Arkansas doctors, Gov. Hutchinson and U of A professors to teach course on COVID-19


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The University of Arkansas Honors College will present a daily online forum this May titled Pandemic, bringing together medical professionals, faculty experts, and Governor Asa Hutchinson to provide students and the public context on the global COVID-19 health crisis.

The two-week seminar, one of the first in the nation to focus on the novel coronavirus, will be offered online May 11-22 and will examine the crisis from multiple perspectives, according to a release from the University of Arkansas on Tuesday.

“There are so many who are reeling from the effects of this pandemic, and we have great experts here on campus who can provide context,” said Lynda Coon, dean of the Honors College and a professor of history. “Bringing in medical experts and Gov. Hutchinson, who have been on the front lines of fighting COVID-19, creates a unique opportunity for students to process and understand history as it happens.”

Honors students across the state may enroll in the course, and anyone who is interested may sit in.

We are going to be talking about COVID-19 for a long time, and the leadership at the Honors College is right to start the thoughtful discussion now. The pandemic is a historic event. No area of life has escaped its touch. The coronavirus has forced us to focus on personal health and responsibility, the medical profession, the economy, governance, and communications. It has raised questions about basic human relationships on a global scale – do we respond with compassion for others, or are we driven by self interest? I am eager to hear what the other professionals will have to say. I am humbled for the chance to participate and to offer my perspective as governor.

Governor Asa Hutchinson

The forum will begin with a session led by Dr. Mark Thomas, vice president and medical director of Population Health, and Dr. James Newton, an infectious disease specialist, both of whom are leaders managing the outbreak at Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville.

University of Arkansas professors will present on topics ranging from lessons learned from past epidemics to research on animal-human transmission to analysis of the economic aftershocks of social distancing.

Presenters include:

  • Lynda Coon, medieval history and religion
  • Di Fang, economics and agricultural business
  • Kristian Forbes, biological sciences
  • Chaim Goodman-Strauss, mathematical sciences
  • Kelly Hammond, history of modern Asia
  • Lynn Jacobs, medieval art history
  • Jennie Popp, economics and agricultural business
  • Jeremy Powell, animal sciences
  • Dr. Brian Primack, public health and medicine
  • Trish Starks, history of medicine
  • Daniel Sui, geosciences
  • Lauren Thomas, animal science
  • Matt Waller, supply chain management
  • Jiangchao Zhao, animal science

Other experts who will participate: 

  • John Cairns, health economics, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
  • Dr. Laura Rothfeldt, Arkansas Public Health Veterinarian
  • Dr. James Bledsoe, Arkansas’ chief physician specialist

On Friday, May 22, Governor Hutchinson will discuss the state’s response and lead a Q&A session with students enrolled in the course.

Honors students throughout the state may enroll in the course for credit thanks to Honors Arkansas, a consortium of honors programs and colleges, according to the university release.

“Our partners in Honors Arkansas have stepped up to help us expand enrollment and amplify the impact of this forum,” said Dean Coon.

For more information on auditing the course contact Recordings of each class will be posted online after each session to the Honors College website.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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