Public Health Faculty with Expertise Relevant to the COVID-19 Pandemic

The following faculty experts are available for interviews related to the novel Coronavirus outbreak. Brief descriptions of their relevant expertise are included. To arrange an interview with one of these faculty members, please contact Kelly Blake, Assistant Dean of Communications for the School of Public Health, at kellyb@umd.edu or 301-405-9418.

Boris D. Lushniak, MD, MPH 
Professor and Dean
University of Maryland School of Public Health

Dr. Lushniak is available to speak about public health preparedness and response in the United States and the historical context of lessons learned from previous pandemics.

His relevant experience includes serving in leadership roles and responding to public health emergencies including:

  • Serving as U.S. Deputy Surgeon General from November 2010 to September 2015
  • In New York at “Ground Zero” after September 11, 2001 as part of the CDC/NIOSH team
  • After the 2001 anthrax attacks in Washington, DC as part of the CDC team. 
  • Hurricane Katrina (while serving as FDA Assistant Commissioner for Counterterrorism Policy)
  • 20019 H1N1 influenza pandemic, as the FDA Deputy Incident Commander
  • ​Ebola outbreak in Liberia in 2015, as commander of the USPHS Monrovia Medical Unit, the only U.S. government hospital providing care to Ebola patients.

Sandra C. Quinn, PhD 
Professor and Chair, Department of Family Science
University of Maryland School of Public Health 

Dr. Quinn is available to speak about perceptions of risk during a pandemic, differential impacts of a pandemic on different populations (including racial/ethnic minorities), attitudes toward vaccination, trust in government and public acceptance of an emergency use authorization of a vaccine or drug during a pandemic.

Her relevant experience includes:   

  • Conducted research during previous public health emergencies including the 2001 anthrax attack and the 2009-10 H1N1 pandemic. 
  • Also conducted a study for the FDA on public understanding of medical countermeasures
  • Led the first study of a conceptual model on disparities in the H1N1 pandemic that documented that those unable to social distance will bear a larger burden of disease Led first studies on public acceptance of an “emergency use authorization” of a vaccine or drug during the H1N1 pandemic and the public's ability to handle uncertainty and its impact on the perceived quality of communication during the pandemic, and the impact of President Obama's public discussion of having his daughters vaccinated and more
  • Current member of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine Committee on Evidence-Based Practices for Public Health Emergency Preparedness and Response
  • Currently studying vaccine narratives on multiple social media platforms with publications related to misinformation contributed by Russian trolls and bots, etc. 
  • ​Taught and trained public health professionals in Crisis and Emergency Risk Communication.

Donald Milton, MD, DrPH 
Professor, Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health
University of Maryland School of Public Health 

Dr. Milton can speak about what is known about how the novel Coronavirus spreads and how to best prevent transmission. He can also speak about the efficacy of using surgical masks to prevent transmission and the role of airborne transmission. He also can share insights into the challenges of developing a vaccine. 

Relevant experience: 

  • Published a study examining the effectiveness of surgical masks (2013) for controlling shedding of influenza virus into large respiratory droplets and fine particle aerosols and is a co-author of a new paper examining the impact on Coronavirus shedding (under review).
  • Published a study examining how the influenza virus spreads (2018) using exhaled breath analysis, which showed that airborne transmission is more likely an important mode for influenza virus (flu) than previously thought.
  • PI of the C.A.T.C.H. (Characterizing And Tracking College Health) the Virus Study (funded by DARPA), which seeks to understand what makes people with respiratory infections contagious to help inform strategies to prevent viral transmission, including recent publication on the role of ventilation in respiratory virus transmission.
  • Led NIH, CDC, and IARPA-funded projects that developed novel exhaled breath sampling methods and for the first-time characterized aerosol shedding from people infected with influenza.​
     

Marian Moser Jones, PhD, MPH
Associate Professor
Department of Family Science
University of Maryland School of Public Health 

Dr. Marian Moser Jones is available to speak about the historical context of public health pandemics and the response by governments. Her research and writings have focused on public health history and ethics - including the 1918-19 influenza pandemic - and how and why the American institutional sector has developed to provide for the health and survival needs of families, children, and other vulnerable populations in crisis situations, as well as how it has exercised the power to decide what is best for peoples’ health and well-being. 

