How Prepared Are We For The Next Health Crisis?

From Harvard Law Today, October 5, 2018 —

Last week, Harvard commemorated the centennial of the 1918 influenza pandemic that killed more than 50 million people worldwide with a weeklong series of events across the university.

Outbreak Week, led by the Harvard Global Health Institute, was a unique multidisciplinary effort investigating and engaging with epidemic and pandemic preparedness in the 21st century.

The event featured a five-day series of conferences with leading researchers, policymakers, health advocates, economists, doctors, journalists, historians and other experts from various schools at Harvard and from other institutions in the U.S. and the world. Panel discussions and keynote addresses throughout the week focused on taking a new look at disease outbreaks and how prepared we are for the next big health crisis.

Harvard Law School’s Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics co-sponsored three Outbreak Week symposia at the law school: Media in the Age of ContagionsVaccines for Outbreaks in the Modern World, and Preventing Epidemics in a Connected World.

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Outbreak Week Opens With Talk on Conflict and Epidemics

From the Harvard Gazette, September 25, 2018

Pandemics are political, and the spread of disease is a common consequence of global conflict. In a lecture titled “Conflict and the Global Threat of Pandemics,” Michele Barry, senior dean of global health and director of the Center for Innovation in Global Health at Stanford University, examined the relationship between unrest and health crises.

Monday evening’s talk at the Geological Lecture Hall at Harvard Museum of Natural History was the start of Harvard Global Health Institute’s “Outbreak Week,” a five-day series of events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. As Ashish K. Jha, dean for global strategy at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, noted in his opening remarks, that pandemic remains the deadliest in history, though HIV has come close. He also outlined Harvard’s work with infectious diseases, notably its 2014 development of strategies to address the Ebola virus.

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