A Tale of Two Viruses, Sun. April 11, 2-3:30pm, EDT

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Classmates reflect on the impact of AIDS and COVID-19:  a Glimpses session (personal narratives). 

Speakers:  Jeff Burack, Ann Stapleton, Neil Schluger, Russ Gershon, Janet Moos, Andrew Sellon, Mark Harrington, Ben Schatz, Peter Beilenson, Daphne de Marneffe, Jeff Galvin, Baird Smith Mallory, Jeffrey Saver, and Michael Stein.  Moderator:  Marilyn Butler, MWButler@gmail.com

In 1981—the week of our graduation—5 cases of Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia were reported in previously healthy men, and thus began the AIDS epidemic that changed how the world responses to epidemics, activated one of the most effective grass roots advocacy responses, and accelerated the discovery and use of scientific advances. Lessons learned, however, also included recognizing inequities of access to care, as well as identifying contributing challenges such as poverty, disempowerment, and discrimination.

Forty years later, another virus ravaged the world, this time with a higher impact on the elderly, but also indiscriminately striking down some in their youth.  COVID-19 highlighted continuing disparities in health with a far greater burden among communities traditionally underserved by the healthcare system and other services—while also wreaking economic havoc across the globe.

AIDS claimed the lives of many of our classmates; COVID-19 inevitably will do the same.

What can we learn from the responses to each of these viruses?

Listen as our classmates describe their experiences in these and other urgent public health matters.  This session is not meant necessarily to impart scientific knowledge—but rather, to show the varied impact of these viruses on our classmates, both professionally and personally.

Going back to June 1981:  A mysterious disease

  • A career of caring for HIV patients, then and now
    • Jeff Burack:  Internal Medicine Physician, Berkeley, CA
    • Ann Stapleton:  Infectious Disease Physician, Palm Springs, CA

Fast forward 40 years:  This virus gets everyone’s attention

  • Biggest challenge of a career, working on the front lines of care in a pandemic
    • Neil Schluger:  Pulmonologist and Critical Care Physician, New York, NY
  • Our classmates got sick
    • Russ Gershon:  Musician, Chelsea, MA
    • Janet Moos:  Psychotherapist, Baltimore, MD
    • Andrew Sellon:  Actor, ventriloquist

Gaining public support for AIDS then and now

  • Mark Harrington:  Member of WHO advisory groups for TB and HIV
  • Ben Schatz:  Lawyer, Rachel, writer/troublemaker

Perils and struggles while determining policy during COVID-19

  • Peter Beilenson:  Family Medicine and Preventive Medicine physician, Director of Sacramento County Department of Health Services, Sacramento, CA

Collateral damage from the pandemic

  • Caring for mental health during the pandemic
    • Daphne de Marneffe:  Clinical psychologist, Mill Valley, CA

From COVID-19 to AIDS:  Treatments and vaccines

  • Jeff Galvin, CEO American Gene Technologies, Rockville, MD:  Gene and cell therapy opens up an opportunity to cure HIV

Redirecting systems to meet extraordinary needs

  • Physician-administrators who managed hospital and health system responses during COVID-19
    • Baird Smith Mallory:  Interim Department Chair at Maine Medical Center, Pediatric Surgeon, Portland, ME
    • Jeffrey Saver:  Neurologist, Leader of health response at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA

How politics influences public health, then and now

  • Michael Stein:  Professor and Chair Boston University School of Public Health in Health Law/Policy

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