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The Aftermask: How COVID-19 Will Change Public Health

May 22 @ 3:30 pm - 4:45 pm

The Aftermask

Moderated by Laura H. Kahn *02, Research Scholar, Program on Science and Global Security, Princeton School of Public and International Affairs


  • Gilbert S. Omenn ’61, Harold T. Shapiro Distinguished Professor, University of Michigan
  • Bruce S. Ribner ’66, Professor of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine; Principle Investigator, National Emerging Special Pathogens Training and Education Center; Medical Director, Emory Serious Communicable Diseases Unit
  • Melissa S. Marks ’86, Medical Director, Princeton University Health Services
  • Vinayak Venkataraman ’11, Resident Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital



About the Moderator

Laura KahnLaura H. Kahn *02
Research Scholar, Program on Science and Global Security, Princeton School of Public and International Affairs 

Laura H. Kahn is a physician and research scholar with the Program on Science and Global Security at the Princeton University School of Public and International Affairs. In 2006, she published Confronting Zoonoses, Linking Human and Veterinary Medicine in the CDC journal Emerging Infectious Diseases that helped launch the One Health Initiative, which is a global effort to promote the One Health concept that human, animal, plant, environmental, and ecosystem health are linked. She is the author of two books: “Who’s in Charge? Leadership During Epidemics, Bioterror Attacks, and Other Public Health Crises” (2nd edition published in 2020 by Praeger Security International) and “One Health and the Politics of Antimicrobial Resistance” published in 2016 by Johns Hopkins University Press. In June 2020, she launched her online Coursera course: Bats, Ducks, and Pandemics: An Introduction to One Health Policy, which has over 4,600 students enrolled from around the world. In 2014, she received a Presidential Award for Meritorious Service from the American Association of Public Health Physicians, and in 2016, the American Veterinary Epidemiology Society (AVES) awarded her with their highest honor for her work in One Health: the K.F. Meyer-James H. Steele Gold Head Cane Award. Laura is currently researching and writing a book about One Health and Leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.


About the Panelists


Gilbert OmennGilbert S. Omenn ’61
Harold T. Shapiro Distinguished Professor, University of Michigan

Gil Omenn ’61 came to Princeton in 1958, played in the marching band (that made the cover of SI) and gave the Latin salutatorian ddress. He prepared at Harvard Med, Mass General Hospital, the NIH (Vietnam Era military service) and the University of Washington (UW) for his career as a physician-scientist. He has researched genetic approaches to the brain, environmental/ genetic interactions, large-scale prevention of cancers, and proteins. He was a Howard Hughes Medical Investigator at UW, White House Fellow at the Atomic Energy Commission, associate director of the OSTP and then OMB in the Carter White House. He was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 1978. He was dean of Public Health at UW from 1982 to 1997 and chaired the Presidential/Congressional Commission on Risk Assessment & Risk Management mandated by the Clean Air Act.  He moved to the University of Michigan as Health System CEO in 1997. In 2005, he co-founded the Center for Computational Medicine & Bioinformatics. He is proud to be the Harold Shapiro Distinguished University Professor. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and served as president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He has had deep involvement with biotech companies, the Hastings Center for Bioethics, Weizmann Institute, and the Center for Public Integrity. His wife Martha Darling *70 is a prominent graduate of Princeton’s School of Public Affairs. He counts his weekly individual 60-minute-discussions with his four now-teenage grandchildren in Seattle (of seven total) over the past 12 months, a blessing. He still plays piano and doubles tennis. He has participated in Alumni-Faculty Forums at many Reunions.


Bruce RibnerBruce S. Ribner ’66
Professor of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine; Principle Investigator, National Emerging Special Pathogens Training and Education Center; Medical Director, Emory Serious Communicable Diseases Unit

As Medical Director of the Serious Communicable Diseases Unit at Emory University Hospital, Bruce S. Ribner ’66 is responsible for overall functioning of the Unit and the care of patients treated for Ebola virus disease and other special pathogens. He is also one of the clinicians who provides direct patient care for the Unit. Bruce is the principal investigator for the ASPR contract that established Emory University Hospital as the regional Emerging Special Pathogens Treatment Center for federal region 4. He is the Emory Principal Investigator for a contract with ASPR and CDC for the consortium of Emory University, the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and the New York Health and Hospitals Corporation/Bellevue, establishing the National Emerging Special Pathogens Training and Education Center (NETEC).


Melissa MarksMelissa S. Marks ’86
Medical, Princeton University Health Services

Melissa S. Marks ’86 is currently the medical director of University Health Services at Princeton University. She accepted the job in February of 2020 and began in June of 2020 and says it was not exactly the job she expected. When she arrived, the majority of the health service’s work revolved around planning and operationalizing systems that would allow the University to continue to teach amidst a pandemic. In the fall semester the teaching was all remote, and in the spring, students were brought back to an entirely changed academic and social environment. While the public health implementations have been largely successful in limiting the spread of Covid-19 on campus, most concerning is the effect of the changed environment on the health and well-being of students. Prior to returning to Princeton, she served as chief of the medical staff at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC), a community health care system in Maryland. As the organization’s first female chief-of-staff, she oversaw a medical workforce of 1,200 physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants. In 2020, GBMC was one of five organizations to win a Baldrige Award for Performance Excellence, and the first hospital in Maryland to do so. Over the course of 17 years at GBMC, she was the clinical director of GBMC’s Pediatric Emergency and Inpatient Services, a staff pediatrician, clinical director of GBMC’s Pediatric Advanced Life Saving Program, and vice chief of staff. She served as a preceptor for Johns Hopkins School of Medicine medical students for 15 years and as a consultant to Sheppard Pratt Psychiatric Hospital. She graduated from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 1998 and completed my pediatric residency at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 2002.


Vinayak VenkataramanVinayak Venkataraman ’11
Resident Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital

Vinayak Venkataraman ’11 is completing his final weeks of residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital, and will soon start fellowship training in hematology and medical oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Brigham & Women’s Hospital in July. He is originally from Rochester, NY, obtained a BSE in Electrical Engineering at Princeton University, obtained an M.D. from Duke University School of Medicine. Prior to medical school, he coordinated a clinical and research telemedicine and digital health program for Parkinson disease at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. While at MGH, he has been conducting clinical research in acute myeloid leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome, and will be co-investigator for a Phase I clinical trial related to treatment for refractory-relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Vinayak spent several months caring for patients with COVID in intensive care units and medical floors. He will share his perspective working in multidisciplinary surge units created overnight, the challenges of caring for critically sick patients from diverse communities who were isolated from their family, and how continually shifting clinical practices and public health guidance were implemented by frontline providers.

He is passionate about improving the care and outcomes of adolescent and young adults (AYA) diagnosed with cancer, and intends to become a clinician and clinical investigator in hematologic malignancies, particularly leukemia. He is also passionate about incorporating creative and reflective writing within the field of medicine, and has organized several writing programs and initiatives with MGH’s Writer-In-Residence, Suzanne Koven, for trainees. Outside of work, he enjoys playing tennis, creative writing, going on long walks and runs along The Charles, rooting for the Buffalo Bills, and (as a former home brewer) exploring the local beer scene.


May 22
3:30 pm - 4:45 pm
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Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08540 United States
(609) 258 - 3000