This presentation will review how the nexus of evolving science and medicine has become intertwined with public perceptions, politics and public health in planning for and responding to pandemics, and how the impact the current pandemic presages planning for those that will take place in the future.
Philip Pizzo, MD
David and Susan Heckerman Professor of Pediatrics and of Microbiology and Immunology
Former Dean, Stanford University School of Medicine
Founding Director, Stanford Distinguished Careers Institute
The H1N1 Influenza pandemic that occurred in the wake of WW1, and that unfolded in three waves between 1918-1920, led to 50 million deaths worldwide, of which 675,000 were in the US. In many ways the 1918 pandemic, sometimes referred to as the Spanish Flu, shaped the way the world experienced and still calibrates the impact of emerging infections and pandemics. Between 1920 to 2020 a number of additional epidemics and pandemics have occurred with other influenza viruses, as well as with polio, coronaviruses, Ebola, cholera, HIV/AIDS and in 2020 SARS-CoV-2. In each of these events, scientists have played an important role in accelerating the pace of knowledge (or not), medical care providers have improved clinical outcomes (or not), government leaders have been meaningfully engaged in overseeing policies and procedures focused on the public good (or not), public health leaders have utilized lessons from past pandemics to improve current and future outcomes (or not), and public and socio-cultural perceptions have been informed and responsive to their local and national communities (or not). This presentation will review how the nexus of evolving science and medicine has become intertwined with public perceptions, politics and public health in planning for and responding to pandemics, and how the impact the current pandemic presages planning for those that will take place in the future.
- Review the history of emerging infections and the factors that contribute to their becoming epidemics and pandemics
- Consider how diagnostic, treatment, and prevention strategies evolved following the pandemics between 1918-2020
- Review how the lessons gleaned one pandemic helped or hindered the approach to subsequent ones
- Consider the impact of emerging infections and pandemics on individuals, communities and nations
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