Dr. Michael Osterholm to give Luther College Farwell Distinguished Lecture October 15, “The COVID-19 Pandemic: Stories of a Journey”

Dr. Michael Osterholm
Dr. Michael Osterholm

World-renowned epidemiologist Dr. Michael Osterholm, a 1971 graduate of Waukon High School and 1975 graduate of Luther College, has been in constant demand this year for his expertise regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. A frequent contributor to major television and cable news networks, radio broadcasts and podcast segments, Osterholm will deliver this year’s Luther College Farwell Distinguished Lecture, “The COVID-19 Pandemic: Stories of a Journey” at 7 p.m. Thursday, October 15, in a virtual format.

This special Farwell Distinguished Lecture is presented in celebration of Luther’s new global health major. Fall 2020 is the inaugural semester for the global health program, which will equip students with the knowledge and skills to improve the health and wellness of people worldwide. It’s a mission that could not be more relevant at this moment in history, and it speaks to Osterholm’s life’s work.

“Dr. Osterholm has been a key resource in the creation of Luther’s new global health program,” said Kristen Underwood, director of campus programming. “As a Luther alumnus, a member of the Board of Regents and an internationally renowned voice in global health, Dr. Osterholm couldn’t be better suited to address the importance of this course of study and the reasons to pursue it at a liberal arts college.”

During his lecture, Osterholm will discuss where the world has been, where it is now and where it will likely be in the next several years regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Luther College President Jenifer K. Ward and Professor Scott Carlson will offer opening remarks. Following the lecture, Associate Professor Dr. Maryna Bazylevych will facilitate a question-and-answer session with questions submitted by students in Luther’s global health program.

Sponsored by the Global Health Governance Board, the President’s Office, Campus Programming, the Center for Global Learning, the Center for Ethics and Public Engagement, and the Elwin D. and Helen Farwell Distinguished Lecture Series Endowment, this virtual lecture is free and available to the public. A link can be found at luther.edu/events under the event listing. Learn more at luther.edu.

Dr. Osterholm is the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP); Distinguished Teaching Professor in the School of Public Health; a professor in the Technological Leadership Institute, College of Science and Engineering; and an adjunct professor in the Medical School, Regent Professor, McKnight Endowed Presidential Chair in Public Health and Director, Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, all at the University of Minnesota.

He has served as a Science Envoy for Health Security on behalf of the U.S. Department of State and has been a frequent consultant to the World Health Organization, the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Defense, and the Centers for Disease Control. Osterholm is the author of the New York Times best-seller “Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs.” He is a graduate of Luther College and sits on the Luther College Board of Regents in Decorah.


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