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UCD Smurfit School MBA Alumni making a difference in the COVID-19 battle

  • Date: Tue, May 5, 2020

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When the first cases of COVID-19 were confirmed on Irish shores in late February 2020, it seemed unimaginable that in less than a month all non-essential businesses would be shuttered in countries around the globe to further contain the spread of the virus.

While the economy has slowed, the innovation and ingenuity of the UCD Business community has accelerated to support those who need it most. Strategic leadership, product pivots and transcending traditional industry lines are all part of the make-up of the new business as usual.

“Our goal is to empower our students—who come from a broad range of disciplines—with the tools necessary to lead and have a positive impact on society,” said Professor Gerardine Doyle, Director of UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School.

Below are three of the most inspiring and impactful initiatives from UCD Smurfit MBA Alumni—spanning business, healthcare and technology—as we combat one of the greatest challenges of our time.

#Comfort4Covid: Connecting Isolated Patients and Residents with their families

“Technology has allowed business and society to adapt to operating online. We want to bring that technology to patients and residents in hospitals and nursing homes around Ireland. These people are surrounded by frontline staff in PPE which can be scary and lonely.  We are using tablets so they can see, talk and be reassured by their families” said Ciara Close, Director at Umbrella Foundation.

Ciara, along with fellow UCD Smurfit School MBA alumni Suzanne Stewart and Emma Farrell launched a campaign to help families through these challenging times by sourcing digital tablets to donate to COVID-19 hospitals and nursing homes around Ireland.

Now in its third week, #Comfort4Covid has exceeded initial goals by raising over €69,000, delivering 270 tablets nationally, with over 315 more in the pipeline.

To learn more about the campaign visit the COVID-19 Tablet Campaign Go Fund Me Page.

Ireland’s Call Initiative: Flying medical professionals home

When the call came, Neil Sands answered.

UCD Smurfit School MBA alumnus, Neil created the Ireland’s Call Initiative, a non-profit, public/private fund to fly, transport, house, offer PPE for the heroes on our frontlines in their fight against COVID-19. The initiative also takes care of all the logistics required to make it happen, giving back precious time to medical professionals.

Based on the song used as a national anthem by some Irish sports teams when representing the entire island of Ireland, Ireland's Call represents a coming together of people in support of one cause.  Sands led a group of Irish businesses and individuals to commit their time and resources to help bring Irish healthcare professionals living overseas back home to help fight COVID-19 on Irish shores.

“We will need the collective action of many, to support the few that are on our frontlines,” said Sands, Founder and CEO of San Francisco based Fox Consultancy, when he spoke to RTE's Cillian Sherlock. “Although the challenge is great, Irish individuals and businesses have never shied away from an impossible task or an immovable object.”

In four weeks, the campaign raised over €80,000 to bring back nurses and doctors to help on the frontlines. And there are more waiting.

Learn more about the inspiring campaign here and read RTE's article, First arrival as medics answer Ireland's callhere.

Fastrack COVID-19 Testing Form for GPs

Dublin-based doctor and UCD Smurfit School MBA Alumnus, Knut Moe, created a free to use online form, Screening Form, that speeds up COVID-19 testing for GPs and patients.

“In my own practice, we are receiving hundreds of phone calls per day from worried patients,” said Dr Moe. “Since we started using this form, we have cut phone time by 50% on reception and GP consultation calls, and enabled over 100 patients per GP per day to be triaged and referred quickly for testing.”

When a patient contacts their GP, the practice gives the patient a link to the form via text message or directs them to the GP’s website. After the patient completes the form via mobile or desktop, the GP can quickly assess the patient’s condition and potential need for testing.

More than 200 GPs have signed up for Screening Form which reduces time spent on the phone and increases the number of tests that GPs can refer patients for each day.

Dr Moe is also co-founder of the new UCD Smurfit Healthcare Leadership Network along with Professor Gerardine Doyle, Director of UCD Smurfit School. The Network brings together global leaders—many of whom are UCD Smurfit School MBA alumni or have completed the UCD Smurfit Executive Development Certificate in Health Care Management Practice—with a goal of fostering communication, collaboration and innovation in healthcare amongst those working in the sector.

Reporting for duty

UCD Smurfit MBA Alumni come from a range of industries and backgrounds, including medical professions. We thank those individuals, like Dr Simon Daly who is continuing his MBA degree through recorded materials as he returned to the front lines; classmates Siun Tobin and Robert Howard-Jones who are practicing pharmacists; and all of our healthcare professionals who are serving communities and taking care of those most in need.

Learn more about the highly-ranked UCD Smurfit School MBA programme here and reach out to our Admissions Team with questions about your application. 

UCD Smurfit School is the only business school in Ireland and one of an elite group of schools worldwide to hold the ‘triple crown’ of accreditation from three centres of business and academic excellence- EQUIS, AACSB and AMBA. For the past twenty years, our Full-Time MBA programme has been consistently ranked by the prestigious global Top 100 Financial Times rankings.

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