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SLU Professor Timothy L. Wiemken Named 2021 SouthSide Champion for Children

by Bridjes O'Neil on 01/11/2021
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Bridjes O'Neil
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Timothy L. Wiemken, Ph.D., (M.P.H. '06) associate professor in Saint Louis University’s School of Medicine, Department of Health and Clinical Outcomes Research and Department of Internal Medicine Division of Infectious Diseases, Allergy, and Immunology, will receive the 2021 SouthSide Early Childhood Center’s “Champion for Children” award.

SouthSide Early Childhood Center will recognize Wiemken for his steadfast loyalty to the health and safety of the community at the annual Champions for Children Gala and Auction. SouthSide’s annual gala funds the center’s programs and wraparound services for children and their families. This year, the event will be held virtually at 7 p.m. on March 6. 

Timothy L. Wiemken, Ph.D. Submitted photo. 

SouthSide, which is supported by the United Way of Greater St. Louis, was among early childhood centers throughout the Greater St. Louis region Wiemken assisted with COVID-19 prevention and response strategies. Katie Kaufmann, director of the United Way’s Ready by 21 St. Louis program, organized the initial virtual discussions. 

“This has been an incredibly challenging year for the early childhood community,” said Katie Rahn, Ed.D., executive director of SouthSide, who nominated Wiemken for the award. “He was there to support us in making the best decisions possible for our programs and the families we serve. He has been an outstanding partner.”

Surface transmission of the novel coronavirus is more common than publicized, according to Wiemken, and disinfectants approved for use on hard surfaces won’t necessarily work on a stuffed animal, for instance.

In an environment like a daycare center where most items are touchy-feely, Wiemken fielded questions like how to properly disinfect surfaces during weekly Q&A Zoom sessions. He was joined during the meetings by James Hinrichs, M.D., an infectious disease expert for the St. Louis County Department of Health, and Joshua Arthur, M.D., a SLUCare pediatrician and associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics at SLU’s School of Medicine.

Wiemken developed disinfectant protocols and performed walkthroughs at some centers to provide guidance on how staff can mitigate virus risks. He also led Glow Germ experiments, a tool to learn proper handwashing techniques, for students and was overjoyed at their excitement to learn about infectious diseases. 

“We have to try to protect each other and now is the time to do that,” Wiemken said.

Wiemken is board-certified in infection control and epidemiology with 15 years of experience. He is also a fellow of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America and the Association for Professionals in Infection Control.

About Saint Louis University School of Medicine

Established in 1836, Saint Louis University School of Medicine has the distinction of awarding the first medical degree west of the Mississippi River. The school educates physicians and biomedical scientists, conducts medical research, and provides health care on a local, national and international level. Research at the school seeks new cures and treatments in five key areas: infectious disease, liver disease, cancer, heart/lung disease, and aging and brain disorders.