IfM students and staff awarded ‘Covid Stars’ for efforts during pandemic
After almost two years of Covid, Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH) is awarding ‘Covid Stars’ to recognise the outstanding contribution of colleagues and partners who have shown professionalism, dedication, courage and overwhelming kindness during the pandemic.
On Tuesday 24 May, 31 IfM staff and students received awards from representatives of the leadership team at CUH in recognition of working with Addenbrooke’s and Papworth hospitals during the pandemic.
Dr Ewen Cameron, Executive Director of Improvement and Transformation and Daniel Northam Jones, Director of Strategy, both from Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust, gave out the awards in recognition of IfM helping CUH to make the best use of their resources, streamlining logistics for sourcing and storing vital personal protective equipment (PPE), informing decision-making on emergency demand, and developing a ventilator sharing system to be used in emergencies.
Handing out the awards, Ewen explained: ‘In the initial phase of the pandemic we were dealing with a disease which we didn’t know how to treat, in hospitals that weren’t built for that level of respiratory virus. So, it was hugely valuable to work with the IfM who – in bringing in different perspectives and the skills – helped us to solve those problems.
‘They also brought a mindset of capability and a strong work ethic, meaning we were able to work quickly together, developing a deep level of trust. It has been a hugely rewarding partnership, despite dealing with some really challenging problems.’
Tim Minshall, Dr John C Taylor Professor of Innovation & Head of the Institute for Manufacturing said: ‘Addenbrooke’s Hospital reached out to us in the middle of a crisis, and we wanted to respond as positively as we could. The engagement with the hospital was helped by a sense of a common cultural approach, a similar sense of purpose, and a shared context of our local community: we all had, at some point, made some personal link with the work of our local hospital. This helped ensure a ready level of engagement at the institute as well as the individual level.’
A strong foundation in healthcare work - together with the institute’s culture of collaboration - meant the IfM was able to react quickly and effectively to the COVID-19 crisis; mobilising students, staff and healthcare contacts across the city to ensure a swift and targeted response.
‘The Covid star is one of the ways we wanted to recognise the contribution of our staff and partners during the pandemic,’ says Ewen. ‘Whilst colleagues at the IfM aren’t hospital staff, we wanted to recognise their amazing contribution by awarding those involved with a star to say thank you for everything they have done.’
As a result of the success of this work, a joint Cambridge University Hospitals Trust (CUH)–IfM panel has been initiated so that the local hospitals and the IfM can continue working together for mutual benefit after the pandemic.
The Covid star
The Covid Star is the work of Cambridge based artist Harry Gray and was inspired by his own experiences in hospital.
The shape of the Covid Star is the Maltese Cross, a familiar and ancient motif used by many including St John's Ambulance and the Nightingale Badge of St Thomas's. At its centre is a subtle reference to the Covid-19 molecule with a scalloped rim to represent the spiked surface of the virus, which is now being successfully targeted by lifesaving vaccines.
Each medal is handmade in Birmingham by specialist jewellers, Thomas Fattorini Ltd who hold royal warrant to craft insignia and honours for Her Majesty the Queen.