In Brief

WHO Chief Scientist, NEJM Editor Headline Tufts COVID-19 Symposium

The virtual, public event on Nov.17-18 will address the pandemic’s impacts on health and society
November 9, 2020

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On Nov. 17 and 18, faculty and researchers from across Tufts University will join experts from around the globe for a wide-ranging discussion of COVID-19 and its effects on nearly every facet of our lives.

The virtual Tufts 2020 COVID-19 Research Symposium, which is free and open to the public, will feature two days of panel discussions and lightning talks from dozens of Tufts scientists and their international research and program partners. In addition to sharing the latest medical research on the virus, they will delve into the many social, political, and cultural impacts of the pandemic.

Notable guests will include keynote speakers Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist for the World Health Organization, and Eric Rubin, M90, GBS90, editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). Rubin was one of 34 NEJM editors to sign a scathing editorial criticizing the coronavirus response of President Donald Trump’s administration.

One panel discussion will address disinformation and its consequences during the pandemic. Tufts faculty will be joined by New York Times health and science reporter Apoorva Mandavilli and science writer and editor Roxanne Khamsi, who has covered the pandemic for Wired and Nature.

Equity will be front and center as panelists confront the pandemic’s disproportionate effects on different demographics. Sociologists will talk about what the crisis has meant for working parents and children whose education has been disrupted. An economist will discuss world food prices and why COVID-19 means higher costs to consumers but lower revenue for farmers.

Perspectives will range from the global—with experts from India, Israel, Panama, and Taiwan providing updates—to the local, with a close look at Tufts’ pilot study of a pooled testing protocol for its host cities. The success of that study led to Tufts’ helping schools in Medford and Somerville to create an inexpensive way to monitor for coronavirus.

The symposium is organized by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research. Register for the virtual event here.