May 7, 2020

The Washington State Academy of Sciences announces today that it has convened a COVID-19 Steering Committee. The effects of COVID-19 and the pandemic response are felt across nearly every aspect of life in Washington state. This raises complex questions that require diverse and collaborative scientific perspectives, which need to be integrated alongside important societal considerations. The Washington State Academy of Sciences stands ready to help.

Drawing on its membership and their professional networks, the Washington State Academy of Sciences provides a neutral forum of experts from the full spectrum of scientific and research disciplines who have experience in the academic, public, and private sectors. This new Steering Committee is available to serve as a conduit to mobilize interdisciplinary experts for engagement with government as well as with other stakeholders in the public, nonprofit, philanthropic, and private sectors—now, as they face complex decisions and in the future, as they explore lessons learned for preparedness and response efforts.

The Steering Committee’s role is to help identify and vet activities through which the Washington State Academy of Sciences can provide urgent or longer-term services to decision-makers to help them locate, assess, and communicate information. Such activities could range from informal facilitated dialogues to public symposia to formal advisory studies conducted by expert panels.

The Steering Committee members, listed below, have expertise in risk communication, economics, epidemiology, mental health, social work, public health, infectious diseases, forecasting and predictive modelling, computer sciences, technology, engineering, life sciences, atmospheric and climate sciences, and disaster preparedness.

COVID-19 Steering Committee Members
Philip A. Bernstein, Microsoft Research
Ann Bostrom, University of Washington
Richard Catalano, Jr., University of Washington
Dianne Chong, The Boeing Company (retired)
Lee Huntsman, University of Washington (through June 2020)
Lai-yung “Ruby” Leung, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Clifford F. Mass, University of Washington
Ron Mittelhammer, Washington State University
Guy Hughes Palmer, Washington State University
Ronald Thom, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (retired)

On behalf of the Steering Committee and the Washington State Academy of Sciences, Board President Ronald Thom and Executive Director Donna Gerardi Riordan will lead in fielding requests and coordinating expert engagement. For inquiries related to the Steering Committee, please contact Donna at