 

Dina Borzekowski, PhD
Research Professor, Behavioral and Community Health
University of Maryland School of Public Health 

The novel Coronavirus epidemic can be particularly scary to young people, whose lives are being affected by illness, cancellations, and possible school closures. Dr. Borzekowski can offer advice on how to better reach children and adolescents with important messages and provide coping skills. 
 
Relevant experience:
  • Worked with production companies, including Sesame Workshop, MTV, and the BBC, to develop media productions for children.
  • Conducted research on the impact of health messages, using randomized control trial, longitudinal, and qualitative approaches.
  • Produced videos on different health topics, including exposure to tobacco marketing, food and beverage advertising, and violent content.
  • Serves as the Interim Director of the Global Health Initiative, assisting with educational, service, and research projects in more than two dozen countries.

Hongjie Liu, PhD
Professor and Chair, Epidemiology and Biostatistics
University of Maryland School of Public Health 

Dr. Liu can speak about the features of the novel Coronavirus epidemic in China and the ongoing prevention measures to contain the spread. 

Relevant experience: 

  • Published research on the control and prevention of the SARS outbreak in Hong Kong (2002-4) 
  • Expertise related to epidemiological modeling of disease spread
  • Worked as the chief epidemiologist in Anhui Provincial Center for Disease Control for 10 years
  • ​Research focuses on infectious disease epidemiology (e.g., HIV/STDs)

Muhiuddin Haider, PhD
Clinical Professor in Global Health
University of Maryland School of Public Health

Dr. Haider can speak about public health surveillance and community-based prevention, communication in health emergencies, and the preparedness of health systems and service delivery. 

Relevant experience: 

  • Provided assistance for multi-sector initiatives to advance the delivery of quality health care services in the areas of Avian Influenza, HIV/AIDS, TB, RH/FP, Malaria and improve health communication and health education
  • Teaches undergraduate courses for Public Health Science and Global Health Scholars Programs related to strategies of behavior change and application of social marketing tools for health promotion
  • ​Has led major public health projects in several countries in Africa and Asia, for which he utilized technical skills to stimulate innovative and culturally sensitive approaches grounded in organizational and technical soundness.

COVID-19 News Stories Featuring UMD School of Public Health Experts 

Many of our faculty have participated in media interviews, providing critical information to help people understand the public health science of disease transmission and prevention, counter misinformation and stay safe. Photo: Dean Boris Lushniak was interviewed by CNN's Christiane Amanpour on March 24, 2020.

Read and watch a sampling of the stories faculty members have been interviewed for (updated daily) at sph.umd.edu/covid19news.

Weekly SPH COVID-19 Email Update

SPH COVID-19 Webinars, Seminars and Online Chats

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics Seminar Series on the Epidemiology of the COVID-19 Pandemic

Upcoming Webinars:

Impact of COVID-19 in Latin America – Perspectives From 80 Latin American Epidemiologists 
Thursday, June 4, 4 pm - 5 pm EST

An Interactive COVID-19 Impact Analysis Platform for Situational Awareness and Decision Support 
Tuesday, June 9, 1 pm - 2 pm EST 

Best Practices of States and Counties in Addressing the COVID19 Pandemic 
Friday, June 26, 2-3 pm EST

Past Webinars:

Seminar | Double Jeopardy: COVID-19 in the US and Latino Communities
Presented by Dr. Olivia Carter-Pokras professor of epidemiology and biostatistics. Read more »

Building a Rapid Response: Lessons Learned from an Ongoing Pandemic of COVID-19
Presented by Dr. Travis Gayles from the Maryland Department of Health and Dr. Chunfu Liu from the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services. Read more »

Modeling the Epidemic of COVID-19 in Maryland: Does Social Distancing Work?
Presented by Dr. Hongjie Liu, professor and chair of the department of epidemiology and biostatistics. Read more »

Webinar | On the Frontlines: A Guide for Health Professionals During COVID-19
Tuesday, April 28, 2020

As our community continues to address the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Maryland School of Public Health organized a webinar to provide guidance to those working in health professions, as well as context for all who are interested in understanding how public health decisions are being made. 

