What We Know About Omicron: Guidance for the Holidays
December 16, 2021
This important discussion focused on the Omicron variant and provided a snapshot of the latest information for the public as the holidays approach and international travel increases. Panelists included Celine R. Gounder, MD, ScM, FIDSA, President Biden’s COVID-19 Task Force and Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine and Infectious Diseases at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, Elodie Ghedin, Ph.D., Chief, Systems Genomics Section, Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Affiliate Faculty, Center for Genomics and Systems Biology, NYU, and serving as moderator for this afternoon's conversation was Michael H. Merson, MD, Visiting Professor of Global Health, NYU School of Global Public Health, and Wolfgang Joklik Professor Emeritus of Medicine and Research Professor of Global Health, Duke University.
This program was sponsored by the NYU School of Global Public Health, Just Human Productions, and the NYU Brademas Center.
This program was open to everyone. Registration was required in order to receive the Zoom log-in details for this webinar. Please note that this program was recorded.
Elodie Ghedin, Ph.D., Chief, Systems Genomics Section, Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Affiliate Faculty, Center for Genomics and Systems Biology, NYU
Dr. Elodie Ghedin obtained her Ph.D. from McGill University’s Institute of Parasitology in Montreal, Canada. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at NIAID on the cell biology of Leishmania donovani, in 2000 she joined The Institute for Genomic Research (TIGR; now the J. Craig Venter Institute) where she worked on the annotation of trypanosomatid genomes. There she led her own group on the Brugia malayi and Influenza Virus genome projects. In 2006 she joined the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine where she was part of the Department of Computational and Systems Biology and the Center for Vaccine Research. In 2014 she moved to New York University where she was a professor of biology in the College of Arts and Sciences, and a professor of epidemiology in the School of Global Public Health. From 2017 to 2019, she served as director of NYU’s Center for Genomics and Systems Biology. In May 2020, Dr. Ghedin joined NIAID’s Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases as a senior investigator. She also holds an affiliated position with New York University. Dr. Ghedin is a MacArthur Foundation Fellow (2011), a Kavli Frontier of Science Fellow (2012), and an American Academy of Microbiology Fellow (2017).
Celine R. Gounder, MD, ScM, FIDSA, President Biden’s Covid-19 Task Force and Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine and Infectious Diseases at NYU Grossman School of Medicine
Dr. Gounder is the CEO/President/Founder of Just Human Productions, a non-profit multimedia organization. She’s also the host and producer of American Diagnosis, a podcast on health and social justice, and Epidemic, a podcast about infectious disease epidemics and pandemics. Season 1 of Epidemic covered the SARS-CoV-2 / COVID / coronavirus pandemic.
From November 9, 2020 to January 20, 2021, Dr. Gounder served on the Biden-Harris Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board.
She is a medical journalist and thought leader. She is a frequent expert guest on CNN, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, HLN, BBC, Al Jazeera America, MTV, Dr. Oz, and Oprah Prime. She's written for The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Guardian US, The Washington Post, Reuters, Quartz, Sports Illustrated, and Bloomberg View. She’s best known for her coverage of the Ebola, Zika, COVID-19, opioid overdose, and gun violence epidemics.
Dr. Gounder is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine and Infectious Diseases at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine. She cares for patients on the wards at Bellevue Hospital Center.
In early 2015, Dr. Gounder spent two months volunteering as an Ebola aid worker in Guinea. In her free time, she interviewed locals to understand how the crisis was affecting them. She is currently making Dying to Talk, a feature-length documentary about the Ebola epidemic in Guinea.
Between 1998 and 2012, she studied TB and HIV in South Africa, Lesotho, Malawi, Ethiopia, and Brazil. While on faculty at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Gounder was the Director for Delivery for the Gates Foundation-funded Consortium to Respond Effectively to the AIDS/TB Epidemic. She later served as Assistant Commissioner and Director of the Bureau of Tuberculosis Control at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
She received her BA in Molecular Biology from Princeton University, her Master of Science in Epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and her MD from the University of Washington. Dr. Gounder was an intern and resident in Internal Medicine at Harvard’s Massachusetts General Hospital, and a post-doctoral fellow in Infectious Diseases at Johns Hopkins University. She was elected a fellow of the Infectious Diseases Society of America in 2016 and featured in the IDSA’s 2017 Annual Report. In 2017, People Magazine named her one of 25 Women Changing the World. In 2021, InStyle Magazine named her one of 50 Women Making the World a Better Place.
Dr. Gounder lives with her husband Grant Wahl in New York City.
Michael H. Merson, MD (Moderator), Senior Research Scientist, NYU GPH, Wolfgang Joklik Professor of Global Health at Duke University.
Michael H. Merson, M.D., is the Wolfgang Joklik Professor of Global Health and the Director of the SingHealth Duke-National University of Singapore (NUS) Global Health Institute. He joined the Duke faculty in November 2006 as the founding director of the Duke Global Health Institute and served in that role through 2017. In addition, Dr. Merson was Vice Chancellor for Duke-National University of Singapore (NUS) Affairs until 2017 and the Vice President and Vice Provost for Global Affairs at Duke University until 2018.
In 1978, he joined the World Health Organization (WHO) as a Medical Officer in the Diarrheal Diseases Control Program. He served as Director of that Program from January 1980 until May 1990. In August 1987, he was also appointed Director of the WHO Acute Respiratory Infections Control Program. In May 1990, he was appointed as Director of the WHO Global Program on AIDS. This Program was operational worldwide and responsible for mobilizing and coordinating the global response to the AIDS pandemic.
In 1995, he joined Yale University School of Medicine as its first Dean of Public Health and as Professor and Chairman of the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health. In 2001, he was named as the Anna M. R. Lauder Professor of Public Health in the Yale University School of Medicine. From 1999-2006, he also served as Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS at Yale University, which undertakes research on HIV prevention in vulnerable and underserved populations in this country and abroad.
Dr. Merson has authored more than 180 articles, primarily in the area of disease prevention. He is the senior editor of Global Health: Disease, Programs, Systems, and Policies, which is a leading global health textbook in the United States. He recently co-authored the book The AIDS Pandemic: Searching for a Global Response, which examines the 36 year history of the global response to the pandemic. He has served in advisory capacities for UNAIDS, WHO, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, World Bank, World Economic Forum, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has two honorary degrees, and is a member of the National Academy of Medicine.