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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 2, 2005

UI Hurricane Katrina Relief Includes Expertise, Enrollment, Supplies, Space

The University of Iowa Office of Admissions has had contact with about 16 students from colleges in the region devastated by Hurricane Katrina and could enroll up to 75 transfer students this semester, UI Executive Vice President and Provost Michael Hogan said.

One of these students is a sophomore from the Chicago area who was accepted at the UI last year but chose to enroll at Loyola University of New Orleans; others are Iowa students who attend Louisiana and Mississippi colleges, said Michael Barron, director of admissions. Federal student privacy regulations restrict the release of any additional information about the students.

Hogan said registration deadlines will be waived for students transferring from colleges and universities devastated by Hurricane Katrina. The UI will assist them in arranging financial aid and local housing, either in residence halls or off campus. In addition to on-campus students, Hogan said the UI's distance education courses would be open to students affected by the hurricane. More than 100 Guided Independent Studies courses are available on the Web and students are welcome to start these at any time.

Administrators in the UI's Henry B. Tippie College of Business and the College of Law have alerted colleagues at several institutions, including Loyola, Tulane University, Southern University, and Dillard University, that the UI is prepared to accommodate students displaced from professional schools in the affected region. Graduate College Dean John Keller is working to accommodate graduate students. College of Public Health Dean James Merchant has already heard from some Tulane students and is prepared to assist others.

Faculty and staff are also working to determine the best means of offering expertise and assistance to colleagues in the affected areas. Due to the flooding and loss of data and research equipment, many of the research scientists in the Gulf region will not be able to return to their laboratories for weeks or even months. At least one researcher in New Orleans, a past trainee from the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, has been in contact with his mentor here in Iowa, and will be returning temporarily to continue his research in a Carver College of Medicine research laboratory. His research will continue uninterrupted because of this arrangement.

In response to a request from the National Institutes of Health and the Association of American Medical Colleges, the UI Carver College of Medicine has designated Dr. Charles Helms, professor of internal medicine and chief of staff at UI Hospitals and Clinics, as the UI contact for interacting with the NIH Katrina Response Unit. The NIH estimates a need of staffing 10,000 medical beds and plans to set up 40 federal medical shelters in the Gulf Coast region, 10 at military installations. The NIH anticipates seeking volunteer health care professionals from around the county to help staff these field hospitals. In addition, it is anticipated that some patients will need to be transferred to tertiary care hospitals for high level/specialized care. As the UI contact, Helms will respond to any requests for UI participation in this mass transfer of patients. For more information, contact Helms,, 319-356-1570 (office) or 319-356-7000, (pager: enter 4168, and a call back number.)

The Office of Community and Patient Relations at UI Hospitals and Clinics has arranged for a truck to haul donations from faculty, staff and volunteers to the Gulf Coast. Already today, bottled water, cash, checks, batteries, nails, rope, tarps, and even a generator have been donated. Needed items including baby food, diapers, personal hygiene supplies, batteries and cleaning supplies, will be collected until 5:30 p.m. today in the Main Lobby or outside at the truck parked near the Main Entrance. The office is also accepting monetary donations for the American Red Cross. Checks should be made out to the American Red Cross. For more information, contact the Office of Community and Patient Relations at 356-1200.

The University Hygienic Laboratory has offered to take over newborn screening for the state of Louisiana. Officials there expect it will be several months before they can resume operations in their New Orleans facility. Newborn screening must be done rapidly to prevent mental retardation, illness or death. Mary Gilchrist, director of the UI laboratory, said The number of specimens per day would exceed the number that the lab currently handles for Iowa, North Dakota and the Middle East, combined, but the staff have determined that it can be done by operating seven days per week and are eager to take it on.  Retired staff have agreed to return and staff from Iowa City could be relocated in Ankeny. Gilchrist said the lab is also prepared to offer expertise in water testing and bringing water supplies back on line, based on experience with the Iowa and Midwest floods of 1993.

The University of Iowa libraries is working with the Association of Research Libraries to make its resources available to affected Gulf Coast colleges and universities.

Responding to a request from the U.S. Postal Service, the UI's Central Mail has notified bulk mailers on campus to remove from their lists any addresses within the following three-digit ZIP Code ranges: 369, 393, 394, 395, 396 (Mississippi); 700, 701, 704 (Louisiana). First class mail will continue; however, delays will occur. For more information contact Chris Kula at 384-3809.


STORY SOURCE: University Relations, 101 Jessup Hall, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1000.

MEDIA CONTACT: Steve Parrott,, phone 319-335-0552, cell 319-530-6972; Writer: Mary Geraghty Kenyon