Seminar | COVID-19: Learning from South Korea
Tuesday, April 21, 2020

South Korea has limited the introduction of the pandemic better than any other country. How have they done that? Have they been able to keep the economy going during the pandemic?

Hyeonjin Song, a Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health doctoral student shares her experiences returning home to Daegu, South Korea. She presents on her personal experiences traveling during the pandemic and discusses the South Korean government's approach to disease spread mitigation. Following her introduction, she shares a video interview with Dr. Kiyoung Lee, Dean of the School of Public Health, Seoul National University, where he describes the South Korean response and current situation. 

Life in the Time of COVID-19 Online Chat
Every Wednesday at 12pm EST

Dean Boris Lushniak, Kelly Sherman' 21, a public health science major and director of health and wellness for the UMD Student Government Association, and special guests convene each Wednesday at noon EST for an online chat. They discuss the latest updates on COVID-19 and share research, innovation and resources from the greater UMD community.

View past discussions on our YouTube channel:

UMD COVID-19 Updates and Resources

  • Visit umd.edu/virusinfo for the latest COVID-19 information from the University of Maryland.
  • Find UMD Graduate School specific Coronavirus information at gradschool.umd.edu/coronavirus.
  • Students, faculty and staff: Visit Keep Connected for resources for staying connected to the UMD Community.
  • Alumni, donors, parents and friends, visit Keep Together for info about the #ShellsUnited campaign.

MD Governor's COVID-19 Response

Read Governor Larry Hogan's COVID-19 response at governor.maryland.gov/coronavirus/

The Well Terp: Wellness Resources for the SPH Community

How You Can Help - Take Action Now! 

Find a list of opportunities to help your fellow Marylanders from the office of Governor Larry Hogan at governor.maryland.gov/marylandunites/

Help our state prepare and protect our community by registering with the Maryland Medical Reserve Corps (no medical experience necessary). Sign up to volunteer through the Maryland Responds Registry at https://mdresponds.health.maryland.gov​

Those in other states can find information about their reserve corps at the Medical Reserve Corps website. 

HELP TERPS IN NEED
Your gift to the UMD Student Crisis Fund provides critical funds to students who need urgent assistance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They need your support today. www.crisisfund.umd.edu/

Resources for Families and Children

How to Look Like a Hero: Mask Up!
Research Professor Dina Borzekowski, Public Health Without Borders students, local high school students, Hemakshi Gordy, Jansikwe Medina-Tayac and illustrator and author Peter Reynolds have produced a new video for youth demonstrating proper ways of making and using face coverings to reduce the risk of virus transmission. Watch How to Look Like a Hero: Mask Up! »

Faculty members and graduate students in the Department of Family Science have created several resource guides for families and children in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic:

Dina L.G. Borzekowski, a research professor in the Department of Behavioral and Community Health, offers parents, children and teens tips to cope during COVID-19. 

UMD Mental Health Services, with adjustments during COVID-19 Pandemic

WellTrack: Mental Health App free for all UMD Students

University Health Center Services

  • Behavioral Health OperationsBehavioral Health Services will continue remotely via phone for current patients (no new patients at this time). Requests for appointments, refills, etc. can be submitted online for by phone. Anyone experiencing a psychiatric emergency should call 911 or go to their nearest hospital emergency department.
  • Live Stream Meditations: Tuesday/Thursday 10:30 am, Friday 4 pm.
  • Faculty Staff Assistance Program: Services provided via telephone appointments.

Counseling Center:

  • Counseling: Counseling services will continue virtually / remotely (no in-person appointments) via phone or teleconference platforms such as Zoom (starting Monday, March 23, 2020).
  •  Accessibility & disability: Testing Office: Closed until further notice. 

School of Public Health based:

  • Center for Healthy Families (Operates within in the School of Public Health): Couple, Family and Individual therapy will continue through teleconference platforms to current clients.
  • The Together Program: FREE online workshops for couples navigating increased time together. Improve communication, stress management, and financial management skills via education and counseling services.  
  • SAFE Center: The center will continue to accept referrals and provide services to survivors of human trafficking by phone and online.

The Graduate School:

Info for Undergraduate Students via Student Affairs: