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COVID-19 Lessons To Be Unveiled in STAT Conference

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Nika Anschuetz





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From pandemic to endemic, the impact and history of pandemics come under the microscope Jan. 26 during DU’s second annual STAT Conference.

The virtual four-hour discussion in the STAT Conference (Seeking Tomorrow’s Answers Together) will dive deep, analyzing the true impact of COVID-19, as the Omicron variant exponentially increases case counts.

COVID-19 has taken the lives of more than 839,000 people in the United States. Last August, 72% of adults surveyed said they knew someone who has been hospitalized or died from COVID-19, reports the Pew Research Center.

While the U.S. has been hit with 61.9 million cases of COVID-19, millions of Americans have experienced food insecurity amid high inflation. However, the economy is showing signs of recovery with unemployment at 3.9%. COVID-19’s toll is far reaching and, perhaps, immeasurable.

Using past pandemics as a guide, this STAT Conference will identify lessons learned from COVID-19 and shine light on the road ahead.

“It may not be a finish line end they hoped for, but maybe a finish line where people aren’t dying and our hospitals aren’t overrun,” says Corinne Lengsfeld, senior vice provost for research.

Keynote speaker Hilary A. Smith, associate professor of history, will set the scene, bringing context from a historical perspective. Two sessions of lightning talks will follow as experts each speak for five to seven minutes. The first session dives into psychological, social and cultural issues; the second looks to the future.

“It’s nice psychology has the answers the world needs,” says Kim Gorgens, professor in the Graduate School of Professional Psychology and deputy COVID coordinator. “It just is a really hard time to navigate the world--and its relationships and its uncertainty, its economic loss. Its hopelessness. There are a lot of equally significant challenges.”

Last year, the DU COVID-19 response team created the conference to cross-pollinate best practices. Experts since have learned more about the pandemic’s ongoing challenges.

“Pandemics advance science and medicine,” Lengsfeld says. “But really what they do is change a generation and society.”

The conference’s free and virtual format is intentional–a dedication to accessibility. At the end of the two sessions, experts will answer questions.

To register for the STAT conference, please click here.