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Department ofReligious Studies

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Margaret McLean Spring 2021 Update

Serves on SCU COVID Resilience & Recovery Team and completes 3 major research & teaching projects.

It is been said before, “What a year this has been!” For me, it was a trip back in time to my training as a clinical pathologist at the Medical College of Wisconsin and my work at the Oregon Health and Science University. 

For the past year, I have been serving as a member of the University’s COVID Resilience and Recovery Team on the testing team responsible for implementing on-campus COVID-19 testing for students, faculty, and staff. When we began in May 2020, this was a daunting task since SCU does not have a medical school, a nursing school, or a school of public health. However, we do have a team of dedicated faculty and staff who have worked tirelessly to understand the ins and outs of PCR viral testing and how we could do it here. We developed partnerships with commercial labs and set-up on-site testing for students, staff, and faculty. Thousands upon thousands of tests later, we are throttling back for summer and monitoring guidance from the CDC, state, and county as SCU prepares for a return to campus in the fall.

In addition to my responding to the unpredictable and often surprising nature of online teaching, three major research and writing projects have crossed the finish line:

  • An article in an upcoming issue of Academic Medicine co-authored with Melissa Bottrell entitled "Combining Ethics Inquiry and Clinical Experience in a Premedical Health Care Ethics Internship"

Indeed, it has been quite a year!

Optimism and hope are returning although uncertainty remains. As an ethicist, I am methodically packing up lessons from the past pandemic year—for example, the strength of public-private partnerships in vaccine development and long-present health disparities that many suffered but are now laid bare for all to see. I plan to use my fall sabbatical to unpack these lessons inspecting each carefully through the lens of ethics and engaging in critical thinking and writing about pandemic so that we can all do better when we reach the inevitable “next time.”