Health Care Cleveland—COVID, 2020 and Beyond

A Series of Health Care Forums Addressing Today’s Most Demanding Global Health Care Issues 

The first presidential debate leading up to the election in November was held on September 29 at the Health Education Campus, where candidates addressed demanding health care issues in addition to other critical topics. Cleveland is the nation’s leader in health care research and delivery, innovation, biotechnology, medical and interprofessional education, and health care reform.

Photo of health care workers wearing masks

During the week before the debate, Case Western Reserve’s School of Medicine hosted a series of live virtual forums featuring leaders in the health care field covering pressing issues affecting global health care today.

The four forums were led by experts across our faculty, affiliates (Cleveland Clinic, MetroHealth System, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center and the Cleveland VA Medical Center) and national and community health partners. Each consisted of a health care topic discussion with a moderator and a panel of experts, and a chat room for the audience to submit questions. 

School of Medicine students hosted a fifth forum featuring future clinicians and scientists in training, describing their experiences with interprofessional education, what health care means to them, and their vision for the future. 

Medical and community health care professionals and groups, government officials, faculty, staff, students and the general public were invited to watch the forums. 

Each discussion lasted one hour, including a 40- to 45-minute panel discussion and a 15- to 20-minute question and answer session.

Watch recordings of the forums on the School of Medicine YouTube channel

Forum I: COVID-19 Collaboration: Shared Hospital and Public Health Efforts to Care for Greater Cleveland

Held Tuesday, Sept. 22, at 9 a.m.

Learn about the discovery and innovation around COVID-19 in Cleveland, including how our medical centers—Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 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 our academic centers pivoted towards these efforts, and specific examples of how COVID-19 research has led to breakthroughs.

Moderator: Brian Lane, MSHSM, FACHE, FHIMSS, CPHIMS, CSCS, President & CEO, The Center for Health Affairs / CHAMPS HEALTHCARE


  • Terry Allan, MPH, Health Commissioner, Cuyahoga County Board of Health
  • Sam Brown, Vice President of System Operations and Logistics, University Hospitals
  • Alice Kim, MD, Infectious Diseases, Medical Operations, Cleveland Clinic
  • Todd Smith, MD,  Deputy Chief of Staff, VA Northeast Ohio Healthcare System
  • Brook Watts, MD, Vice President and Chief Quality Officer, MetroHealth System

Watch a recording of Forum I here.

Forum II: The Public Return on Investment: Federal Support for Medical Research 

Held Tuesday, Sept. 22, at 3 p.m.

The expertise, relationships, and funding it takes to move medical research and discovery forward, and Northeast Ohio's accomplishments in this area. 

Moderator: Stan Gerson, MD, Interim Dean, School of Medicine; Director, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center; Director, National Center for Regenerative Medicine


  • Robert Bonomo, MD, Chief of the Medical Service, Cleveland VA Medical Center; and Professor of Medicine, Pharmacology, Molecular Biology and Microbiology, Biochemistry, Proteomics, and Bioinformatics, CWRU School of Medicine.
  • Serpil Erzurum, MD, Chair, Lerner Research Institute, The Alfred Lerner Memorial Chair in Innovative Biomedical Research, Cleveland Clinic
  • Mukesh Jain, MD, Chief Academic Officer, University Hospitals, Professor, Department of Physiology and Biophysics, School of Medicine; and Member, Hematopoietic and Immune Cancer Biology Program, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Jonathan Karn, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology, School of Medicine and Director, Case Center for AIDS Research
  • Grace A McComsey, MD, FIDSA, Vice President of Research, Associate Chief Scientific Officer, University Hospitals Health System, Director, UH Clinical Research Center

Watch a recording of Forum II here.

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

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

Explore the challenges and efforts to secure public health for underserved populations under the stress of COVID-19, and how the medical community in Cleveland is tackling health care racial disparities as an example.

Moderator: Heidi Gullett, MD, MPH, associate director, Center for Community Health Integration, School of Medicine


  • Greg Brown, MS, Executive Director, PolicyBridge; Professor, Levin College of Urban Affairs, Cleveland State University
  • Delores Collins, AS, Founder and Chair, The Greater Cleveland Community Health Workers Association
  • Julie Gerberding, MD, MPH, Executive Vice President and Chief Patient Officer for Merck, Former Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 
  • Martha Halko, MS, RD, LD, Deputy Director, Prevention and Wellness, Cuyahoga County Board of Health
  • Andrea Szabo, CWRU fourth-year medical student

Watch a recording of Forum III here.

Forum IV: Why Biotech Advances Matter Now More Than Ever

Held Thursday, Sept. 24, at 2 p.m.

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 we will be ready for the next crisis.

Moderator: Mark Chance, PhD, Vice Dean for Research, School of Medicine, CWRU 


  • Timothy Chan, MD, Director of Center for Immunotherapy and Precision Immuno-Oncology, Cleveland Clinic
  • Agata Exner, PhD, Professor of Radiology, Case Western Reserve University
  • Robert Kirsch, PhD, Chairman, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Case Western Reserve University 
  • Harvey Lodish, PhD, Founding Member, Whitehead Institute, Professor of Biology and Bioengineering, MIT

Watch a recording of Forum IV here.

Forum V: School of Medicine Student Forum—
What is Healthcare?

This forum features four discussions featuring CWRU's future clinicians and scientists in training, highlighting their definition of healthcare: Learning, Discovery, Service to Others, and Healing. Students learn together through challenging programs, work to translate the science of new discoveries, and use their new knowledge to advocate for what is right and good and valuable for a healthy life. 

Moderators: Lia Logio, MD, Vice Dean, Medical Education, and Marvin Nieman, PhD, Interim Associate Dean Graduate Education Office


Faculty Facilitator: Amy Wilson-Delfosse, PhD, Associate Dean for Curriculum 
Kevin Allan: Medical Scientist Training Program, Class of 2023 
Edward (Tres) Barksdale: University Program, Class of 2022
Dustin DeMeo: University Program, Class of 2023
Katherine Feng: Physician Assistant Program, Class of 2021

Faculty Facilitator: Derek Abbott, PhD, Program Director Medical Scientist Training Program
Uriel Kim: Medical Scientist Training Program, Class of 2022
Dan Leonard: Medical Scientist Training Program/College Program, Class of 2022Morgan McGrath: Medical Scientist Training Program, Class of 2024
Otis Pinkard: Medical Scientist Training Program, Class of 2024

Faculty Facilitators: Cindy Lord, MHS, PA-C, Program Director and Associate Professor Physician Assistant Program; and Praba Rajendram, MD, Associate Director Interprofessional Education
Scott Anjewierden: College Program, Class of 2021
Morgan Green: Physician Assistant Program, Class of 2020
Caroline Schuerger: Molecular Medicine PhD Program, Class of 2023

Faculty Facilitator: Marvin Natowicz, MD, PhD, Professor of Pathology
Kate Lowe: College Program, Class of 2024
James Sullivan: College Program, Class of 2024
Nikki Winchester: College Program, Class of 2024

Watch a recording of Forum V here.