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Elmhurst Alumnus, an Infectious Disease Expert, was Uniquely Prepared for COVID-19

April 8, 2020 | by the Office of Marketing and Communications

Elmhurst College alumnus Alexander Tomich ’95 manages infection prevention and control at Rush University Medical Center.

Few in our community have better insight into the coronavirus pandemic than Alexander Tomich ’95.

Tomich manages infection prevention and control as part of his role as Rush University Medical Center’s associate vice president of regulatory and clinical effectiveness. His journey as a health care provider began at Elmhurst, where he received his bachelor of science in nursing.

After graduating, Tomich worked at MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn, IL, and the Cook County Department of Corrections. Working with detainees, he had his first experiences with program-building and infection control. He went on to earn his master’s in nursing with a concentration in population-based infection control and environmental safety. He later received his doctorate of nursing practice from Loyola University Chicago. He also served as Loyola University Medical Center’s manager of infection control until joining Rush in 2013.

Tomich oversaw Rush’s 2014 Ebola treatment program, one of just 35 in the country. That collective experience prepared Rush to fight today’s unprecedented coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

“This is something that has never before been experienced on such a scale in our time, but I’ve marveled at how Rush has really excelled at the challenge that COVID-19 poses,” he said.

“Rush itself was actually designed for this type of event, where a mass surge of patients would be coming in to seek health care. Transitioning our program from Ebola to any high-consequence infectious disease really put us in a unique position to be a leader—not just regionally but nationally—in terms of caring for novel coronavirus patients.”

Tomich credits Elmhurst for starting him on this important path.

“I always felt health care was ultimately a calling, in the sense that it’s one of the true professions where you get to help people, you make it better for people,” he said. “I got to blend my calling with what Elmhurst offered—a larger college with a smaller community feel to it. That was really foundational for me, for any of the success and accomplishments I’ve had professionally.”

We offer our deepest gratitude to Alex, his fellow health care heroes, and all of our alumni on the front lines of this crisis.

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