On December 4th, the Schar School Biodefense Program, Schar Alumni Chapter, and Dean Mark Rozell hosted an evening of connecting with alumni, academics, practitioners, and students. Preventing Pandemics and Bioterrorism: Past, Present, and Future featuring Robert Kadlec, M.D., Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) Health & Human Services, Office of the Secretary.
This special event was in celebration of the 15th anniversary of the George Mason University Biodefense Program at the Schar School of Policy and Government. This was an exciting opportunity to hear from Dr. Kadlec about lessons learned for pandemic preparedness since the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic, plans for implementing the new National Biodefense Strategy, and the importance of education for the future of biodefense.
“Biology makes our world a better, safer place, but it could also end the world,” he said. “The key is understanding the opportunities, risks, and considerations for what we need to do in security.” For students in the field, “the bio-economy is an extraordinary opportunity,” he said. “What Greg Koblentz [director of the Schar School biodefense program] has done is an incredible effort. I understand he has 300 graduates, 60-plus students this year—that’s a testimony not only to Greg and his counterparts on the faculty but also to the interest and recognition of how important a topic this is.”