Under the Microscope

Dear Friend,

The COVID-19 crisis has created the highest level of uncertainty that the U.S. has faced in 35 years. While most were nervous, and many were home, CHI Health stepped out onto the edge of the Coronavirus pandemic to do what we do – care, heal and innovate.

Inspired by our mission, we linked arms with Creighton University in a truly great display of partnership and public service. We assembled a brain trust united in a single goal – to care for our communities and protect them against a villain we knew little about. In those early days, clinicians and researchers were on Zoom talking about mask sterilization and how to preserve PPE. The work ahead of us was not a 9 to 5 job, it was a 24/7 job with enormous hurdles and considerable suffering.

As you will read in this magazine, the CHI Health / Creighton University partnership jumped in early knowing that any discoveries were huge leaps forward both for those struggling to breathe and those desperately trying to care for them. Brilliant minds were solving real-time problems using their expertise and innovation. They discovered 3D printers would create face shields that were in short supply; they developed processes to preserve personal protective equipment; and made PAPR parts that were backordered but needed on patient floors.

The results of their hard work saved lives and eased the anxiety of caregivers whose focus could stay on serving patients and one another. Partnership, at its best, is where people and purpose intersect, and it is that place where CHI Health and Creighton University do their most remarkable work.

Thank you for everything you are doing to ensure our communities are safe and well cared for.


Cliff Robertson, MD
Chief Executive Officer
CHI Health

Dear Colleague,

The academic health system partnership between Creighton University and CHI Health was put to an unprecedented test by COVID-19, beginning in early 2020 and continuing through today, and I am pleased that not only have we passed the test, but we have found new ways to collaborate and bring about important health care innovations.

The steadfast and adept cooperation between the clinicians and researchers from the Creighton University School of Medicine and the health care professionals in the area’s largest health system resulted in more patients being treated for COVID-19 than by any other system in the region – and without the shortages and struggles experienced elsewhere in the country.

As the academic health care partner, our School of Medicine continually assessed the latest coronavirus developments to modify our education, research, clinical care and advocacy. I am exceptionally proud of how our dedicated faculty supported our students, as together they responded to the evolving situation and the needs of patients.

The articles found on these pages tell the stories of science happening in real time, benefiting families throughout Nebraska and southwest Iowa as they face an invisible and deadly foe.

The battle is not over. But the pandemic forced us to prove that our common mission to serve the region’s communities – caring for all in need while advancing knowledge and training tomorrow’s providers – is on the right track and moving in the right direction.

Robert Dunlay, MD
Dean, Creighton University School of Medicine