From AIDS to Zika: April 7 U-M event featured top speakers on contagious crises

April 19, 2017

From AIDS to Zika: April 7 U-M event featured top speakers on contagious crises

Major figures in the never-ending fight against dangerous infections gathered at U-M on Friday, April 7, for an afternoon-long exploration of how microbes spread regionally, nationally and globally – and what we can do to prevent, slow or stop them.

Titled “Pandemic! Contagious Crises from AIDS to Zika”, began and ended with major lectures, bookending an expert panel discussion that will drew on current events and historical context.

U-M President Mark Schlissel, M.D., Ph.D., opened the event, leading off an array of speakers from federal, state and municipal government, a major nonprofit global health organization, and the news media.

First in the lineup:  Anthony Fauci, M.D., who since 1984 has directed the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, overseeing scientific efforts to understand well-known and emerging microscopic threats. He gave the annual Davenport Lecture in the Medical Humanities, with an introduction from Howard Markel, M.D., Ph.D., director of one of the event’s organizers, the U-M Medical School’s Center for the History of Medicine.

The panel discussion was moderated by U-M alumnus, Emory University neurosurgeon and CNN medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta, M.D., with an introduction from Matthew M. Boulton, Ph.D., a professor at one of the event’s sponsors, the U-M School of Public Health.

The panel included Martin Cetron, M.D., who directs the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Abdul El-Sayed, M.D., Ph.D., former director of the Detroit Health Department; Donald McNeil, who covers “plagues and pestilences” for the New York Times; and Eden Wells, M.D., M.P.H., chief medical executive for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

The afternoon’s capstone lecture featured Paul Farmer, M.D., Ph.D. He co-founded and serves as chief strategist for Partners in Health, a global health organization that provides and evaluates community-based treatment strategies for high-quality health care in resource-poor settings around the world. He was introduced by John Z. Ayanian, M.D., M.P.P., who directs the event’s other organizer, the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation. Farmer’s talk served as the 2017 Fekety Lecture, held annually by another co-sponsor of the event, the Medical School’s Division of Infectious Diseases.

Live-tweeted highlights of the event can be found here.