National Academies Begins Series of Virtual Discussions on the Research Community’s Responses to COVID-19

On April 9, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) Board on Higher Education and Workforce (BHEW) hosted the first event in a new virtual series discussing post-secondary responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. The discussion series, which will take place over the course of several weeks, will bring together leaders from academia, industry, government, and civil society to address new developments in COVID-19 responses in different sectors of the research community. Each virtual event will touch on a specific topic on how researchers and their institutions can help support public health efforts.

The April 9 event, which focused on how researchers help the national response efforts, featured a panel discussion among Lisa Hirshhorn, Professor of Medical Social Sciences at Northwestern University; Michael Wells, Fellow at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University and creator of the COVID-19 National Scientist Volunteer Database; Amy McDermott, science journalist for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and Matthew Golden, Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington and Director of the Public Health Seattle King County HIV/STD program. Topics brought up during the discussion included the role of scientists as communicators to policymakers and health care professionals, barriers to COVID-19 research and what to be done to mitigate them, the curation of the COVID-19 National Scientist Volunteer Database, and long-term strategies for mobilizing scientists against COVID-19.

Future events in the discussion series will focus on topics such as how labs can shift research agendas, how scientists can be crowd-sourced to improve public information, how to provide faster policy advice, how to volunteer for the response effort, the implications of the global nature of the pandemic, and possible long term implications of postsecondary responses to the pandemic. More details about each event in the series and recordings of previous series discussions are available on the NASEM Eventbrite page.

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