City & State’s Webinar Series: Medical Perspective on Coronavirus Pandemic

April 14, 2020  
2:00PM - 3:00PM
Event Description

The COVID-19 pandemic has stressed international public health and healthcare efforts in unexpected ways. Drs. Madad and Popescu will discuss what pandemic preparedness and response involves for adequate healthcare response and the critical importance of continued readiness. They will discuss previous outbreaks involving hospitals and healthcare facilities and the limited changes that have occurred in healthcare readiness since then. Lastly, Drs. Madad and Popescu will review current response efforts and challenges in responding to the COVID-19 outbreak and changes that need to be made to enhance biological preparedness across the U.S. healthcare infrastructure.


Click play on the video below to watch the webinar.

Slideshow (PDF)

Dr. Syra Madad, Senior Director of the System-wide Special Pathogens Program
NYC Health + Hospitals
Syra Madad is nationally recognized leader in public health and special pathogen preparedness and response. She is Senior Director, System-wide Special Pathogens Program at New York City Health + Hospitals, the nation’s largest municipal healthcare delivery system overseeing special pathogen preparedness and response efforts across 11 acute care hospitals in addition to post-acute/long-term care facilities and ambulatory care sites. She is Principal Investigator of NYC Health + Hospitals Center for Global Healthcare Preparedness to Special Pathogens. In addition, Dr. Madad is Core Faculty in the National Ebola Training and Education Center (NETEC), funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) and Assistant Professor in the Graduate Biotechnology/Biodefense Program at the University of Maryland. She is an Alumni Fellow at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Center for Health Security’s Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity Program and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Behavioral Informatics & Technological Enterprise Studies Program. Dr. Madad earned her Doctoral degree in Health Science with a concentration in Global Health from Nova Southeastern University, graduating with Alpha Eta Health Science Honor Society status. She obtained her Master of Science degree in Biotechnology with a concentration in Biodefense and Biosecurity and Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Maryland. Dr. Madad holds numerous professional certifications, licenses and training certificates including Master Continuity Practitioner Certification (FEMA), Advanced Emergency Planning Certification, All Hazard Response (CBRNE) Training for Laboratory Personnel, Biosafety Level III Training, and Identification of the Primary Select Agents of Bioterrorism Training. Prior to her current role, Dr. Madad served as the Lead Continuity of Operations Liaison and State Trainer for the BioThreat and Chemical Threat Teams at the Texas Department of State Health Services, Emergency Preparedness Branch. In this role, she served on the Ebola and Other Infectious Disease Agent Surge Team and assisted with the Texas state 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak response. In 2015, Dr. Madad was awarded the Ebola Response Team Appreciation Award by the Commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services in recognition of her contributions to the state Ebola response effort. Dr. Madad has a strong background in academia, teaching in graduate, undergraduate and professional programs with courses ranging from advanced microbiology to bioterrorism and biosecurity. Dr. Madad has held various faculty appointments, including Assistant Professor, Deputy Chair and Director of Education for various academic institutions in MD, NY, and TX. She serves on numerous editorial boards, advising committees and councils. Dr. Madad was awarded the prestigious J.V. Irons Award for Scientific Excellence in 2015 by the Texas Department of State Health Services for her significant contributions to the agency and scientific community and was highlighted as a “Pathogen Preparedness Pioneer” in NYC Health + Hospitals 2018 Press Release. Dr. Madad has a number of peer-reviewed articles, and has been a guest speaker at numerous scientific and medical conferences/workshops/webinars around the world. She is frequently quoted and appears on in major media outlets. Dr. Madad plays one of the lead roles in the Netflix docuseries, Pandemics: How to Prevent an Outbreak, which follows a handful of leaders throughout the world on the frontlines to prevent the next outbreak.
Dr. Saskia Popescu
Infectious Disease Epidemiologist and Infection Preventionist
Dr. Saskia Popescu is an infectious disease epidemiologist and infection preventionist with a focus on hospital biopreparedness and the role of infection prevention in health security efforts. She is an expert in healthcare biopreparedness and is nationally recognized for her work to build hospital response to infectious diseases events. She holds a PhD in Biodefense from George Mason University, a Masters in Public Health with a focus on infectious diseases, and a Masters of Arts in International Security Studies, from the University of Arizona. Saskia is a 2017 fellow of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity Initiative (ELBI), an external expert for the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC), and a recipient of the Presidential Scholarship at George Mason University. During her work as an infection preventionist, she managed Ebola response, a 300+ measles exposure resulting in an MMWR article, and bioterrorism prepared- ness in the hospital system. She is certified in infection prevention (CIC), hospital preparedness through FEMA’s NIMS, and pandemic preparedness from the DHS Center for Domestic Preparedness. She is also the managing editor of the Pandora Report newsletter, through George Mason University. Dr. Popescu’s research has focused on roadblocks for non-state actor utilization of bioweapons, antimicrobial resistance, US healthcare vulnerability to infectious disease outbreaks and surveillance. Her research on food security was awarded a Department of Homeland Security Career Development Grant, and her dissertation research investigates the cultural, economic, and political drivers for infection prevention utilization in the US and applies a political economy lens to address market failures that ultimately translate to poor infection control practices and how that affects American health security.
Jon Lentz
Editor-in-Chief, City & State NY
As Editor-in-Chief, Jon Lentz manages the editorial team, edits print and online stories, works with freelance reporters and oversees the popular First Read emails. Lentz also develops and moderates panel discussions and conducts live one-on-one interviews for City & State’s many events. When he has time, Lentz continues to report and write for the magazine. A Nebraska native, Lentz graduated from Macalester College with a degree in linguistics. After a stint at a weekly Twin Cities newspaper, he served as a Peace Corps volunteer, spending two years teaching English in a small Transylvanian town. He came to New York to study at Columbia University, where he earned two master’s degrees in journalism. He then interned with Reuters in Washington, D.C., and in New York City. He has been on the City & State staff since January 2011. He and his wife, Annie, live in Astoria, Queens.
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