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Aaron Hoard named Director of Regional & Community Relations

Aaron Hoard has been named Director of Regional & Community Relations at the University of Washington, UW Vice President for External Affairs Randy Hodgins announced Tuesday. Hoard’s appointment is effective September 5.

Aaron Hoard

The Office of Regional & Community Relations links the University with neighborhoods surrounding the Seattle campus, civic groups and local government. The Director of Regional & Community Relations reports directly to the Vice President for External Affairs.

“With more than two decades serving in this office, Aaron knows the Regional and Community Relations world like the back of his hand,” Hodgins said. “His vast institutional knowledge and experience as well as strong connections inside and outside the University will continue to strengthen the UW’s relationships with local lawmakers and community stakeholders.”

Hoard has been with the UW for 23 years serving first as a Special Projects Manager and then as Deputy Director for the Office of Regional & Community Relations. While with the UW, he has worked on a variety of projects including affordable housing, public safety, transit, the Campus Master Plan, North of 45th and served on local boards and committees. He was formerly a Comprehensive Planner and Geographic Information Systems Analyst for the City of Bellevue. He graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in geography.
“I look forward to continuing my work to connect campus with local government and the surrounding community,” Hoard said.

Hoard takes over the director position from Sally Clark who was recently named Vice President of Campus Community Safety.

Honoring Indigenous People’s Day

The University of Washington acknowledges the Coast Salish peoples of this land, the land that touches the shared waters of all tribes and bands within the Suquamish, Tulalip and Muckleshoot nations. To learn more about the land you live on, we recommend consulting Native Land.

Indigenous People’s Day is a celebration and honoring of the past, present, and futures of Native People in lieu of Columbus Day. On this day, we recognize the histories, cultures and contributions of Native people in Washington state and beyond. To learn more about connections between Indigenous communities and the University of Washington, the Office of External Affairs recommends the following resources as a starting point.

Take the Indigenous Walking Tour – Authored by Owen Oliver, a recent UW graduate, the tour highlights the Indigenous presence on campus, including stops at the Burke Museum and wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ Intellectual House. A virtual version of the tour is available courtesy of UW News.

Visit the Burke MuseumThe Burke Museum cares for and shares natural and cultural collections so all people can learn, be inspired, generate knowledge, feel joy and heal. The Burke holds significant collections of Northwest and Alaskan Native art, archaeology and historical archives, which are actively used by Native artists, scholars, students, Tribal leaders and community members. Relationships maintained between indigenous communities and the Burke Museum preserve the ingenuity, creativity, science and complex knowledge of natural and cultural resources.

Check out UW In Your Community – The UW is proud to partner with many tribal nations, tribal citizens and descendants connected to Washington territories. UW In Your Community’s Tribal Nations page highlights some of the many ways the UW collaborates with tribal citizens and supports Native students. For a more comprehensive list of resources, we recommend the UW Tribal Relations Resource Directory.

Huskies fighting COVID-19: Denise Batura

This week we connected with Denise Batura, ICU nurse at Harborview Medical Center. Batura has been working on the front lines of the pandemic in the Harborview COVID-19 ICU. She shares her experience caring for patients and serving families during this unprecedented time.

Q: What inspired you to become a nurse? What keeps you going?
A: I always knew that I wanted to be a nurse. I love people and caring for them. What solidified me pursuing a nursing career was working in a long term care facility and loving being around the elderly and learning about them as a person, listening to their stories and life experiences.

I have been a nurse now for 25 years, and I continue to love it. Nurses are an amazing group of people that I am proud to be a part of.

Q: Do you remember when you first heard about COVID-19? What were you thinking and feeling at that time? How did that change as the weeks progressed?
A: When I first heard of COVID-19 it was early February. To be honest I was not that concerned about it. I remember when there was the Ebola outbreak in Africa in 2014. Harborview had a plan in place with a team of nurses, respiratory therapies and doctors to care for them. I think our hospital had one Ebola case or rule out. Nothing catastrophic.

