2020 COVID-19 Webinar Series

View recordings of past webinars below.

In an effort to support teachers during this difficult time, WHDEF has assembled a group of experts to provide context on COVID-19 as well as an introduction to the new teaching module on the pandemic recently published by the foundation. Teachers who attend all four sessions will receive a $50 Amazon gift card, compliments of the WHDEF.

Primary Presenters
May 6, 2020
Dan Barry, New York Times Senior Writer; Professor Thomas Ewing, Virginia Tech
May 13, 2020
Dr. Youngmee Jee, Advisor, Global Center for Infectious Diseases, Seoul National University
May 20, 2020
Professor Soonman Kwon, Seoul National University
May 27, 2020
Jenny Town, Fellow and Deputy Director of 38 North, Stimson Center


Webinar 1

May 6, 2020 @ 7:00-8:00PM EST
Flu Pandemic of 1918
Dan Barry, New York Times Writer & Professor Thomas Ewing, Virginia Tech

Explore the 1918 Flu pandemic and its impact on the world.  Special attention will be paid to Philadelphia’s experience with the flu and how the lessons of 1918 can be applied today. Connections will also be made to the new WHDEF COVID-19 module.

About Dan Barry

Dan BarryDan Barry, a senior writer at The New York Times, is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University and New York University. He shared a 1994 Pulitzer Prize as a member of an investigative team at the Providence Journal, and since then has twice been a nominated Pulitzer finalist for feature writing. His other honors include a George Polk Award, two American Society of Newspaper Editors Awards, the Mike Berger Award from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and a Best American Newspaper Narrative Award. He is the author of Pull Me Up: A Memoir; City Lights, a collection of his “About New York” columns; Bottom of the 33rd: Hope, Redemption, and Baseball’s Longest Game, which won the 2012 PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sportswriting; The Boys in the Bunkhouse: Servitude and Salvation in the Heartland; and This Land: America, Lost and Found, a collection of his national columns, published in September 2018.

Please see Dan’s recent article in the New York Times: The Killer Flu of 1918: A Philadelphia Story

About Professor Thomas Ewing

Thomas EwingTom Ewing is a professor in the Department of History at Virginia Tech and the associate dean for graduate studies and research at the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences. He teaches courses in Russian, European, and world history. His books include The Teachers of Stalinism: Policy, Practice, and Power in Soviet Schools in the 1930s (2002); Education & the Great Depression, edited with David Hicks (2006); Separate Schools: Gender, Policy, and Practice in the Postwar Soviet Union (2010); and the co-edited volume, Viral Networks: Connecting Digital Humanities and Medical History (2018). His current research project explores the transmission of information about the so-called “Russian Influenza” (1889-1890) using data and digital humanities approaches to medical history. At Virginia Tech, he coordinates the Data in Social Context program, which sustains an interdisciplinary approach of data analytics, computational skills, and critical thinking in the humanities and social sciences. He has received funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities to run workshops on the 1918 Spanish Influenza and on Images and Texts in Medical History.

Webinar 2

May 13, 2020 @ 7:00-8:00PM EST
Korea’s Response to COVID-19
Dr. Youngmee Jee, Advisor, Global Center for Infectious Diseases, Seoul National University

Presentation Slides

Interact with one of Korea’s top infectious disease experts on the initial response to COVID-19 and the larger lessons learned from the Korean case.  Connections will also be made to the new COVID-19 module.

About Youngmee Jee

Dr. Youngmee JeeDr. Youngmee Jee is a member of the WHO International Health Regulation (IHR) Emergency Committee on COVID-19 Outbreak (2020) and of the WHO Scientific Advisory Group for the Blueprint on Research and Development Preparedness for Epidemics (2015). She is currently an Advisor to the Global Center for Infectious Diseases, Seoul National University College of Medicine and Long-Term Expert Advisor of the Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology. From 2014 to 2019, she served as Director-General of the Center for Infectious Disease Research of the Korea National Institute of Health (NIH), the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and headed the KNIH as Acting Director between January and October 2019. During the MERS-CoV outbreak in 2015, Dr. Jee was a member of the WHO-Korea Joint Mission on MERS-CoV Outbreak in the Republic of Korea, and in 2017 was assigned the role of the National Lead for the WHO IHR Joint External Evaluation (JEE) of the Republic of Korea’s Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response. In 2007-2014, Dr. Jee worked as Regional Laboratory Coordinator in the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) of the WHO Western Pacific Region. She serves as a member of various national and international advisory committees, including the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on Immunization. Dr Jee received her M.D. from Seoul National University Medical School (1986), a Diploma in Medical Microbiology (1988) and her Ph.D. in Virology from the University of London (1997).

Webinar 3

May 20, 2020 @ 7:00-8:00PM EST
Korea & Covid 19 Today
Professor Soonman Kwon, Professor and Former Dean, School of Public Health, Seoul National University 

Understand how Korea was able to flatten the curve through testing and social distancing. Connections will also be made to the new COVID-19 module.

About Professor Soonman Kwon

Professor Soonman KwonDr. Kwon is Professor and former dean of the School of Public Health, Seoul National University (SNU) in South Korea and has held visiting positions at the Harvard School of Public Health, London School of Economics, University of Toronto, Peking University, and the University of Bremen. He was the Chief of the Health Sector Group at the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and is the founding director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Health System and Financing. He is a board member of Health Systems Global (HSG) and has been a member of advisory committees to the WHO Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research, GAVI (Global Alliance for Vaccine and Immunization), and the WHO Centre for Health and Development. He is currently the president of the Korean Health Economic Association and has served as president of the Korean Association of Schools of Public Health and the Korean Gerontological Society. He holds a PhD in health economics from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

Webinar 4

May 27, 2020 @ 7:00-8:00PM EST
North Korea Today
Jenny Town, Fellow and Deputy Director of 38 North, Stimson Center

Presentation Slides

Explore developments in North Korea including COVID-19, Kim Jong Un’s health, and the recent missile tests.  Connections will also be made to teachingaboutnorthkorea.org.

About Jenny Town

Jenny TownJenny Town is a Fellow at Stimson and the Deputy Director of Stimson’s 38 North, a website devoted to providing policy and technical analysis on North Korea. She was named one of Worth Magazine’s “Groundbreakers 2020: 50 Women Changing the World” and one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business in 2019 for her role in co-founding and managing 38 North.

Ms. Town is the former Assistant Director of the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies where she focused on North Korea, US-DPRK relations, US-ROK alliance, and Northeast Asia regional security. She is an expert reviewer for Freedom House’s Freedom in the World Index, where she previously worked on the Human Rights in North Korea Project. She is an Associate Fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute at SAIS, a Member of the National Committee on North Korea, and an Associate Member of the Council of Korean Americans. She serves on the Editorial Board for Inkstick, an online foreign policy journal for emerging scholars.

Ms. Town holds a BA in East Asian Studies and International Relations from Westmar University and a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs.

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