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Social Work Students Organize 'COVID Decoded' Webinar to Focus on the Impact of COVID from a Interdisciplinary Perspective

by Clare LaBlance

On August 29th, 2020, a student organizing committee hosted a students-for-students ‘COVID-Decoded’ webinar. Anna Brende (lead organizer) and Jessica Leuthauser (logistics) (MSW ‘20) were two of the thirteen student members of this committee. The committee selected the topics, invited speakers, created the website, marketed, hosted and evaluated the webinar. Dr. John Morley, Dr. Shannon Cooper-Sadlo, Dr. Marla Berg-Weger, volunteers from the Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Programs and five other experts also assisted in making this event a success. 

Designed by students for students, the conference went in depth with different topics, such as COVID-19’s impact on the economy, mental health, social work, education, the microbiology of the virus, and the current status of treatments and vaccine development. 

Watch the webinar

“Organized by students for students, the ‘COVID-Decoded’ webinar was an excellent event that included speakers from multiple disciplines addressing a range of COVID-related issues,” Dr. Marla Berg-Weger said.

“The interprofessional student organizing committee is to be commended for the superb job they did and their commitment to professional development of the next generation of health providers.”

 This live webinar included eight speakers from multiple disciplines and was attended by 251 students from 43 different universities in every region of the United States as well as students from seven other countries, and has been watched by almost 400 viewers. In addition to the students, other attendees included hospital staff, high school students and teachers. By designing a conference that focused on the impact of COVID-19 from an interdisciplinary perspective, it prepared a wider range of professions for the future of COVID and even after. 

“We are incredibly humbled by the positive response we have had from the COVID: Decoded conference. The feedback we received made it clear that people around the U.S. - and the world - are starved for in depth, unbiased education on the virus,” Anna Brende said. “People want to be educated, and it is the responsibility of educators, scientists and boots-on-the-ground professionals to make this happen.”

About the College for Public Health and Social Justice

The Saint Louis University College for Public Health and Social Justice is the only academic unit of its kind, studying social, environmental and physical influences that together determine the health and well-being of people and communities. It also is the only accredited school or college of public health among nearly 250 Catholic institutions of higher education in the United States.

Guided by a mission of social justice and focus on finding innovative and collaborative solutions for complex health problems, the College offers nationally recognized programs in public health, social work, health administration, applied behavior analysis, and criminology and criminal justice.