Announcements Messages From Leadership Research Announcement

Essential personnel designation for trainees

To Washington University School of Medicine trainees in research groups/labs (including DBBS students, MSTP students, post-doctoral associates and scholars, clinical fellows doing research, masters students) and their mentors:

New guidance – Trainees in research labs/groups must request “essential personnel” designation through the dean’s office if they wish to be involved in on-campus research activities.

 We currently have many trainees listed by their mentors/PIs as “essential personnel” for research which allows them to come to campus to support research activities.  

  • A decision has been made by the Executive Faculty of the School of Medicine that any trainee who has been designated by their mentor/PI as “essential”, and wants to continue to be designated as such, must request this designation from the Dean’s office.
  • Via email, the trainee should indicate that they are 1) requesting the essential personnel designation, 2) that their PI has agreed, and 3) provide their name,  the name of their program (eg post-doc, DBBS, MSTP etc), the name of their PI and the division/dept. This information should be sent to Aleatha Harris,
  • We recognize that many trainees are involved in essential research that is important to them – either COVID-19 research, or completing or winding down ongoing critical experiments.
  • Trainees – discuss your status with your mentor.
  • Mentors – recognize that a preference not to be “essential personnel” is the trainee’s decision and you should respect it.
  • Some trainees are not permitted in the medical school campus research labs until further notice, including undergraduate students.
  • Non-DBBS/MSTP PhD students from other schools should request guidance from their program.
  • Clinical fellows who are doing research should understand that this does not affect their designation as essential personnel for clinical activities.
  • Trainees with the following conditions are advised not volunteer to be essential personnel.
    • Pregnancy
    • Chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
    • Serious heart conditions
    • Immunocompromised including cancer treatment
    • Severe obesity (BMI> 40)
    • Age 65 and older (ok, we know this is probably not applicable, but it’s on the list)


Jennifer Lodge, Ph.D.
Vice Chancellor and Associate Dean for Research