Dr. Rochelle Walensky to give the 2023 Roslien Distinguished Lecture at Luther College Nov. 1
DECORAH, IOWA—Dr. Rochelle Walensky, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), will give the 2023 Dr. David J. Roslien Distinguished Lecture at Luther College. Dr. Michael Osterholm, a 1975 Luther graduate and epidemiologist, will join Walensky Nov. 1 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in the Center for Faith and Life’s Main Hall. The event is free and open to the public.
Walenksy was appointed as director of the CDC in January 2021 by President Joe Biden and served in the position until June 2023. During the event, “Reflections on a Pandemic: A Fireside Chat with Dr. Rochelle Walensky,” Walensky will explore with Osterholm the intersection of ideology and science, as well as policies and practices during the pandemic. The event is hosted by The Center for Ethics and Public Engagement (The CEPE) at Luther.
Walensky is an internationally recognized infectious disease clinician, with her research focused on how to screen, treat and prevent HIV/AIDS. She also served as a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School from 2012 to 2021.
In 2017, Walensky was named chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital and served in the position until 2021. During her tenure as chief, she worked on the frontlines in Massachusetts at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic before being named CDC director. She currently serves on the board of directors at Mass General Brigham.
Osterholm, who published Deadliest Enemy: Our War against Killer Germs, was named to Biden’s COVID-19 Advisory Board in November 2020 and is the McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair in Public Health at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities, where as part of his work at the university serves as the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. He also serves on the Luther College Board of Regents.
The Dr. David J. Roslien Distinguished Lecture in Science and Leadership brings internationally recognized guests who have impacted society through science or leadership to Luther. Previous guest speakers include Ted Koppel, former host of ABC’s “Nightline,” and former NASA director James Hansen, who helped bring climate change into public discourse when he testified before Congress about it in 1988. The lecture is named for Roslien, who served in a number of roles during his career at Luther, including as a professor of biology, a vice president and interim president.
“It’s quite an honor to host Dr. Walensky for this year’s David J. Roslien Distinguished Lecture. Lots of students, staff and faculty have shared their deep interest with me,” said Andy Hageman, director of The CEPE and a professor of English. “They and I feel it’s a vital time to explore the ethical questions of today, where medicine, science and public policy meet.”
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