Dean Klotman's Friday Afternoon Message, July 31, 2020

Dear School of Medicine faculty, staff and students,

Dean Mary E. KlotmanAs we move into August, changes on our campus will continue with the arrival of students and the beginning of the University’s fall semester. You likely heard President Price’s announcement earlier this week that Duke will limit University-provided housing in the fall to first-year undergraduate students, sophomores and students who require special accommodations. This decision was made to reduce the student residential population to ensure that the University can provide a safe environment for students and employees.

This same premise is what has informed the University and School of Medicine’s decision to limit employees returning to the workplace. You should have received a message from me yesterday confirming that employees who are able to continue to work remotely should plan to do so until at least January 2021. Faculty, staff and students working in laboratory research, clinical research, or the patient care setting have remained at work or have already returned to the workplace under strict guidelines.

Employees who return to the workplace are required to complete a symptom screening survey each morning. Our IT experts at Duke have done outstanding work, and I am happy to report that the screening can now be completed using a new app - SymMon. A new app has also been developed and will soon be launched for our clinical employees.

The innovation in developing creative solutions to the challenges of this pandemic has been extraordinary! Members of our Duke community have relentlessly found new ways to work and improve existing processes and workflow!

Let me end by calling your attention to examples of our exceptional faculty and staff, who continue to demonstrate thought-leadership about important and timely issues:

  • On July 23, four inspiring and courageous women leaders – Adia Ross, MD, Jessica Johnson, Priscilla Ramseur, and Katina Williams - participated in a panel discussion, Black Women@Duke and in America. This was the second in a series; Black Men@Duke and in America aired in June. These powerful and enlightening conversations are part of Duke Health’s Moments to Movement initiative to dismantle racism. Please take time to view these recordings and watch for information about future programs and opportunities to take part in discussions and contribute to our commitment to true change.
  • This week, an article in JAMA authored by Adrian Hernandez, MD; Lesley Curtis, PhD, and Jon Bae, MD, provided a long overdue analysis of the US News rankings and uncovered disturbing failures of the current process which has resulted in years of an inaccurate and misleading reflection of hospitals and quality. 
  • On July 28, the School of Medicine and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences hosted a Town Hall: A Conversation about Mental Health and Race. Valuable perspectives, insights and resources were provided by four of our outstanding mental health experts: Ben Reese, PsyD; Annise Weaver, MS, CRD; Damon Tweedy, MD; and Ernestine Briggs-King, PhD. I encourage you to watch the recording of this event. The School of Medicine is committed to hosting future town hall meetings that address other timely topics to support our faculty, staff and students. 

Each day brings many news challenges for all of us. I find comfort in knowing that I am surrounded by all of you - remarkably talented colleagues who contribute each day to the health and well-being of our community and beyond through your work.

Please take time this weekend to rest; I have to remind myself this is a marathon not a sprint. Take care of yourselves and your families and stay well.

Please visit the School of Medicine’s COVID-19 Information page to keep abreast of important news and information:


Dean Mary E. Klotman