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A Four-Part Series on COVID-19,
Our Recovery, and Where We Go From Here
A symposium bringing together leaders and experts from government, business, and health care to examine the global response to COVID-19 and the future of pandemic planning.

The Pandemic Puzzle

Lessons from COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused millions of deaths, threatened the health of billions, and upended every aspect of society. Its impact will reverberate for decades to come, but COVID-19 won’t be the last global health threat of its kind. What we do next to prepare is critical. Through this ambitious conference series, Stanford Medicine and Stanford Graduate School of Business convened leading experts—across government, business, and health care—to discuss the global pandemic response, lessons for our recovery, and how we can build resilience to current and future health threats.

Featured Speakers

4-Part Virtual Symposium Series

Responding to a Global Pandemic

Friday, September 17, 2021
8:30am - 12:00pm PT

Responding to an existential health threat demands unprecedented coordination – at all levels of government, across health care, and numerous sectors of the economy. At this virtual kickoff event, stakeholders from these groups explore the individual and intersecting roles of government and business during a pandemic. Through presentations, panels, and fireside chats, leaders at the helm of the pandemic response debate the effectiveness of various response strategies to COVID-19 and lessons for the future.

Building Toward Health Equity and an Inclusive Recovery

Wednesday, October 13, 2021
8:30am - 11:45am PT

Black and Latinx Americans are three times as likely to become infected with COVID-19 and twice as likely to die from it as White Americans. It is a damning statistic – one that underscores the stark and life-threatening inequities that minority groups and vulnerable populations continue to endure not only in the U.S. but globally. This half-day session explores how future pandemic responses must address socioeconomic and health disparities to prevent the same tragic outcomes witnessed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Critically, the conversation also focuses on developing solutions upstream to achieve a healthier, more equitable, and just society.

Tracking and Mitigating a 21st Century Pandemic

Thursday, October 28, 2021
10:30am - 1:55pm PT

H1N1. MERS. Ebola. SARS-CoV-2. Infectious disease outbreaks have struck with alarming frequency throughout the start of the 21st Century – and will continue to do so. As we contend with COVID-19, how can we prepare for, and possibly prevent, the next pandemic? This session convenes leading epidemiologists, technologists, public health advocates, and government leaders to discuss how to improve and modernize critical elements of any global response – including public health interventions, data systems, surveillance technologies, supply chains, and strategic stockpiles – to blunt the impact of emerging infectious diseases.

Agile Discovery and Innovation: Advancing Tomorrow’s Vaccines, Treatments, and Cures

Friday, November 19, 2021
8:30am - 10:30am PT

COVID-19 vaccines will forever stand as a milestone scientific achievement. The speed of their development and astonishing efficacy have opened eyes and doors that will shape the future of biomedicine. The final session of this symposium series explores how to build on this watershed moment – from bold R&D investment to regulatory science – to enable agile medicine, advance therapeutics, and leverage the full potential of cutting-edge platforms deployed during the pandemic and those yet to be discovered.

Backstage Pass Videos

Session 1

Backstage Pass: Finding the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel

Session 2

Backstage Pass: Ensuring we have an inclusive recovery from COVID-19

Session 3

Backstage Pass: How do we prepare for future pandemics?

Session 4

Backstage Pass: How do we build on the innovation from COVID-19?

Session 1

Vaccines’ historic success undermined by public health failures

Leaders and experts from government, academia, health care and business critiqued the U.S. and global response to the pandemic and assessed its lasting impact on the first day of “The Pandemic Puzzle: Lessons from COVID-19.”


Session 2

With health equity, top-down answers won’t work, speakers say

Magnus Nunez

In the second installment of “The Pandemic Puzzle: Lessons from COVID-19,” leaders and experts from government, academia, health care and business said the road to health equity begins and ends in the underserved communities.


Session 2

Pandemic Puzzle: Health disparities and equitable recovery

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Last week, the second event of the Pandemic Puzzle, a virtual symposium series that examines how the United States — and the world — responded to the COVID-19 pandemic, hosted experts who identified ways to better prepare for the next global disease crisis.


Session 3

Pandemic shows need to overhaul public health system, experts say

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In the third installment of “The Pandemic Puzzle: Lessons from COVID-19,” leaders and experts in government, academia, health care and business said the U.S. government must step up to build and coordinate a true, robust public health system.


Session 4

Pandemic sparked key innovations, experts say


In the final installment of “The Pandemic Puzzle: Lessons from COVID-19,” leaders in government, academia, health care and business said biomedical and digital health advances of the
last few years will help combat future health crises.


A Message from Our Deans

“The scale of COVID-19 and its challenges is unlike anything we’ve endured in our lifetimes. It is critically important that we learn from this experience to bring the pandemic under control and ensure we are ready for future threats.”
Lloyd B. Minor, MD
Carl and Elizabeth Naumann Dean of the Stanford School of Medicine
"The pandemic affected virtually every sector of the economy. As the world continues to deal with this historic crisis, we must apply what we've learned to chart a better future for business and society."

Dean Jonathan Levin
Jonathan Levin, PhD
Philip H. Knight Professor and Dean of Stanford Graduate School of Business