Michael Baca ’13: In protecting yourself you protect others

Michael Baca ’13 is part of the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics emergency management team involved in coordinating a statewide community response. His message at this time is to protect ourselves, and in the process, others from the coronavirus. 

This is part of a series of stories on Cornellians responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Michael Baca '13 at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics
Michael Baca ’13 at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics.

“Especially as COVID-19 spreads in the community, it is very important to practice social distancing—think of a six-foot bubble around you—and wash your hands on a regular basis. These two techniques greatly reduce the spread of the disease,” he says, adding that staying home and practicing social distancing when it is absolutely necessary to go out not only protects you and your family, but others who may be more vulnerable.

“These practices are in place to help the entire community, not just the individual,” he says.

Baca, who holds a degree in economics and business from Cornell College (and a master’s degree in healthcare administration from the University of Iowa), is clinic administrator for the Center for Disabilities and Development (CDD), part of the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. Like clinics around the world, CDD has transitioned to more virtual and telephonic visits.

He says UI Health Care’s epidemiologists and researchers are helping to understand the best way to prevent and treat the virus. For example, the hospital was able to quickly launch testing and video visits for patients who are experiencing influenza-like symptoms. 

“What I admire most about our organization is the dedication of each and every one of our team members. It is all hands-on deck. No stone goes left unturned. We are truly in this together and as a community,” he says.

More than anything, he admires the dedication of front line workers–not just clinical staff but also those who support the ongoing operations, such as environmental services, food and nutrition, and engineering services. 

“They are the true heroes taking care of our patients, our staff, and our community and we cannot thank them enough,” he says.

How are you responding to the COVID-19 pandemic? Contact us to share your story, or alert us to other Cornellian’s responses.