COVID-19 Webinar Series

The COVID-19 Webinar Series was launched in March 2020 to provide health care professionals and policymakers with comprehensive insights into the status of our pandemic response and to present solution-focused conversations about remaining gaps in the system that must be addressed moving forward. Over the course of 22 webinars, panelists presented policy options to address the following:

  • Mobilizing a public health response and disease surveillance infrastructure
  • Bolstering health system capacity and supporting frontline providers
  • Addressing racial disparities and advancing equity
  • Supporting access to health care and insurance coverage
  • Developing vaccines and treatments
  • Special topics, including supporting nursing home residents, veterans, older adults, and mental health

Session 20 – Tensions, Tradeoffs, and Takeaways: What’s at Stake for America 100 Days into the Pandemic and Where We Go From Here

Wednesday, June 24, 2020 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Just over 100 days have passed since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared a national emergency on March 13, 2020. The pandemic has led to sweeping ramifications throughout the American economy and society as a whole. During this interactive discussion, three preeminent health policy leaders will examine the lessons learned three months into the crisis and lay out considerations for decision-makers as they work to stem the tide of the pandemic and build a more resilient health care system.


Session 19 – Advancing Mental Health During the Pandemic and Beyond

Friday, June 19, 2020 | 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the mental health and well-being of many Americans. Studies have shown that nearly half of Americans expressed that they are feeling a decline in their mental health since the novel Coronavirus arrived in the U.S. Experts believe that the resulting economic recession, increased isolation, and decreased access to physical or mental health care as a result of COVID-19 will have long-term implications for mental health.
During this webinar, panelists addressed the following learning goals:
  • The short- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on mental health and well being;
  • Evidence-based interventions and promising technology to reach people where they are and improve outcomes; and
  • Sustainable solutions to address the mental health impact of COVID-19 and advance access to behavioral health services beyond the pandemic

Session 18 – Health Inequities: Addressing the Disease Burden in Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Communities

Tuesday, June 16, 2020 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

In the United States, the novel coronavirus has disproportionately impacted Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities. Existing data shows that people in these communities are more likely to contract COVID-19 and are at higher risk of being hospitalized or dying from the disease. For example, while Black people make up about 13 percent of the U.S. population, they account for 24 percent of COVID-19 deaths where race is known (COVID-19 Tracking Project). Disparities also exist among Latinx, American Indian, Alaskan Native, and Pacific Islander populations. These disparities can be linked to a number of complex and interrelated issues, including limited access to medical services, socioeconomic disadvantages, and the effects of structural inequities and discrimination.
During this webinar, speakers will examine the following learning goals:
  • The disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities in the U.S.;
  • The drivers of these disparities; and
  • Short- and long-term policy options to advance equity and improve COVID-19 outcomes

Session 17 – The Role of Medicaid

Wednesday, June 3, 2020 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

The role of Medicaid has been amplified during the COVID-19 pandemic. Policymakers have used the program to help people access COVID-19 tests and increased Medicaid funding to states to support their response to the pandemic. Regulators have also rolled out guidance to support access to care for patients in light of COVID-19 and related social distancing measures, including expanding the use of telemedicine. The economic effects of COVID-19, which has left millions of people in the United States unemployed and shuttered many businesses, will put additional pressure on state Medicaid programs. This webinar explained the role of Medicaid in the COVID-19 pandemic. Panelists discussed financing challenges of the Medicaid program—the nation’s health care safety net—as more people become eligible for Medicaid coverage and demand for health services shifts.

Session 16 – The Changing Landscape of Primary Care

Wednesday, May 20, 2020 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Primary care providers and other ambulatory care services have played a key role in the COVID-19 pandemic by treating patients at home to ease the burden on hospitals. But the pandemic has disrupted access to these providers. While many are using telehealth to reach patients, visits to outpatient care providers have fallen dramatically. This reduction has created new financial challenges for providers and disrupted care for patients. During this webinar, panelists discussed how ambulatory care providers have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and outlined policy levers to bolster our nation’s primary care infrastructure.

Session 15 – The Pharmaceutical Supply Chain

Friday, May 15, 2020 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

The COVID-19 pandemic sparked national concern about vulnerabilities in the drug supply chain. Many drugs procured in the United States are manufactured abroad. The pandemic disrupted the production of key pharmaceutical ingredients around the world, sparking fear about resulting shortages of key medicines. The system also struggled to keep pace with rising demand for drugs to treat patients with COVID-19. During this webinar, panelists will explore the impact of the pandemic on different facets of the drug supply chain and discuss policy options to strengthen the system.

Session 14 – Lessons from Home and Abroad: Implementing a Contact Tracing Strategy

Wednesday, May 13, 2020 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

As a number of states begin to lift stay-at-home orders, questions remain around strategies to curb the continued spread of COVID-19. Public health officials are ramping up efforts to monitor and contain new cases through contact tracing, a disease control method used to identify and notify individuals who have been exposed to the virus. The strategy is a key component of other nations’ efforts to safely ease social distancing measures. During this webinar, panelists discussed case studies from abroad and best practices as policymakers look to implement a contact tracing strategy in the United States.

Session 13 – Nursing Home Care

Friday, May 8, 2020 | 12:00 p.m. – 12:45 p.m.

