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Outbreak: Lessons From the Worst Pandemics in History

Throughout human history, pandemics have periodically resulted in widespread illness. Although a lethal learning process, these outbreaks have contributed to our understanding of how diseases spread and can be effectively managed and controlled.

This course involves looking back at historical responses to pandemics for lessons to help us better understand COVID-19.

We will learn about the critical questions medical scientists ask when investigating diseases and how history provided answers to questions about pathogen evolution and viral transmission, treatment, and prevention.

Through examining outbreaks such as bubonic plague, cholera, influenza, and smallpox, we will learn about the discovery of microbes, the development of germ theory, and the birth of scientific medicine and public health.

We will also consider how advancements in medical knowledge have prepared medical scientists to combat new virulent diseases, such as COVID-19.

Dr. Ralph Allen is a retired faculty member of the University of Virginia, where he served as a Professor of Chemistry, Environmental Science, and Public Health Science. He has also previously served as the Associate Vice President for Research at UVA.

Nat Kirkland is a retired Primary Care Physician and graduate of the UVA Medical School.

There are no scheduled sessions at this time. Sign up to be notified when this course is available.

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