COVID and CopMich: comparing and contrasting COVID-19 experiences in the USA and Scandinavia

On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization declared SARS-CoV-2 and its associated disease, COVID-19, a global pandemic. Across the world, governments took action to slow the spread and hospitals rushed to accommodate an influx of patients with this highly infectious and lethal disease. The urology departments in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA, and Herlev and Gentofte, Copenhagen, Denmark — which are linked by the pre-existing CopMich Collaborative — had to respond with massive changes to the organization, staffing and workload of their teams. In this Viewpoint, authors from different urological subspecialties and at different career stages reflect on their experiences during the pandemic. Although their countries’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic differed radically, the similarities between the responses in Copenhagen and Michigan demonstrate the universal characteristics of medicine and the value of teamwork, flexibility and collaboration.

The contributors

Juan J. Andino is a third-year urology resident at the University of Michigan. He completed his undergraduate and medical degrees, and an MBA at the University of Michigan. Dr Andino is interested in telehealth and health policy and hopes to work at the intersection of these fields to optimize the delivery of urological care.

James M. Dupree is an Associate Professor of Urology at the University of Michigan. He completed his residency at Northwestern University and his fellowship in Male Reproductive Medicine and Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine. He also completed a Health Policy Fellowship with the American College of Surgeons. Dr Dupree specializes in the advanced treatment of male infertility, and his research focuses on male infertility and reproductive health policy. Dr Dupree is also the Ambulatory Care Clinical Chief for Urology at the University of Michigan.

Christian Fuglesang S. Jensen received his medical degree from the University of Copenhagen in 2015 and is currently enrolled as a PhD trainee working with male infertility at the Department of Urology, Herlev and Gentofte Hospital. Dr Jensen has previously worked at the Department of Urology, University of Michigan, performing research into andrology and male infertility. Dr Jensen serves as chair on the ESSM Scientific Sub-Committee for new technologies and sexual function and is a co-founder and member of the Core Unit of the CopMich Collaborative.

Ganesh S. Palapattu is the George F. and Sandy G. Valassis Professor and Chair of the Department of Urology at the University of Michigan. He attended the University of Texas at Austin where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Humanities and then Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, where he earned his medical degree. Subsequently, Dr Palapattu completed his surgical internship, urology training and chief residency in urology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA followed by a laboratory research fellowship in Urologic Oncology at the Johns Hopkins Hospital Brady Urological Institute. His clinical interest is in the evaluation and management of men with prostate and kidney cancer.

Jens Sønksen received his medical degree from the University of Copenhagen in 1988 and earned his PhD and Doctor of Medical Science in 1995 and 2003, respectively. He is currently Professor of Urology at the University of Copenhagen and Head of the Urological Research Center and Section of Andrology, Herlev and Gentofte Hospital, Denmark. Dr Sønksen is currently serving as Adjunct Secretary General of the European Association of Urology and is a co-founder and member of the Core Unit of the CopMich Collaborative.

Daniela Wittmann received her BA Hons at Keele University, Keele, UK, her Master’s in Social Work at Simmons College School of Social Work, Boston, MA and her PhD at Michigan State University. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Urology and Adjunct Associate Professor at the School of Social Work at the University of Michigan. Dr Wittmann is a leading member of the Brandon Prostate Cancer Survivorship Program at the University of Michigan and serves as the Chair of the Mental Health Committee of the Sexual Medicine Society of North America. She is also a member of the Prostate Health Committee of the Urology Care Foundation.

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Acknowledgements

This work was carried out on behalf of the CopMich Collaborative group. The authors from the University of Michigan and Herlev and Gentofte Hospital wish to acknowledge and thank all the nurses, physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, medical assistants, students, schedulers, call centre agents, office staff and clinical staff who rose to the occasion and cared for our patients. More than any other time, responding to the COVID-19 pandemic was a team effort.

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Correspondence to Juan J. Andino or James M. Dupree or Christian F. S. Jensen or Ganesh S. Palapattu or Jens Sønksen or Daniela Wittmann.

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J.M.D. declares grant funding from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan for quality improvement activities. The other authors declare no competing interests.

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The Copenhagen Michigan Urological Collaboration: https://www.copmich.com/

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Andino, J.J., Dupree, J.M., Jensen, C.F.S. et al. COVID and CopMich: comparing and contrasting COVID-19 experiences in the USA and Scandinavia. Nat Rev Urol 17, 493–498 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41585-020-0352-6

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