Confronting COVID-19: Science, History, Policy

Led by Allan Brandt and Ingrid Katz, this Gen Ed course “Confronting Covid 19: Science, History, Policy” will run in Fall 2020.

The ongoing Covid-19 epidemic presents an important opportunity for Harvard undergraduates to observe closely–utilizing a range of methods and approaches–this world-changing, historic episode and to analyze scientific, social, and political elements of the US and global responses.   

A number of scholars in the social sciences and humanities have deployed to investigate epidemics and patterns of health and disease through the exploration of how societies respond to and explain epidemics.  

The course will assess essential characteristics of contemporary scientific knowledge, medical practices, as well as deeper social structure and inequalities, policymaking, and values and ethics related to COVID-19.   

This will provide an opportunity for undergraduates at Harvard to deepen their understanding of a contemporary crisis as well as to explicate a wide range of disciplinary methods and skills.

WATCH Full Recordings of the Course Below

HarvardX: Confront COVID-19 on YouTube

Each course lecture will be recorded, captioned, and made available in the YouTube library over the course of the semester.

Lessons from Ebola: Preventing the Next Pandemic 

Led by Harvard Global Health Institute Director Dr. Ashish Jha, the edX course – Lessons from Ebola: Preventing the Next Pandemic illustrates the architecture of health systems at the height of the Ebola outbreak, provides clarity on the governance, structure, and capacity issues that were underscored during the crisis, and places an emphasis on where the world can stand next in preventing future pandemics.

About the course

The 2014 Ebola outbreak has made clear the fragility of existing health systems. While responding to the current epidemic is critical, we also have an opportunity to learn lessons for pandemic responses, to forge partnerships across borders and disciplines, and demonstrate our commitment to value all human lives.

This four-week course provides the context in which to understand the Ebola outbreak — why now, and why did so many people suffer and die? The course lays out the global governance structure — what was the global response supposed to look like, and where did it fail?

The course will feature practitioners, experts, and scholars who will focus on cultivating a better understanding of the Ebola epidemic and implications for future health systems to ensure that the world is more effective in preventing the next pandemic.

What you’ll learn

  • What happened during the Ebola outbreak in West Africa?
  • What were the local challenges faced by patients, clinicians, and national policy makers?
  • Why did the international response fail to halt Ebola and prevent its spread?
  • How do we prevent the next the pandemic?