PUCRS against Covid-19: academic schools spearhead initiatives

Students and faculty engaged in research, innovation and volunteering actions amid pandemic

24/05/2021 - 10h28

Photo: Bruno Todeschini

With the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, in Mar 2020, several actions to fight Covid-19 were have been developed by PUCRS’ Academic Schools. Concerned with the physical, mental and emotional health of the population, students and faculty were both in the front line and in the backstage, as they generated knowledge, fought disinformation and looked for ways to be present in these tough Covid times.  

The Senior Vice President of PUCRSBrother Manuir Mentges, claims that since the beginning of the pandemic, the University has given answers to the problems caused by Covid-19, either through applied research, adaptations in the teaching model, participation in Coronavac vaccine tests at São Lucas Hospital or by creating new projects in Schools.   

On the relevance of the University’s relationship with the city and community it is in, Br. Manuir highlights that PUCRS has an important commitment towards the entire society. “Everything we teach, our research and innovative actions must be good for society. If on the one hand we have several projects that bring people to the University, such as Clínica da Odonto, Vila Fátima Center and BraIns, we also take PUCRS to the communities as we join forces in the public power’s strategic committees and in the efforts to vaccinate the population. Not only is this relationship important, but essential to keep alive the mission for which the University is called to exercise today, ”he adds.  

Below you can find some of the actions spearheaded by the School of Communications, Arts and Design – FAMECOS, School of Humanities, School of Health and Life Sciences and Law School. Next week, we will be bringing to you the initiatives of the School of Medicine, Business School and School of Technology. This series also include the initiatives of Tecnopuc’s laboratories. 

School of Communications, Arts and Design – FAMECOS  

The commitment of the School of Communications, Arts and Design – FAMECOS’ Journalism program is to bring information about Covid-19 to the community. That is why students in Editorial J, the program’s converging laboratory, have created a weekly newsletter that is sent every Friday through whatsapp (to sign up and receive updated, just join the group), with the main weekly updates on coronavirus. This year, the newsletter will be mostly focused on vaccination updates. Additionally, students developed a weekly thread on Twitter to share reports of professionals who are in the front line.  

On the other hand, students in the Design program have developed two prototypes to assist people in their everyday’s activities under the supervision of their professors. The first of them was Mask Case, the recipient of Prêmio Bonancini de Design. This idea arose from the difficulty in putting away individual protection masks in places such as restaurants, for example.  

Photo: Shutterstock

The prototype has resulted in a case to store your masks without risk of contamination. Mask Case is open source, that is, it has no intellectual property. So, anyone can produce it, provided there is 3D printer. In addition, in partnership with Tecnopuc, students have developed a hand sanitizer dispenser and temperature gauge.  

During isolation, entertainment played an important role in everyone’s lives. In this sense, the Audiovisual Production program managed, albeit restrictions, to deliver eight movies to the community in 2020. In this semester, eight others must be produced; two of which are now being made. The movies will be made at TECNA.  

On top of that, the Public Relations program addressed the topic of communication in the pandemic: a number of lives on the topic were held on Zoom. These sessions featured guests from all over Brazil. In January 2021, a summer workshop on Atendimento ao Cliente: crise e gestão em tempos de pandemia (Customer Service: crisis and management amid the pandemic) was offered. Also in 2020/2, 8th semester students created projects for organizations and companies, and provided guidance on communication positioning and relationships with their audiences during the pandemic.  

Advertising students working in the research laboratory coordinated by Dr. Claudia Trindade and Dr. Ilton Teitelbaum, had the chance to participate in a qualitative study on mobility issues related to the present and the future of the Covid-19 pandemic. The research was developed for the Projeto Vida Urgente, by Fundação Thiago de Moraes Gonzaga. Students enrolled in the course on Media Planning have developed a campaign in partnership with the agency Moove, to acknowledge doctors and health care professionals in the midst of the pandemic. The campaign is to be used by CREMERS (Regional Medical Board).  