I had been planning several ski vacations, one to Colorado in February and the other to Banff in Canada early March. While in Banff, COVID became very real. It was all over – the news of the outbreak – and that it had reached the United States, my home Washington. I was traveling with two friends’ nurses. We were flying home on March 12th wondering if we would be allowed back in the States. I remember being extra careful wiping down our area with sani wipes and using the septic nasal swabs prior to our flight. I remember covering our faces with our jackets on the plane ride home. COVID was becoming very real flying home to where someone had died from it. COVID-19 had made it to Washington.

My vacation was over and I was in charge of the COVID ICU. I was given detailed instructions on how to train others on entering and exiting the patient’s room. We had all been trained early in the year on proper donning and doffing [of personal protective equipment]. COVID-19 took it to a new level. Not only did we don and doff very methodically, steps had been added to safely enter and exit a room with cleaning doors and surfaces multiple times with each entry and exit. There was and still is a trained observer to watch and make sure you enter and exit the room safely. It was intense.

My work day involved dressing in PPE, wearing scrubs (no street clothes or undershirts), scrub pants either rolled up or tucked in your socks so they didn’t touch the ground, a plastic gown, hair pulled back, a mask (N95 or PAPR) and eye protection. We’d try to cluster care so that we were not going in and out of the room. Not to mention making sure we were hydrated and had gone to the bathroom before we went in. You could expect to be in your patient room for hours. And when I did leave the room, I would be drenched, my scrubs soaked from sweat.

As the world learned more about the virus so did we. We adapted to COVID-19 and how we entered and exited rooms. Procedures would continue to evolve and treatments and therapies would change. The COVID ICU or our nickname Camp Covid continues to be up and running. It is staffed by neuroscience intensive care nurses as well as other nurses from other intensive care units. Caring for these patients has been exhausting.

One of the hardest things I have experienced with COVID-19 is when a patient is admitted to our ICU who is talking to us, alert and oriented. They feel terrible, are having trouble breathing and are scared. We are all hoping the medication and therapies like self-proning will work. But there are times when nothing works and they continue to struggle to breathe, becoming more short of breath, eventually requiring full life support. It is different from any other illness.

Q: With family members not being able to physically be present, has your role as nurse changed or adapted to help people connect with their loved ones? If so, in what ways?
A: COVID-19 prohibits any visitors from coming to the COVID ICU. This means families cannot be at their loved one’s bedside. Communication with families to the patient has been with Zoom on a laptop in the patient room. There have been many heartbreaking moments to hear families talk to their loved one, children sharing what they had done that day and spouses singing or just sharing stories of their day. Many times tears would roll down my face as I stood there listening to how much they love the person lying in the bed. Families would be so thankful for time spent “zooming.”

There are those who have conquered the virus and left the unit which is cause for celebration. We line the hall with staff to cheer for them as they leave Camp Covid. And there are those who are not as lucky. The individual who continues to do poorly despite all efforts. And the call is made for the family to come and say goodbye. Two family members are allowed into the patient’s room for 20 minutes and then they are escorted off the unit. It is absolutely devastating.

Q: This year has been stressful for so many of us. Is there anything you find helpful to care for your mental health and wellbeing as the pandemic continues?
A: To say this pandemic has been stressful is an understatement. So much has happened it is difficult to put into words. However, I can honestly say I love my job. I love being a nurse and the people I work with. They are all amazing individuals. We carry each other.

For me, keeping my spirits up and surviving this pandemic is taking it one day at a time.
Exercising, getting outside, and journaling which I started in June. I continue to be thankful for my own health.

Q: What is one thing you wish more people understood about the pandemic?
A: People and the community need to be less careless. Be aware of your surroundings, be aware of your own health. Please do the simple thing of wearing a mask. If you are not feeling well, stay home!!


