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Watch lectures from "COVID-19: Health Systems and Pandemics."

When COVID-19 swept the globe, it caught the collective healthcare world off guard. While the national news was largely fixated on the bath tissue shortage, health systems were scrambling to shore up their supply of personal protective equipment and other infection-control necessities. Educators at Geisinger realized that Geisinger itself could provide the perfect case study in pandemic response to ensure better preparation for the inevitable future plague.

As the coronavirus raged, educators and scientists at Geisinger began to develop a course, COVID-19: Health Systems and Pandemics, for audiences ranging from graduate and medical students, to healthcare practitioners looking for relevant continuing education credits and even to the general public interested in infectious disease, how it spreads and what an effective response entails.

In October, Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine (GCSOM) graduate students were the first to enroll in the course. Now the course is available for professional seeking continuing education credits and to the general public, both of whom may pick and choose which sessions of the course they find most interesting and valuable. The public can view the course here.

“The course arose from misconceptions about the virus,” said William (Andy) Faucett, MS, LGC. “Initially, there was a lot of public confusion. We realized that most students, and even healthcare providers, haven’t had specific virology or pandemic training. Our COVID-19 course fills that gap.”

The course is taught jointly by numerous GCSOM faculty members and an array of Geisinger physicians and scientists, including a module taught by Jaewon Ryu, MD, JD, Geisinger’s CEO. Dr. Ryu’s session examines the healthcare system in pandemic and will provide insight into how to mobilize large systems during a crisis.

COVID-19: Health Systems and Pandemics introduces students to the evaluation, management, scientific underpinnings and impact of a pandemic. The emphasis is on COVID-19 to allow participants to engage in healthcare discussions and planning about the pandemic and future pandemics. Major topics include virology, viral testing, public health, modeling and predictions during a pandemic, clinical manifestations of SARS-CoV-2, health system responses and impacts, ethical challenges, and research changes and impacts. Please note: The lectures were originally recorded between October and December 2020. All content is felt to remain relevant. Since these lectures were recorded, vaccines have been introduced and a significant second surge has occurred.

Lectures include:

  • Virology, taught by Michael A. Sulzinski, PhD, of GCSOM. These sessions include an introduction to Virology and SARS-CoV-2, as well as an examination of testing, antiviral chemotherapies, and vaccine design.
  • Transmission Dynamics of Infectious Diseases, taught by Mushfiq Tarafder, PhD, MPH, MBBS of GCSOM. This module explores the basics of infectious disease transmission dynamics, and mathematical modeling of droplet transmission, particularly with SARS-CoV-2.
  • Pandemic Preparation and Response, taught by Reema Persad-Clem, PhD, MPH of GCSOM. These sessions examine mitigation via quarantine and other strategies, in addition to the roles of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and state, local and tribal authorities.
  • Clinical Manifestations and Management of SARS-CoV2, taught by Stanley Martin, MD, Geisinger. Dr. Martin discusses the diagnostic testing for SARS-CoV-2, antiviral therapy, risk factors for developing severe disease in COVID-19 and differing methodologies for preventing the spread of SARS-CoV-2.
  • The Healthcare System in a Pandemic, taught by Jaewon Ryu, MD, JD, Geisinger’s CEO. Dr. Ryu explores leadership, finances and planning, as well as the impact of a pandemic on healthcare providers and workers.
  • Ethical Issues in a Pandemic – Public Health versus the Individual Patient, taught by Dan Davis, PhD, Geisinger. This module examines ethical issues surrounding the treatment of patients in isolation – limiting interactions with support systems.
  • Research during a Pandemic, taught by Michelle N. Meyer, PhD, JD, Geisinger. The final session looks at the effect of a pandemic on research, recruitment changes and fair allocation of scarce drugs or trials slots in a pandemic.

To view lectures, click here.


About Geisinger
Geisinger is committed to making better health easier for the more than 1 million people it serves. Founded more than 100 years ago by Abigail Geisinger, the system now includes 10 hospital campuses, a health plan with more than half a million members, a research institute and the Geisinger College of Health Sciences, which includes schools of medicine, nursing and graduate education. With more than 25,000 employees and 1,700+ employed physicians, Geisinger boosts its hometown economies in Pennsylvania by billions of dollars annually. Learn more at or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine
Elizabeth Zygmunt
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