The worst viral outbreak in more than a century has exposed critical weaknesses in New York’s public health defenses. Learning the lessons of this crisis – and fortifying the state against the next infectious disease – should be a top priority for state leaders. In this Empire Center forum, three experienced public health professionals will examine how the pandemic unfolded, what lessons can be drawn and what changes should be made going forward.


  • Moderator: Bill Hammond, senior fellow for health policy, Empire Center
  • Guthrie Birkhead, M.D., M.P.H., emeritus professor, University at Albany School of Public Health, former deputy commissioner of public health, New York State Department of Health
  • Isaac Weisfuse, M.D., M.P.H., former deputy commissioner, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, adjunct professor, Cornell University Public Health
  • A.K. Vaidian, M.D., M.P.H., commissioner, Dutchess County Department of Behavioral and Community Health

About the Author

Bill Hammond

As the Empire Center’s senior fellow for health policy, Bill Hammond tracks fast-moving developments in New York’s massive health care industry, with a focus on how decisions made in Albany and Washington affect the well-being of patients, providers, taxpayers and the state’s economy.

Read more by Bill Hammond

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