Residents of nursing homes have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. The nature of this coronavirus—which is particularly harmful to older adults and people with multiple chronic conditions—has left residents vulnerable. Additionally, the pandemic has exacerbated existing challenges in our fragmented long-term care system, which is financed, regulated, and administered by states, the federal government, and private care facilities. During this webinar, panelists discussed policy options to support high quality care for nursing home residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Session 12 – From Data to Decisions: Mobilizing a Surveillance Infrastructure

Friday, April 24, 2020 | 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

As policymakers weigh options to ease social distancing measures, a robust surveillance infrastructure is critical to prevent another surge in cases. This system will require close collaboration between the federal government, states, localities, and many facets of the health care system. During this webinar, panelists explored options policymakers can pursue to strengthen our surveillance infrastructure as we move from mitigation to containment of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Session 11 – Rural Health System Response

Wednesday, April 22, 2020 | 12:00 p.m. – 12:45 p.m.

About one in five Americans (~60 million) live in rural areas, and research shows that these populations are more likely to experience poor health outcomes and socioeconomic disadvantages than their urban counterparts. As the COVID-19 pandemic spreads, those issues have only heightened, making it all the more challenging for rural health care entities to care for rural residents. In this webinar, panelists discussed the unique challenges that face rural health systems and the strategies they are employing during the emergency response. They also highlighted current or future legislative and administrative policy solutions.

Session 10 – The Science and Policy of Vaccine Development

Friday, April 17, 2020 | 12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.

A safe and effective vaccine is the most promising tool to combat this pandemic. Governments and the private sector are collaborating in unprecedented ways to speed the development of a COVID-19 vaccine. Today, there are dozens of candidates in development that must undergo rigorous evaluation before they become widely available. During this webinar, experts discussed steps necessary to bring vaccines from the lab to the front lines.

Session 9 – Social Isolation and Loneliness

Tuesday, April 14, 2020 | 2:00 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.

While essential to combating the COVID-19 pandemic, stay-at-home and other social distancing policies can have severe physical and mental health implications. This issue is especially true for the 13.8 million adults over the age of 65 living on their own. During this webinar, panelists discussed the consequences of social isolation, as well as potential interventions that government leaders, providers, and communities can implement.

Special Issue – Perspectives from the Veterans Health Administration

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Serving over 9 million veterans across more than 1,200 health facilities, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) is the largest integrated health system in the United States. During this pre-recorded interview, we spoke with Dr. Richard A. Stone, the VHA’s Executive in Charge. He explained the coronavirus response efforts underway at the Department of Veterans Affairs to meet the needs of veterans and fulfill the department’s “Fourth Mission” to support other health systems responding to this crisis.

Session 8 – Advancing Prevention and Treatment: A Conversation with Dr. Mark McClellan

Monday, April 6, 2020 | 12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.

With stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines in effect throughout most of the country, policymakers and public health professionals are working to identify effective approaches to combat COVID-19. During this webinar, Dr. Mark McClellan, former FDA Commissioner and current director of the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy, will offer strategies to expedite the development and evaluation of medical products to track, treat, and prevent the novel coronavirus.

Session 7 – From Data to Decisions: Evaluating State Capacity

Friday, April 3, 2020 | 12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.

The rapid spread of the novel coronavirus has led to a growing number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and concerns about health system capacity. Models and projections can be useful tools to help policymakers at the state and local levels make evidence-based decisions to slow the spread of the virus and bolster health system capacity. During this webinar, panelists will highlight the role of modeling in helping states prepare and respond to COVID-19.

Special Issue – From Data to Decisions: The Role of COVID-19 Projections

Thursday, April 2, 2020

As the nation responds to the COVID-19 outbreak, leaders are using modeling and projections to make evidence-based decisions about balancing population safety, health system capacity, and the economy. During this pre-recorded interview, we spoke with Dr. Rebecca Katz, who explored how decision-makers can use these tools to weigh policy tradeoffs. She discussed the range of existing models, as well as the key inputs and assumptions that drive projections.

Session 6 – Legislative and Regulatory Roundup

Friday, March 27, 2020 | 12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.

This week, Congress is set to pass the third major legislative package in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. This webinar offered a high-level analysis of the policies that Congress and the administration have pursued to date and what we can expect in the coming months.

Session 5 – Health System Capacity: Mobilizing the Supply Chain

Thursday, March 26, 2020 | 12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.

As the national COVID-19 incidence rate continues to rise, hospitals and providers brace for shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other critical medical supplies. During this webinar, Mike Alkire, the president of Premier–a company that sources supplies for hospitals and health systems–will provide a frontline perspective on the state of the medical supply chain.

Session 4 – Health System Capacity: Protecting Frontline Health Workers

Tuesday, March 24, 2020 | 12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.

This webinar explored challenges to protect health care workers at the frontline of the COVID-19 response. Our panelists highlighted innovative approaches to bolster health system capacity and protect providers, such as increasing the availability of telemedicine.

Session 3 – Leading through Crisis: Perspectives from Gov. Michael O. Leavitt

Friday, March 20, 2020 | 12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Michael O. Leavitt, former Governor of Utah and former Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, explored the levers available to policymakers at the local, state, and federal levels as they respond to the novel coronavirus.

Session 2 – At the Front Line: Public Health and Health System Challenges

Thursday, March 19, 2020 | 12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.

This webinar provided insight into the experience of health officials at the front lines of the COVID-19 response and explored steps policymakers can take to support these entities.

Session 1 – Flattening the Curve

Wednesday, March 18, 2020 | 12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Policymakers and leaders in the private sector are taking unprecedented steps to stem the spread of COVID-19 in the United States. During this webinar, Dr. Kathleen Winter, an assistant professor at the University of Kentucky College of Public Health, explained the epidemiology of the novel coronavirus and discussed evidence-based practices to slow the transmission.


The Alliance for Health Policy gratefully acknowledges the support of the following organizations who have helped make this series possible: