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National COVID-19 expert to share insights at UHCL's President's Speaker Series

What role does higher education play in public health, in the midst of a pandemic? Dr. Peter J. Hotez, professor at Baylor College of Medicine and co-director of Texas Children's Hospital Center for Vaccine Development will address this and other related questions at the next virtual event in University of Houston-Clear Lake's President's Speaker Series, Friday, April 9, 9:45 a.m. - noon (CST).

The Series focuses upon the most critical educational, social, environmental and technical challenges facing higher education and communities, presenting the perspectives of world-class experts to address both problems and opportunities.

"Higher education can and must play a major role in implementing the lessons learned from the COVID experience, ranging from personal health, healthy communities, scientific translation, to building a resilience culture," said UH-Clear Lake's Chief Strategy Officer and event host Kevin Wooten.

The panel discussion "Public Health Access and Pandemics: How Can Higher Education Help?" will explore the current status of COVID-19, its impacts on higher education, and how higher education can help create a more resilient community and improve the public's health. Panelists contributing to the discussion from UHCL's College of Business include Professors of Healthcare Administration Femi Ayadi and Jordan Mitchell.

"It's higher education's job to continue modifying our curriculum to be relevant to current circumstances," said Ayadi. "We need to be agile, meet the needs of the community, and teach students material that prepares them for work in a post-COVID economy. I will be asking and answering questions during this discussion."

UHCL President Ira K. Blake said that the ways in which higher education deals with the COVID pandemic will greatly shape the future landscape of education from a financial and accessibility perspective, through the relationship between colleges and universities and the communities they serve, as well as the acceptance of lifelong learning for both personal and occupational success. "This crisis will either propel or restrain us from moving towards a 21st century model of higher education," she said.

College of Human Sciences and Humanities Professors Karen Alexander, Bill Amonette, Isabelle Kusters and Dawit Woldu, who teach nursing, exercise and health sciences, public health, and medical anthropology, respectively, will also participate as panelists in the discussion.

Each semester, the President's Speaker Series presents two nationally prominent speakers and two virtual panel discussions to initiate dialogue between the university and the community concerning the future of higher education.

A second virtual event, featuring Dr. Joshua Gordon, director of the National Institute for Mental Health, is scheduled for April 23 at 10:45 a.m. (CST). The presentation is entitled, "Mental Health and COVID-19: How Can Higher Education Help?"

Both events are free of charge. Learn more about both events, and register online.