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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 Commonwealth School of Medicine

Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine (GCSOM) is a member of the Geisinger family. GCSOM offers a community-based model of medical education with campuses in Danville, Lewistown, Scranton, Sayre and Wilkes-Barre. Geisinger Commonwealth offers Doctor of Medicine (MD) and a portfolio of graduate degrees. The school’s innovative curriculum, focused on caring for people in the context of their lives and their community, attracts the next generation of physicians and scientists from within its region, as well as from across the state and the nation. Geisinger Commonwealth is committed to non-discrimination in all employment and educational opportunities. Visit

About Geisinger
Geisinger is among the nation’s leading providers of value-based care, serving 1.2 million people in urban and rural communities across Pennsylvania. Founded in 1915 by philanthropist Abigail Geisinger, the nonprofit system generates $10 billion in annual revenues across 126 care sites — including 10 hospital campuses — and Geisinger Health Plan, with more than half a million members in commercial and government plans. Geisinger College of Health Sciences educates more than 5,000 medical professionals annually and conducts more than 1,400 clinical research studies. With 26,000 employees, including 1,700 employed physicians, Geisinger is among Pennsylvania’s largest employers with an estimated economic impact of $15 billion to the state’s economy. On March 31, 2024, Geisinger became the first member of Risant Health, a new nonprofit charitable organization created to expand and accelerate value-based care across the country. Learn more at or follow on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and X.

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Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine
Elizabeth Zygmunt
Director, Media and Public Relations 
Office: 570-504-9687
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