The University of Iowa

Hanxi Tang, international student from China, contributes to UI efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus

April 3rd, 2020
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Learn more about Tang’s work at UI Hospitals & Clinics
as a screener during the coronavirus pandemic.

Learn more about what Tang finds inspiring through
her work at UI Hospitals & Clinics.

Learn more about how Tang is adjusting to the
transition to online learning at the University of Iowa.
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Growing up in Beijing, China, Hanxi Tang knew at a young age that she had a keen interest in science. She relished opportunities to visit her mother, a pathology doctor, at work. That work setting was often a research lab that fascinated Tang, as it was full of activity and hands-on learning experiences such as expelling water through a needle from a syringe. An inspiring biology teacher in high school further nurtured Tang’s enthusiasm for science.

Hanxi Tang in Beijing, China, in traditional Chinese clothing (‘han-fu')

Hanxi Tang in Beijing, China, in traditional Chinese clothing (‘han-fu')

As Tang considered her college options, she was drawn to the University of Iowa because of its nationally-ranked hospital and medical school. She also liked the idea of living in a small college town coupled with the friendliness of the Midwest.

Now a junior, Tang describes her University of Iowa experience as exceptional. “Even before I arrived on campus, I got a lot of support from the ISSS office. Students are well-supported and my professors are both knowledgeable and helpful. In fact, everyone on campus has been very helpful,” says Tang.

Hanxi Tang on the University of Iowa campus

Hanxi Tang on the University of Iowa campus

In addition to excelling in her coursework as a biology major, Tang has contributed to the University of Iowa and the surrounding community through her volunteer work at both UI Hospitals & Clinics and the UI Mobile Clinic. She also works as an undergraduate research assistant in not one, but two research labs: the Plumert cognitive psychology lab and the Kitamoto neurogenetics lab.

Unfortunately, the recent coronavirus pandemic prompted a pivot away from some of these activities. Most of the work in the research labs has been suspended, and much of her volunteer work had to be put on pause. Before long, Tang was invited to temporarily replace her employment in the Kitamoto lab with a screener position at UI Hospitals & Clinics. For 10-15 hours each week, Tang helps screen incoming patients, staff, and visitors at UI Hospitals & Clinics entrances by asking them about current coughs or fevers. “We are essentially checking for any symptoms of respiratory illness,” says Tang.

As a screener at UIHC, Hanxi Tang is provided with protective gear, including a hospital gown and a face mask.

As a screener at UI Hospitals & Clinics, Hanxi Tang is provided with protective gear, including a hospital gown and a face mask

As an aspiring physician, Tang is inspired by what she sees at UI Hospitals & Clinics—particularly during this unprecedented pandemic. “I see healthcare professionals that work hard and long shifts and yet always display a positive attitude. Compared to what other healthcare professionals are doing around the world at this time, what I am doing is really little, but I am happy to make a small contribution to the global effort to prevent the spread of the virus.”