Colorado Mesa University’s Quick and Innovative Pandemic Response

As a healthcare network serving Western Coloradans, Monument Health values working with other organizations in the area to improve the health of our communities. Colorado Mesa University is an important part of that equation. Not only do we partner with them to support, train, and graduate a vibrant healthcare workforce, we witnessed and benefited from their quick response, high-tech, proactive, and student-focused approach during the developing COVID pandemic last school year. John Marshall, Colorado Mesa’s newly appointed president, co-chaired the university’s COVID efforts with Dr. Amy Bronson, PhD. Their work was recently featured in the New York Times and worth celebrating with you (The Future of Virus Tracking Can Be Found on This College Campus)! 

The New York Times feature details how Colorado Mesa University was able to quickly pivot and work with the Broad Institute of M.I.T. and Harvard implementing a new app called “Lookout”. This technology was used daily by students to track symptoms and trace contacts to isolate any potential outbreaks. With the student’s cooperation, “Mavily’s” (a wordplay on Mavs + family) was put into place to reduce exposure opportunities and potential viral outbreaks. These Mavily’s participated in random daily COVID tests to ensure that COVID breakouts were contained and isolated immediately. Additionally, CMU– with the inventive help of their engineering students–was able to test wastewater isolated at each dorm to identify any discrepancies in reporting on Lookout compared to actual, physical data collected from the dorms’ wastewater.

Each layer of the campus’s response was forward-thinking, student-focused, and prioritized the health of the campus and community. Stepping up to work with new technology and quickly implement protocols for students to safely return to campus allowed CMU to continue in-person learning for the entire 2020-21 school year. 

Because of the leadership of Marshall and Dr. Bronson, and their partnership with M.I.T and Harvard, along with their willingness to embrace innovative, forward-thinking solutions, CMU was able to handle COVID-19 and meet their mission while being a collaborative community partner. 

Congratulations to CMU on the accomplishments over this last year! This is a win for the community and CMU’s students and should make us all proud.