“Health Care Cleveland—COVID, 2020 and Beyond” offers panel discussions on how Northeast Ohio’s medical communities have managed the COVID-19 pandemic and other pressing health care issues

On Sept. 29, the first presidential debate in advance of the November election will be held at Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University’s Health Education Campus. In the week before the debate, the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine will host a series of live virtual forums—open to the public— featuring health care leaders in panel discussions about COVID-19 and other critical health issues.

“Health Care Cleveland—COVID, 2020 and Beyond” will feature experts from university faculty, Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth System, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center and the Cleveland VA Medical Center, along with national and community health partners. 

“Cleveland is one of the nation’s leading health care centers in research and delivery, innovation, biotechnology, medical and interprofessional education, and health care reform,” said Stan Gerson, interim dean of the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, director of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center and director of the National Center for Regenerative Medicine. “We are proud of how our community pivoted and successfully managed through the pandemic, in addition to other accomplishments. This is an opportunity to deliver our collective perspectives to the nation prior to the presidential debate.”

Each of four one-hour remote forums will consist of a critical health care topic discussion with a moderator and panel of experts, and a chatbox for audience questions. Topics, dates and times, moderators and panelists are listed below, with individual links to join each forum. 

Recordings of the forums will be shared on the School of Medicine YouTube channel on Monday, Sept. 28.

Forum I: “COVID-19 Collaboration: Shared Hospital and Public Health Efforts to Care for Greater Cleveland” on Tuesday, Sept. 22, at 9 a.m.

The panel will discuss the discovery and innovation around COVID-19 in Cleveland, including how Northeast Ohio’s medical centers—Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, MetroHealth System and Cleveland VA Medical Center—mobilized, the value of the National Institutes of Health and other public and private investments that have enabled such work, the incredible speed with which academic centers pivoted toward these efforts, and specific examples of how COVID-19 research has led to breakthroughs.

Moderator: Brian Lane,  president and CEO of The Center for Health Affairs

Panelists: Terry Allan, health commissioner, Cuyahoga County Board of Health; Sean Cannone,  medical director, Population Health, Post-Acute Care, and Home Health Care, University Hospitals; Alice Kim, medical director, Medical Operations, staff physician, Infectious Disease, Cleveland Clinic; Todd Smith, deputy chief of staff, VA Cleveland Medical Center; and Brook Watts, vice president and chief quality officer, The MetroHealth System.

Register to attend “COVID-19 Collaboration: Shared Hospital and Public Health Efforts to Care for Greater Cleveland.”


Forum II: “The Public Return on Investment: Federal Support for Medical Research” on Tuesday, Sept. 22, at 3 p.m.

The panel will discuss the expertise, relationships and funding required to move medical research and discovery forward, and Northeast Ohio’s accomplishments in this area. 

Moderator: Stan Gerson, interim dean, CWRU School of Medicine

Panelists: Robert Bonomo, chief of medical service, Cleveland VA Medical Center; Serpil Erzurum, chair, Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute; Mukesh Jain, chief academic officer, University Hospitals; Jonathan Karn, department chair and professor, department of molecular biology and microbiology, CWRU School of Medicine; and Grace McComsey, vice president of research, University Hospitals. 

Register to attend “The Public Return on Investment: Federal Support for Medical Research.” 


Forum III: “Advancing a Culture of Health and Equity in Cuyahoga County

Wednesday, Sept. 23, at 1 p.m.

The panel will discuss the challenges and efforts to secure public health for underserved populations with the stress of COVID-19, and how the medical community in Cleveland is tackling healthcare racial disparities as an example.

Moderator: Heidi Gullett, associate director and associate professor, Center for Community Health Integration, CWRU School of Medicine

Panelists: Greg Brown, executive director, PolicyBridge; Delores Collins, founder and chair, The Greater Cleveland Community Health Workers Association; Julie Gerberding, executive vice president and chief patent officer, Merck & Co.; Martha Halko, deputy director, Prevention and Wellness, Cuyahoga County Board of Health; and Andrea Szabo, CWRU fourth-year medical student.

Register to attend “Advancing a Culture of Health and Equity in Cuyahoga County.”


Forum IV: “Why Biotech Advances Matter Now More Than Ever” on Thursday, Sept. 24, at 2 p.m.

The panel will discuss how biotech has adapted during the pandemic: critical investments in biotech research and development, how these investments set up a response to COVID-19 and why the local healthcare community will be ready for the next crisis.

Moderator: Mark Chance, vice dean for research, CWRU School of Medicine 

Panelists: Timothy Chan, director, Center for Immunotherapy and Precision Immuno-Oncology, Cleveland Clinic; Agata Exner, professor of Radiology, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center; Robert Kirsch, chairman, Department of Bioengineering, CWRU; Harvey Lodish, founding member, Whitehead Institute, and professor of Biology and Bioengineering, MIT. 

Register to attend “Why Biotech Advances Matter Now More Than Ever.”