare leaders of tomorrow via virtual ceremony, in the midst of this global pandemic.

Our determination to respond to this challenge with courage, compassion, equity, and the highest standards of character reflects the cardinal truth that the practice of medicine and the pursuit of scientific discovery do not stop in times of crisis.

Now, as Illinois begins to open back up, we are implementing reactivation plans. With progress, there is also a renewed sense of hope.

Following Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s revised stay-at-home order in May, we began scheduling patients in need of care unrelated to COVID-19 whose procedures or surgeries had been postponed. We instituted extensive safety measures to protect everyone, from the use of face masks and symptom screening, to more frequent cleaning and facility modifications to support physical distancing guidelines.

Our determination to respond to this challenge with courage, compassion, equity, and the highest standards of character reflects the cardinal truth that the practice of medicine and the pursuit of scientific discovery do not stop in times of crisis. Rather, they are the unifying forces that will help our society move forward. In these unique circumstances, we choose to recommit ourselves to our mission to treat and cure diseases and to improve human health, while serving our communities.

We have no doubt that, one day very soon, we will be able look back with pride at how the efforts of our entire academic healthcare system contributed to the successful global response to this pandemic. Until then, we celebrate each positive step forward and all of the heroes behind that effort.

With warm regards,

Eric G. Neilson, MD
Vice President for Medical Affairs
Lewis Landsberg Dean

Dean M. Harrison
President and CEO
Northwestern Memorial HealthCare