The online session, which begins at 1pm, is billed by WPP Health as a “rare opportunity to listen and interact with the scientists leading the world’s response to COVID-19”.
The session will be co-hosted by Jimmy Whitworth, professor of international public health at LSHTM and member of the Scientific Advisory Committee for the World Health Organization’s R&D Blueprint for Action to Prevent Epidemics, together with Heidi Larson, professor of anthropology, risk and decision science at LSHTM.
Whitworth previously led Medical Research Council programme initiatives on AIDS in Uganda and on onchocerciasis in Sierra Leone, while Larson is involved in the response to COVID-19 from a social science perspective – in particular, monitoring rumours and myths related to the outbreak.
LSHTM’s primary audiences are academics, scientists and policy makers around the world.
However, the live Q&A represents a drive by the institution to give a wider audience access to its experts, including the media and influencers in the health sector, as well as WPP staff and clients.
Katie Steels, head of comms and engagement at LSHTM, said: “Giving a global audience the opportunity to interact with such senior scientists in real time offers value to communities around the world – especially during an outbreak which is evolving so rapidly day by day.”
Steels said that during the Ebola outbreak in West Africa five years ago, LSHTM focused much of its time on helping health and science media tackle myths and misinformation, as well as leading calls for changes in how the epidemic was being tackled.
She added: “While we’re continuing with this strategy during this coronavirus outbreak, the live broadcasts have enabled us to extend our activity to offer direct access to our experts.”
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