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Watch: Experts Discuss “The Next Pandemic: Are We Prepared?”

Thought leaders gathered at the National Museum of Natural History on November 13 to discuss the past, present and future of the flu

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As the 100th anniversary of the 1918 flu nears, Smithsonian magazine, in collaboration with Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the National Museum of Natural History, hosted a special event, “The Next Pandemic: Are We Prepared?”

An exclusive group of thought leaders gathered at the museum to discuss how the world prepares for the next global pandemic, raises public awareness, and explores potential responses and solutions.

Featured Speakers:

Kirk Johnson, Sant Director, National Museum of Natural History
Anthony Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
John Barry, author, The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History
Sally Phillips, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Sabrina Sholts, Curator, National Museum of Natural History
Ellen J. MacKenzie, Dean, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

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Anthony Fauci doesn’t like to talk about “fears.” Understandably, people get rattled when a point person for confronting public health crises in this country is afraid. He chooses his words carefully. The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases recently told Smithsonian magazine that his biggest concern is an influenza pandemic.

“We have had a devastating influenza pandemic in 1918, we had a reasonably bad one in 1957, and in 1968, and we had a mild one in 2009,” Fauci told Smithsonian in 2016. With each outbreak, experts rush to match a vaccine to the particular flu strain. An important goal, he added, is to develop a universal influenza vaccine, given just once, that can provide full protection.

At this exciting event, held at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, Fauci spoke to a group of scientists and experts about the influenza dangers we face today. John Barry, author of The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History, provided a historical overview of the 1918 pandemic, and Sabrina Sholts, a curator in the National Museum of Natural History’s department of anthropology, talked about the museum's upcoming exhibition, “Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World.” Other speakers and panelists shared information on the latest flu research and pandemic preparedness.

Engage in the conversation on Twitter by following @SmithsonianLive and the hashtag #nextpandemic and offer us your thoughts in the comments below.

Further reading on the topic can be found on our special report, “The Next Pandemic.”

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Event Agenda

Welcome Remarks

Kirk Johnson, Ph.D.
Sant Director, National Museum of Natural History

Session 1:

The 1918 Pandemic
John Barry, Author, The Great Influenza
A riveting account of the sweep of the deadliest pandemic ever. The horrors, the fears, the toll, the response, including the latest theory about when and where the epidemic really began.

Pandemic Influenza: Preparing for the Future
Anthony Fauci, M.D.
Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
An up-to-the-minute account of the influenza dangers we face today, and the possibility of another world pandemic in this age of jet travel and booming populations.

Panel Discussion

Flu Frontiers: Perspectives from the Scientific Community
Moderator: Andy Pekosz, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Emerging Viruses and Infectious Diseases, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Panelists:

Jeffery Taubenberger, M.D., Ph.D., NIH Viral Pathogenesis and Evolution Section
Cecile Vibound, Ph.D., Fogarty Institute, NIH
David Vaughn, M.D., MPH, Director Research and Development, GSK Vaccines

Session 2:

Preparing for the worst. Is the world ready to respond?
Daniel Sosin, M.D., MPH, Deputy Director and Chief Medical Officer, Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Ciro Ugarte, M.D., Director, Department of Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief, PAHO
After their talks, Paul Spiegel, M.D., MPH, Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health, will moderate a discussion with the speakers and take questions from the audience.

Session 3:

Getting Ready and Moving Forward
Sally Phillips, R.N., Ph.D., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Panel Discussion

Strengthening Pandemic Preparedness on the Frontlines  
Moderator: Tom Inglesby, M.D., Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security

Panelists:

Marisa Raphael, MPH, Deputy Commissioner, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Office of Emergency Preparedness and Response 
Jaime Yassif, Ph.D., MA, Program Officer, Biosecurity and Pandemic Preparedness, Open Philanthropy Project

Raising Public Awareness

Sabrina Sholts, Curator, Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History
Overview of the upcoming exhibit “Outbreak: Epidemics in a Connected World” and related public education and outreach at NMNH

Closing Remarks

A Way Forward

Ellen J. MacKenzie, Ph.D., MSc.
Dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

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