Awareness and understanding of the COVID-19 illness and its symptoms are essential, but overwritten information weighed down by medical jargon can be confusing. Such language can be even more inaccessible to adults with autism or intellectual disabilities.

Michael Granovetter ’15 has an adult brother with autism, so when a classmate at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, where he’s an M.D./Ph.D. candidate, reached out to him after the Pittsburgh Center for Autistic Advocacy requested assistance in crafting special COVID-19 messaging, he was eager to contribute.

“They were specifically looking for a COVID resource that would emphasize visual illustrations of symptoms that outline a decision plan for adults with limited literacy in their community,” said Granovetter, who’s currently in the Ph.D portion of his program and hopes eventually to work with children who have neurological disorders and neurodevelopmental disabilities.

Granovetter and other medical students, including those from New York University and Washington University (Missouri), formed the project’s core group of editors, and they fine-tuned their message based on the input of professional clinicians and infectious disease physicians. Together, they composed an infographic guide called Access COVID.

“Most of the people working on this project had a combination of personal and professional experiences related to [autism and intellectual disabilities],” Granovetter said. “One primary goal was to focus on visuals. A subset of our infographic is modeled after choice boards where individuals could point to different figures that would be representative of the symptoms that they’re feeling.”

While Access COVID was aimed at a particular audience with specific needs, the finished product is useful to all. “We wanted a resource that would be accessible to as many people as possible,” said Granovetter. “You talk to family members, you talk to friends, and people often are unsure at which point they should become concerned about symptoms. We tried to make a very clear-cut decision algorithm to help people identify symptoms and know what should be a next step.”

The next step for Granovetter and the team is sharing the resource with as many people as possible. Access COVID has already been circulated to state officials in Harrisburg and throughout the students’ existing network of medical contacts. “I am hoping that our Access COVID resource will be vital for many communities, as access to information will ultimately save lives during the pandemic.”

To learn more about Access COVID, you can access their guide and board online.



Maggie Zhang and Daniel He

Alumni create online directory to support local businesses

Mar 30, 2020 Community

Maggie Zhang ’16 and Daniel He ’16 recognize that small businesses are the heart of our communities — and the most susceptible to the economic effects of the pandemic. To help those businesses survive, they created Local for Later, an online directory to promote local businesses through gift cards. they wrote on their site, which has grown to include 11 U.S. cities.

Each city’s list is made up of businesses submitted by users, and includes restaurants, shops, and activities like theaters and tour companies.

See the lists and add your favorite here.

Messages to #VirtualPrincetonU

Princeton Faculty Members Send Greetings As Classes Go Virtual

Mar 26, 2020 Community , Education

No one has all the answers about what comes next, not even Princeton faculty. But as Princeton shifted to virtual learning during the COVID-19 outbreak, professors from across disciplines sent warm video reassurance that their mission remained the same, and that Princeton is wherever you are.

Writing in the time of coronavirus: John McPhee’s legendary course goes virtual

Writing in the time of coronavirus: John McPhee’s legendary course goes virtual

Mar 26, 2020 Education

After 45 years of teaching his legendary “Creative Nonfiction” course on campus, Professor John McPhee, the Ferris Professor of Journalism in Residence and a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, has started teaching his class remotely. Read more …