From the beginning, the University of Washington and UW Medicine have supported our state’s efforts to mitigate the effects of COVID-19. “Huskies fighting COVID-19” is a feature series highlighting individuals whose work is making an impact from Public Health and Computer Science & Engineering to the Virology Lab and the emergency room.

From the VP: My summer reading list

A stack of four books: Arrowsmith, Invisible Man, Eat a Bowl of Tea, and When Pride Still MatteredHistorically, summer has been a season for slowing down, planning for the next academic year and even getting a little time away from the office. Of course, we all know by now this has not been a typical summer. If yours has been like mine, you know work has done anything but slow down and plans for the next academic year continue to be adjusted as the virus persists. Time away from the office mostly entails taking the dog on long walks and the occasional weekend hike. While my social life may be “suffering” from all this physical distancing at home, I have had plenty of time to work through my summer reading list. With everything going on in our world right now, I found myself rethinking the books I might normally pull off the shelf — I wanted to engage with material that is in conversation with our time. I found books by past literary greats that spoke with surprising clarity and discernment about our duel pandemics of racism and novel coronavirus. From my bookshelf to yours, here are just a few books on my summer reading list.

Photo of Invisible Man book coverInvisible Man by Ralph Ellison

“I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me,”

“Invisible Man” is a classic American novel about the Black experience and was recently recommended in The Seattle Times by UW Professor Emeritus Charles Johnson — who incidentally won the National Book Award for fiction in 1990 for the classic “Middle Passage.” I first read “Invisible Man” in high school, but as a white, middle-class male, the novel really did not resonate. I am guessing I might not have been the only white high schooler to feel this way. If this was your experience, I would highly recommend revisiting this work. Ellison’s prose is as relevant today as they were in the 1940s. He chronicles the life of a young, nameless Black man as he attempts to navigate racism, intolerance and cultural blindness in the deep South and New York City.


Photo of the cover of ArrowsmithArrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis

Sinclair Lewis’ Pulitzer Prize winning work speaks with an uncanny clarity during a global pandemic almost a century after its publication. The novel follows young Martin Arrowsmith as he struggles to decide whether to embark on a career in research or as a clinical physician. The parallels between the challenges Arrowsmith and his colleagues face (resistance to wearing masks, anti-vaccination, the use of unproven remedies), and those raised by the current pandemic almost a century later are both eerie and confounding.

Interestingly, although Lewis won the Pultizer Prize for “Arrowsmith,” he refused the prize winnings in part because he felt he should have been honored for a previous novel: “Main Street.”


Eat a Bowl of Tea by Louis Chu

UW professor of English (and sometimes golfing partner) Shawn Wong recommended this book during a campus lecture on the classic Japanese-American novel “No No Boy” which I attended with my wife Tina just before the COVID-19 shutdown.  Recently republished by the University of Washington Press, “Eat a Bowl of Tea” is praised as the first novel to authentically portray everyday life in an American Chinatown circa mid-20th century New York City. Chu’s novel spotlights the consequences for many Chinese men in the U.S. who were separated from their wives and families due to the 1924 Chinese Exclusion Act and Immigration Act. The story explores intergenerational conflict, gender relations and life in a highly isolated environment through the story of a newlywed couple navigating their tight-knit community’s expectations.


Photo of the cover of When Pride Still MatteredHonorable Mention
When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi by David Maraniss

Confession: I read this one earlier in the year, but it was such a fascinating read I’m recommending it for your summer reading list anyway.  If you are a professional football fan of a certain age, you might feel that you know plenty about Vince Lombardi. I certainly did. But Maraniss’s work made me rethink much of what I thought I knew about this football legend. He turned out to be a lot more nuanced and frankly ahead of his time than the “old school” stereotype portrayed in sports media.  Even if you aren’t a football fan, this is one of the best biographies I’ve read and the definitive take on the life of the man for whom the Super Bowl trophy is named.

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