Panel Discussion: “Preparing for the Next Epidemic”

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Panel Discussion: “Preparing for the Next Epidemic”

Epidemics — widespread occurrence of infectious diseases — are becoming more common. Growing populations, loss of animal habitat, the anti-vaxxer movement, climate change and other factors are fueling a resurgence of infectious diseases and increasing their danger and reach. This powerhouse panel of local and global experts will wrap their wits around the current state of infectious diseases and will explore what can be done to prepare for the next epidemic. They will discuss practical and novel solutions that are emerging in the pursuit to combat infectious diseases and prevent worldwide suffering.

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Jim Neaton

Jim Neaton

Professor, School of Public Health

Jim Neaton is a professor of biostatistics at the University of School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota. His research interests are in the design, conduct, and analysis of clinical trials.

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Neaton leads a large network called International Network for Strategic Initiatives in Global HIV Trials (INSIGHT), which conducts international trials of HIV and influenza treatments and observational studies of C. difficile infection and influenza. He also collaborates on research on Ebola in West Africa that includes clinical trials of vaccines and treatments, and a large cohort study of Ebola survivors and their close contacts.

School of Public Health Regents Professor Michael Osterholm

Michael Osterholm

Regents Professor, School of Public Health

Michael Osterholm is a Regents Professor, McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair in Public Health, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP).

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He is also a Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, a professor in the Technological Leadership Institute, College of Science and Engineering, and an adjunct professor in the Medical School, all at the University of Minnesota. He is also a member of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) and the Council of Foreign Relations. In June 2005 Dr. Osterholm was appointed by Michael Leavitt, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to the newly established National Science Advisory Board on Biosecurity. In July 2008, he was named to the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center’s Academy of Excellence in Health Research. In October 2008, he was appointed to the World Economic Forum Working Group on Pandemics.

Sonja Rasmussen

Sonja A. Rasmussen

Professor, College of Medicine and the College of Public Health and Health Professions, University of Florida

Sonja Rasmussen recently joined the University of Florida after 20 years at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.

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While there, she provided significant scientific expertise and leadership and served in leadership roles during several CDC responses to public health emergencies. Dr. Rasmussen held several positions in the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities including Medical Officer, Associate Director for Science, and Senior Scientist, and worked collaboratively with other experts across CDC on pandemic planning efforts for pregnant women, and these efforts guided CDC recommendations for pregnant women during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. From 2011-2014, she served as Deputy Director of the Influenza Coordination Unit, which is responsible for CDC’s pandemic influenza preparedness from strategy through implementation, and for 6 months, served as the Acting Director of the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response (OPHPR), the office responsible for CDC’s public health preparedness and response activities, including CDC’s Emergency Operations Center.

Susan Kline


Susan Kline
Professor, Medical School – University of Minnesota

Susan Kline is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases and International Medicine. She has been the Medical Director for Infection Control at the University of Minnesota Medical Center since 1996 where she helped establish the Antibiotic Management Team in 2007. Dr. Kline currently is the Co-Director of the General Infectious Disease service and the Physician Director of Antimicrobial Management for the ID Division and is Co-Director of the HIV Family Clinic in the Delaware Street Clinic. Her research interests include the epidemiology of healthcare associated infections and prevention of these infections. In addition to her work on Infection Control and Antibiotic Decision Support systems, Dr. Kline is currently conducting a randomized clinical trial, “Effectiveness of Screening and Decolonization of S. aureus in Surgery Outpatients”. She recently completed another RCT in 2013, “A Trial for the Safety and Effectiveness of a Novel Antimicrobial-Coated Foley Catheter for Reduction of CAUTI”

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