School of Humanities  

Br. Édison Hüttner, professor in the History program of the School of Humanities of PUCRS, put together a volunteering group to help indigenous villages in CearáThe initiative is open for faculty and students in the Graduate Program in History. Through the project, communities of the Potiguara, Gavião, Tabajara and Tubiba Tapuya ethnic groups have received assistanceThe idea was to instruct indigenous health care professionals to sterilize surfaces using an ultraviolet light equipment (UV-C INFO). The machine was designed by Hüttech, a technology company specialized in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, based at PUCRS’ Science and Technology Park (Tecnopuc).  The goals of the action are:  

  • Provide assistance on coronavirus prevention in indigenous villages;  
  • Provide the ultraviolet light (UV-C) technology for the sterilization of surfaces in the Aba Nheengatu of Serra das Matas Nascente of Rio Acaraú (CE) health station;  
  • Provide training to the Huttech Native health care team and operator in the village;  
  • Monitor the proper use of the equipment;  
  • Conduct exchanges between indigenous peoples, faculty, students and the general public, on the incidence of epidemics on native peoples since the beginning of the colonization of Brazil.  

School of Health and Life Sciences  

Students in the Nursing and Pharmacy programs of the School of Health and Life Sciences are now part of the team in the front line in the fight against coronavirus. They are vaccinating people in the priority groups and in one of the first weeks of vaccination, more than a thousand people were vaccinatedIn addition, they are providing assistance to Covid-19 patients hospitalized at PUCRS’ São Lucas Hospital.  

On the other hand, the School’s Psychology program, through the Psychology Center for Research and Services (SAPP), has created an assistance program in the pandemic, by providing free online services. Coordinated by Dr. Renata Dipp and Dr. Fernanda MoraesSAPP carries out an average of about 15,000 face-to-face visits per year. However, due to the current health crisis, in 2020, the service paused from March to August, and resumed its activities at a capacity of 25% according to the health protocols.  

In September, after the Federal Psychology Board gave its consent, interns could provide remote assistance to patients and in March the welcoming program was initiated. Registration for the first edition began Mar 19 and ended in 72 hours, with the mark of 500 registered applicants, a record for this edition.  

Photo: personal archive

Finally, several booklets on the most varied topics were developed by the School: SAPP gave orientation on mental health and life as a couple in the pandemic mental health in the pandemic and domestic violence (aiming to assist professionals to identify signs of sexual abuse in children and adolescents), in addition to suggesting assistance for the academic community .  

There is also the PsiCOVIDa task force, which came up with the mission of contributing to the well-being of people by providing scientific knowledge during the pandemic. The group has published a number of booklets on topics such as fighting stress during the pandemicphysical activities during the pandemic and fight against Covid-19 among the elderly 

All booklets can be found on coronavirus website on PUCRS website and SAPP website 

The Physiotherapy program, in partnership with the Physiotherapy Service of São Lucas Hospital, is assisting the recovery Unified Health System (SUS) patients with Covid-19 sequelae. For that purpose, it is using technologies such as virtual reality as well as muscle electrical stimulation and respiratory muscle training. Thus, it is possible to regain physical strength, control and motor coordination and have a playful attitude.  

Law School  

The Graduate Program in Criminal Sciences has made a series of videos to provide orientation about Law and the pandemic. The productions are available to everyone and some topics covered were:  

The Law School has also published some books such as Ciências Criminais e Covid-19 (Criminal Sciences and Covid-19), by Professor Nereu Giacomolli, and Direito de Família no Pós-Pandemia: repercussões jurídicas no “novo normal” (Family Law in the Post-Pandemic: legal consequences in the “new normal”), written by the members of the study group Temas Atuais de Direito da Família (Contemporary Issues in Family Law), coordinated by Prof. Daniel Ustarroz. The former was released in a virtual congress, consisting of a series of sessions, which were saved for later access on Prof. Ustarroz’s YouTube channel.