One year ago, at an event organized by the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, a panel of experts in virology, infection control, global health, clinical testing, vaccine development, and health system responses reflected on an emerging outbreak of a new form of coronavirus that the world had not yet witnessed. The virus hadn’t yet been named. On Feb. 11, 2020, it was designated as SARS-CoV-2 and the disease it causes was named COVID-19. The auditorium was filled with an audience eager for any available information about the emerging threat.

Since then, this virus has uprooted the lives of communities worldwide, infecting nearly 91 million people, causing nearly 2 million deaths, and resulting in widespread socioeconomic impact.

On Jan. 27, 2021 from 4-5:15 p.m., the panel will reconvene to share perspectives ranging from success stories to lessons learned. This time, the physical auditorium will be empty, as panelists and participants alike engage in a virtual format. Join us on the school’s Facebook page.

Panelists include:

  • Kristen Bernard, DVM, PhD. Bernard is a professor in the School of Veterinary Medicine and an expert on zoonotic viruses, which are transmitted between animals and people. She currently works on mosquito-borne and tick-borne viruses, but also worked with another coronavirus, SARS, after it first emerged in 2003. 
  • Ajay Sethi, PhD, MHS. Sethi is an associate professor of population health and an expert on infectious disease epidemiology.
  • Allen Bateman, PhD, MPH. Bateman is the director of the Communicable Disease Division at the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene. He will discuss clinical testing for viral pathogens.
  • Nasia Safdar, MD, PhD. A professor of medicine, Safdar is the Medical Director of Infection Control at UW Hospital and Clinics.
  • Ryan Westergaard, MD, PhD, MPH. A professor of medicine, Westergaard’s clinical interests include human immunodeficiency virus and hepatitis C virus. He serves as the Chief Medical Officer and State Epidemiologist for Communicable Diseases for the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
  • Thomas Friedrich, PhD. A professor in the School of Veterinary Medicine, Friedrich’s research focuses on the evolution and emergence of AIDS, influenza, Zika and other viruses, and the design and testing of vaccines.
  • Sheri Johnson, PhD. An associate professor of population health sciences, Johnson directs the UW Population Health Institute.
  • Tom Russell. As the Director of Communications at UW Health, Russell will be speaking about how the healthcare system has approached internal and external communications during the pandemic. 

Co-moderators will be Jonathan L. Temte, MD, PhD, Associate Dean for Public Health and Community Engagement, and Robyn M. Perrin, PhD, Director of Strategic Communications.