Documenting our response to COVID-19 …

To say that COVID-19 has changed our world would be an immense understatement. It’s even added a list of new phrases like “social distancing” to our vocabulary. You know The University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler (UTHSCT) has been at the forefront of the battle against COVID-19. But I know you’ve been busy and may not have had the chance to keep up with the great work we’ve been doing in this regard. We’ve prepared several videos to highlight our efforts:

I know you’ll join me in the pride I take in seeing this proof of our commitment and contribution to the health and safety of the people of East Texas. I also can’t pass up this opportunity to remind you that people are watching and listening to us. We should be wearing masks, social distancing, avoiding public gatherings, washing our hands frequently, and communicating responsibly about the risks from COVID-19; not only because these are the right things to do, but also because we have a responsibility to our neighbors to model safe, healthy behaviors. Thank you for all that you do!

Announcements …

 National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

  • The third week of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) examines the future of internet-connected devices and explores how technological innovations, such as 5G, might impact consumers’ and businesses’ online experiences (e.g. faster speeds and data transmission and larger attack surfaces for cybercriminals). We will also examine how people and infrastructure can adapt to the continuous evolution of internet-connected devices moving forward. It is not only necessary to safeguard our personal devices, but also the devices we interact with. No matter what the future brings, everyone needs to do their part and #BeCyberSmart to ensure the safety of cyberspace. To learn more, visit, and
  • NCSAM weekly contest – Ask a question or make a comment during Information Security’s lunch-and-learn this Thursday, for a chance to win a prize in the drawings held Friday, October, 20
  • Join the UTHSCT Information Security Department’s virtual lunch-and-learn from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, October 29. Virtual event details can be found at the SharePoint link above. Share a question with the group for another chance to win a prize in the drawing.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Staying at a healthy weight, being physically active and limiting or avoiding alcohol are smart strategies to help lower your risk of breast cancer. To share healthy tips and other information, the American Cancer Society® offers the Healthy Living newsletter, a free monthly email with useful information on exercising, eating better and maintaining a healthy weight to help reduce your cancer risk. Sign up today: Call 800-227-2345 or visit to learn more.

CAPSA-ET lunch and learn at home webinar – TODAY – October 27

The Community-Academic Partnership for Substance Abuse in East Texas (CAPSA-ET) will present a lunch and learn at Home webinar on October 27 at noon. Deputy Chief Medical Examiner Dwayne Wolf, MD, PhD, from the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences will present a talk on “Substance Use Disorder as it Relates to Cause and Manner of Death, Death Certificates and Drug Toxicity Death.” To attend the event, click this link: Meeting ID: 841 3138 5040 Passcode: 231988

Free Microsoft Teams training event: Calendar & Calls – TOMORROW – October 28

Microsoft has organized another “Teams Talk” session to cover a specific area of Teams for a short, focused look. This session will cover the “Calendar” and “Calls” tabs to help users better understand all of the features available when scheduling meetings via Teams. We’ll also touch on how to personalize your view in the “Calls” tab to better utilize the internal calling features. The event will begin Wednesday, October 28 at 1:15 p.m. and is scheduled for 30 minutes of content with an optional Q&A session afterwards. Follow this link for an option to join the live event:

Chronic pain management webinar – October 29

UT Select participants can join in the Hinge Health exercise therapy program to help address chronic back, knee, hip, neck and shoulder pain from the convenience of their homes. The program provides unlimited one-on-one coaching, personalized exercise therapy, free tablet and wearable sensors. Register now to learn more about this pain management opportunity during a 30-minute online webinar, October 29 at noon. Click this link to access the webinar:

Using your UT Select telehealth benefit – October 29

Join this webinar to learn how your UT Select telehealth benefit can help when you’re feeling sick. MDLive is a great way to avoid lines in the emergency room, urgent care clinic, or doctor’s office. It allows you to see a doctor on your schedule with on-demand virtual visits 24/7, including nights, weekends and holidays. MDLive providers can treat participants for more than 80 common conditions including colds, flu, allergies and more. Utilizing MDLive can also help you avoid costly copayments and deductibles for emergency room or urgent care clinic visits. Register now for the webinar to be held Thursday, October 29, at 12:30 p.m. by clicking this link:

Walk with a Doc latest video – November 2

Watch Michele Bosworth, MD, FAAFP, LSSGB, as she discusses “Making Informed Decisions as a Patient” in the current virtual edition of UTHSCT’s Walk with a Doc. As the video series continues, you’re encouraged to visit the Camp Fannin Walking Trail, while maintaining social distancing guidelines. This Walk with a Doc video presentation will be posted on our website at: and on all of our social media channels November 2 at 11:00 a.m.

