Pandemic and the Health of Nations

We are all epidemiologists now. We have no choice. The new coronavirus (COVID-19) that began in central China in November of 2019 and that moved inexorably across our planet became such a serious threat to everyone that unprecedented policies have gone into effect. As Nobel Laureate Joshua Lederberg noted many years ago, “The microbe that felled one child in a distant continent yesterday can reach yours today, and seed a global pandemic tomorrow. How can we procrastinate any further, or have any reservations, about a common cause—one that responds to every outbreak of disease as a challenge to all of us.” In other words, there are no libertarians in a pandemic. In crises of this magnitude, necessity (or panicked desperation) becomes the mother of coordinated invention. With COVID-19 as our guiding case study for the academic year, this Endeavor program focuses on U.S. health policy in the fall semester and on global public policy in the spring semester.

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  • Coursework Overview

    The coursework for this Endeavor community involves two one-unit courses, one in the fall semester and one in the spring semester, both taught by Dr. Mayes.

    Fall 2020 Semester Spring 2021 Semester
    HCS 100: Introduction to Healthcare Studies (1 unit) FYS 100: Global Studies and Public Policy (1 unit)

    HCS 100 is a course requirement towards the major/minor in Healthcare Studies, as well as is recommended for students who are interested in pre-health fields.

    FYS 100 satisfies a general education requirement; students are required to take one first-year seminar (FYS) during each of their first two semesters at Richmond.

  • Specific Course Information

    HCS 100: Introduction to Healthcare Studies

    HCS 100 is designed to provide an introductory overview of: (1) how health care is financed, organized, and delivered; (2) public health, health administration, and bioethics; and (3) major health policy areas and issues from epidemiology to health insurance, Medicare & Medicaid, geriatrics, pediatrics, doctors, nurses, hospitals, mental health, women’s health, global health, obesity, nutrition, pharmaceuticals, death and more. In drawing from a variety of perspectives, the course surveys the key stakeholders: those who pay for, provide and receive care. No particular disciplinary background is assumed, nor is any special familiarity with the field of health care required.

    FYS 100: Global Studies and Public Policy

    Following the itinerary of Semester at Sea around the world from Japan to China, Vietnam, Singapore, India, South Africa, Brazil, Morocco and Spain, this First Year Seminar examines how public problems are defined, how different policy solutions are crafted, and the ways in which we judge their effec­tiveness. As the art of political decision-making, public policy reflects the reality that: (1) penalties and incentives (“sticks and carrots”) are what primarily drive much of modern life; (2) information is key to structuring effective penalties and incentives; and that (3) thinking analytically and empirically, knowing what to measure and how to measure it, is as important as thinking normatively. This course uses all of the locations that we visit “in class” to illustrate the different ways that different countries craft public policies, why they do so, and what the tradeoffs and consequences are.

  • Faculty Information

    Dr. Rick Mayes is a professor of public policy in the University of Richmond’s department of political science, and co-chair of the Healthcare Studies program.

  • Roadmap Short Course Information

    As part of the Endeavor program, you will particiapte in the popular Roadmap to Success pre-orientation program, where you will take a short course led by Dr. Mayes.

    Short Course Description: Pandemic: Rx for Survival

    This short course examines what makes us sick, what keeps us healthy, and what it would take to give good health the upper hand globally. Over the past 100 years, major breakthroughs in public health have enabled humans to live much longer, healthier and more productive lives. Clean drinking water, modern sanitation and good nutrition—along with the development of highly effective vaccines and antibiotics—have increased average life expectancy by an unprecedented 35-40 years for most of us. Unfortunately, the benefits of public health have yet to be extended to many of the poorest nations in the developing world. And, over the past two decades, infectious diseases that had nearly been conquered, such as tuberculosis and measles, have come surging back, while devastating new diseases such as AIDS, SARS, MERS and especially this year’s coronavirus COVID-19 have emerged and threatened the most basic parts of our daily existence. With globalization and increased international travel, humans are more vulnerable now than ever before to outbreaks from distant parts of the world. Ultimately, as we have learned so intensely and painfully this year, everyone’s health can be profoundly impacted by the health of any one person on our planet.