As the Los Angeles community and the world learn to navigate uncertain times, the novel coronavirus pandemic has prompted many questions.
When can I visit my grandchildren? Do I need to wipe down my mail? How long until a vaccine is available? How do I cope with isolation and anxiety? To answer questions like these, UCLA orchestrated an online speaker series, Your COVID-19 Questions Answered, featuring experts from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and UCLA Health.
To date, more than 1,600 people have attended one or more parts of the series, which began in May with segments hosted by UCLA leaders, including Dr. Kelsey C. Martin, dean of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and Gerald S. Levey, M.D., Endowed Chair; Johnese Spisso, MPA, president of UCLA Health, CEO of the UCLA Hospital System and associate vice chancellor of UCLA Health Sciences; and Dr. John C. Mazziotta (RES ’81, FEL ’83), vice chancellor of UCLA Health Sciences and CEO of UCLA Health. The series is moderated by Judy Fortin, executive director of communications for UCLA Health.
Event attendees hail not only from California, but also from locations across the country and around the globe. Each session, held via Zoom, focuses on a particular COVID-19-related topic, such as testing, clinical care and immunology, and include expert panelists to address attendees’ questions, submitted beforehand and in real time. “In some ways, this global pandemic is bringing us closer together, even while we’re physically apart,” Spisso said during a session.
During the third session, which focused on immunology, Dr. Mazziotta spoke about the development of I3T, the Immunology, Inflammation, Infection, and Transplantation research theme at the David Geffen School of Medicine. “We’ve been at this for some time, and when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived, we were able to quickly develop our own viral testing and launch many research projects and clinical trials,” he said. “Our knowledge of the immune system has reached the point where almost every new basic-science discovery could lead to an effective and practical treatment, from cancer to food allergies to autoimmune disorders, even aspects of aging. These discoveries and treatments lead to advances regularly.”
What initially started as a three-part series was expanded due to overwhelming demand. A fourth session on mental health was held in July, and, in response to the plethora of questions about supporting children’s social, emotional and educational development during COVID-19, an August event targeted children’s health. Additional sessions are forthcoming.
“UCLA and the David Geffen School of Medicine have come together in a collaborative manner and put together a very clear organizing infrastructure that will bring the expertise that’s needed to address all of these issues, whether it’s developing
at-home tests, therapeutics or a vaccine,” Dr. Martin said.
For more information, contact Jamie Lynn at:310-983-3033