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3 headshots from web conferences
Cohen, Fischer and Pettifor addressing UNC Board of Governors via web conferencing meeting


Three Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases representatives joined the May 21 UNC Board of Trustees meeting to talk about COVID-19 and the university’s response to the pandemic.

Institute Director Myron Cohen, MD, talked about how so many of our researchers have pivoted their work to COVID, working on the development of vaccine and prevention treatments.

Billy Fischer, MD, a critical care and pulmonary diseases specialist, talked about COVID patient treatment at UNC Health.

Epidemiologist Audrey Pettifor, PhD, talked about how a team of researchers is studying how best to safely bring researchers back to campus, hoping their findings can inform future decisions for all UNC campuses and other universities.

Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz asked Cohen how the Institute has created its remarkable culture of collaboration.

“Longevity,” Cohen told him. “People see themselves as a community of investigators because they have build mutual trust over the years, so they work together very efficiently…it requires retention of our faculty, so they can grow their careers.”

Fischer said the level of collaboration among his peers is “unprecedented. It starts with leadership, and Mike [Cohen] deserves a lot of credit for that. Mike and Joe [Eron} created platforms that allow people from different disciplines to work together, and they’ve developed a pipeline of talent.”

Trustee Chuck Duckett of Winston-Salem noted that he had recovered from a moderate case of COVID and asked about follow-up studies. He added, “I don’t think I’ve ever been more proud of what Carolina is capable of doing.”

Watch the Board of Governors presentation below, beginning at 30:46 through 1:10:30.