After-Hours Programs

New Science, New Solutions: Preparing for the Next Pandemic

May 18, 2017

petri dish with culture of bacteria


Whether caused by natural diseases or bioterrorism, pandemics represent a real threat to public health and security. Are we ready? From “zombie task forces” to rapid response training, how will our cities prepare for the next pandemic? 


Wafaa El-Sadr—Professor of epidemiology and medicine at Columbia University.Dr. El-Sadr is a prominent researcher and has led numerous epidemiological, clinical, behavioral, and implementation science research studies that have furthered the understanding of the prevention and management of HIV, TB, and noncommunicable diseases. She is a principal investigator of the NIH-funded HIV Prevention Trials Network, which seeks to prevent HIV transmission around the globe.

Tom Frieden—Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2009 until January 2017. Before that, he was New York City Health commissioner.  A physician with training in infectious diseases, he began his career at CDC as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer, working in New York City and India, where he led efforts to control tuberculosis.

Laurie Garrett—Pulitzer Prize-winning science journalist and writer of two best-selling books. She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Journalism in 1996 for a series of works published in Newsday chronicling the Ebola virus outbreak in Zaire.

Mark Siddall—Curator of Annelida and Mollusca Collections at the American Museum of Natural History and principal investigator, SICG Genomics Lab Professor, Richard Gilder Graduate School. Dr. Siddall's career has been devoted to uncovering biodiversity and evolutionary histories for the most successful animal life-history strategy of all time: parasitism. His research has encompassed protistan parasites from giardiasis and malaria to commercially significant shellfish pathogens, helminths, and even blood-feeding ectoparasites from bed bugs to leeches. He presently serves as former president-elect of the American Society of Parasitologists and as treasurer of the Willi Hennig Society and is the curator of the Museum’s exhibition Countdown to Zero: Defeating Disease and traveling exhibition The Power of Poison.

Don Weiss—Medical epidemiologist with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. He is the Director of Surveillance for the Bureau of Communicable Disease and the Co-Lead of the Surveillance and Epidemiology Emergency Response Group.


Ray Suarez—American broadcast journalist. In September 2017, veteran journalist Ray Suarez will begin an appointment as the McCloy Visiting Professor of American Studies at Amherst College. He was most recently the host of Al Jazeera America’s daily news program, Inside Story. Before coming to AJAM, Suarez spent 14 years as a correspondent and anchor at public television’s nightly newscast, The PBS NewsHour, where he rose to become chief national correspondent. He has been a frequent presenter, speaker, and moderator at the World Economic Forum, held annually in Davos, Switzerland. He has also been a featured speaker at the Aspen Ideas Festival.

This lecture is generously supported by the Abel Shafer Public Program Fund, a fund created by the Arlene B. Coffey Trust to honor the memory of Abel Shafer.