Diabetes prevention program: ‘Prevent T2’ – orientation November 3

The National Diabetes Prevention Program is approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and taught by a CDC-certified lifestyle change coach. Prevent T2 is a yearlong workshop series proven to help people with prediabetes prevent or delay development of Type 2 diabetes by 58%. Participants will learn to make healthier lifestyle choices that include nutrition, physical activity, stress management and more. Prevent T2 workshops are open to the public and require a one-year commitment meeting weekly for the first six months, then once or twice a month for the second six months, in order to maintain healthy lifestyle changes. The workshops will be held in person in room H104, and virtually using Microsoft Teams on Tuesdays from 6:00 until 7:00 p.m., starting with an orientation on November 3. Attendees are invited to preregister by calling 903-877-1479 or emailing For more information about other programs we offer, visit To find out if you are at an increased risk for having prediabetes and are at high risk for Type 2 diabetes, take the National Diabetes Prevention Program’s prediabetes risk test:

November is Diabetes Awareness Month, webinar – November 4

UT Select members can learn about how Livongo, a UT System wellness vendor, can help manage their diabetes during a webinar on November 4 at noon. See if Livongo can help you or a covered family member find easy ways to fit health into your life. Register for the webinar by clicking this link:

UT Select participant benefit webinar – November 4

UT Select participants have access to Omada, a program that helps reduce healthcare costs by providing opportunities to improve your health through an evidence-based, digital care program that provides ongoing and personalized support. Register now to learn more during the Omada Diabetes Awareness Month virtual webinar on November 4 at 12:30 p.m. by clicking this link:

Reminders …

The Riter Center coffee kiosk is open

The coffee kiosk in the Riter Center is open again just in time for fall. Breakfast pastries are available along with a selection of Starbucks coffee and smoothies. If you’re a pumpkin spice lover, it’s on the way. The coffee kiosk is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.

Virtual appointments with UT retirement vendors

UT retirement vendors are not currently allowed to come on campus for face-to-face meetings with employees. But they are available for virtual appointments. Check availability and schedule appointments using the links for each vendor company below.

COVID-19 Reminders … 

Updates and changes to our policies and practices as a result of COVID-19 are posted here:

The latest public health information on COVID-19 is available here:

Travel and COVID-19

Please remember that – despite the phased re-opening by the State of Texas – we are still in a critical phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. Physical distancing continues to be recommended to decrease spread of this illness. Following these safe practices from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is strongly advised

    • Business travel on behalf of UTHSCT continues to be suspended except under extraordinary circumstances.
    • Additionally, personal travel outside our region (defined as more than 125-150 miles) continues to be discouraged. Travel by common carrier (public airlines, buses, trains, etc.) is especially problematic. If you must travel for personal reasons, use of a personal vehicle is preferred due to the inability to practice social distancing on common carriers.
    • You must fill out a Return-to-Work Screening Questionnaire by no later than 3:00 p.m. the day before your intended return to work: If your return to work is on Sunday or Monday, it must be completed by no later than 3:00 p.m. the Friday before. Occupational Health will make determinations on M-F between 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. If you develop symptoms over the weekend, please stay home and contact Occupational Health on Monday.
    • Occupational Health cannot make return-to-work decisions before you travel. If you choose to travel, you may be subject to quarantine upon your return.

Submit your announcements …

Announcements for the Important Stuff Joe Knows newsletter must be submitted by 5:00 p.m. on the Friday before the item is to appear in the following Tuesday’s newsletter. Submit announcements here: Publication of The Friday Forecast event calendar is suspended during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Early submissions are always welcome!

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Important Stuff Joe Knows is a weekly newsletter published by Joseph Woelkers, EVP & COO of The UT Health Science Center at Tyler, stuffjoeknows@nulluthct.eduEmails to this address will not receive a personal response.