COVID-19: Science and Society

Logo for Dialogues

Date: Thursday, September 23, 2021

This will be a virtual event. 

The COVID pandemic has upended life in Washington, nationally, and globally. It has highlighted the importance of science in addressing societal challenges, and the many links between science and larger social issues, including social justice, political discourse, and economic activity. This year’s WSAS symposium will occur roughly 18 months into the pandemic. It will focus on what we have learned thus far, including biomedical aspects, broader social implications, and the many connections between them. We will pay particular attention to the implications for Washington—and on how scientific insight can help crystallize the lessons learned, inform the recovery process, and build resilience against future disasters.

Confirmed keynote speakers are Director of the WA Department of Commerce Dr. Lisa Brown, New York Times science journalist Apoorva Mandavilli.

The Symposium will examine the pandemic through three lenses: Immunity, Community, and Opportunity, each focused on a different area of pandemic impact. To understand the course of the pandemic, the consequences of the pandemic, and lessons future preparedness, we have to seek patterns and connections across multiple domains, and WSAS is particularly well suited to do this.

Dr. Lisa Brown
Dr. Lisa BrownDirector of the Washington State Department of Commerce
Apoorva Mandavilli
Apoorva MandavilliScience journalist, The New York Times

Immunity – biomedical aspects of the pandemic

Speakers on the immunity panel include:

Ruanne BarnabasInfectious Disease Physician-Scientist, University of Washington
Helen ChuPI of Seattle Flu Study
Umair ShahWA Secretary of Health
Wesley Van Voorhis, moderatorInfectious Disease Specialist, University of Washington

Community – effects of the pandemic on the way we live

Speakers on the community panel include:

Celestina Barbosa-LeikerVice Chancellor for Research and Associate Professor, Washington State University
Stephan BlanfordExecutive Director, Children's Alliance
Jevin WestDirector, Center for an Informed Public, University of Washington
Ann Bostrom, moderatorProfessor, Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Washington

Opportunity – how can businesses, cities, and towns recover and adjust?

Speakers on the opportunity panel include:

Jill McCluskeyRegents Professor of Economics, Washington State University
Phil WatsonAssociate Professor of Economics, University of Idaho
Ron Mittelhammer, moderatorRegents Professor of Economics, Washington State University

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