Health Care

COVID-19 Testing: The Hope and the Hype

May 20, 2020  • Health Innovators Fellowship & Health, Medicine & Society Program

The roadmap to recovery from the pandemic relies heavily on testing—for both the presence of COVID-19 and the antibodies that might make people immune. But critical questions remain. When will accurate tests be available and to whom? How will we use these tests, and what are their limits? How we move forward will be instrumental in setting the pace for both protecting the public’s health and rebuilding the country’s economy.  This process will also reveal our values as a society—whether we will exacerbate or help address health system inequities; whether we will stigmatize some or unite everyone through a common goal. Watch Aspen Health Innovators Shamiram R. Feinglass, MD, MPH, and SreyRam Kuy, MD, who are on the frontlines of test development and strategy, patient care, and research, as they discuss these issues with The New York Times’ Margot Sanger-Katz and take audience questions.

This session is part of the COVID-19: Health Care at an Inflection Point webinar series, co-produced by the Aspen Institute’s Health Innovators Fellowship and Health, Medicine & Society Program.

Shamiram R. Feinglass, MD, MPH, is the chief medical officer and vice president, global medical affairs and policy at Danaher Corporation. Driving inclusion and diversity in every environment in which she works or leads, Dr. Feinglass leads Global Medical, Government, Reimbursement, and Clinical Affairs for Life Sciences and Diagnostics and is responsible for leading the global pandemic response plan across Danaher. Often working with global leaders and regulators, Dr. Feinglass was formerly the vice president for global medical and regulatory affairs at Zimmer, Inc., has served as a medical officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, in the Coverage and Analysis Group, and as a commander with the U.S. Public Health Service. She has also been clinical faculty at several health sciences universities, and her work has been widely published. A graduate of Smith College, Dr. Feinglass earned her MD and MPH from the Emory Schools of Medicine and Public Health. She completed an internal medicine residency at Oregon Health Sciences University, a preventive medicine residency at Emory School of Medicine, and the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program at the University of Washington. She is board certified in preventive medicine. A sought-after speaker and expert in international medical device and diagnostics policy, Dr. Feinglass has served on a variety of panels for the FDA, FasterCures, The Brookings Institute, Pew Charitable Trusts, Oxford University, and international registry groups. A mother of two, she is currently a BMX state champion and was a member of the USA BMX World Championship Team. Dr. Feinglass is a Fellow of the third class of the Health Innovators Fellowship and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

SreyRam Kuy, MD, MHS, is a practicing general surgeon and the deputy chief medical officer for quality and safety of a network of VA medical centers and facilities. SreyRam previously served as special advisor to the Secretary of the VA and was the first woman appointed deputy under secretary for community care, overseeing a $14.5 billion budget and 7,300 staff. Before that, SreyRam served as chief medical officer for Louisiana Medicaid, a $10.7 billion system covering 1.6 million children, pregnant women, and disabled and indigent patients. In this role, she instituted quality performance metrics and payment reforms and led initiatives tackling the opioid crisis, resulting in a 40% reduction in new opioid prescriptions. SreyRam is the recipient of the American College of Surgeons Inspiring Woman in Surgery Award, President George H.W. Bush’s Points of Lights Award, Oregon Health Sciences University Early Career Achievement Award, L’Oréal Paris Women of Worth, and Business Report’s 40 Under 40 and was named by Modern Healthcare as one of ten Minority Healthcare Executives to Watch. She was a Presidential Leadership Scholar through a bipartisan leadership program taught by Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George H. W. Bush; a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar; a Kaiser Family Foundation Health Policy Scholar in the US Senate; an Eisenhower Fellow; and an American College of Surgeons Health Policy Scholar. SreyRam received her MD from Oregon Health Sciences University and her master’s degree from Yale. She is the author of 50 Studies Every Surgeon Should Know and is published widely on health policy, quality, and safety in NEJM, NEJM Catalyst, JAMA Open, and JAMA Surgery. SreyRam has also written for the Washington Post, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, and Huffington Post about her experiences as a child survivor of genocide and as the first female Cambodian refugee to work as a surgeon in the US. SreyRam is a Fellow of the fifth class of the Health Innovators Fellowship and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.

Margot Sanger-Katz is a domestic correspondent for The New York Times, where she writes about health care for The Upshot, the Times site about politics, economics, and everyday life. She is also a frequent panelist on Kaiser Health News’s podcast, “What The Health?” Before joining the Times, she was a reporter at National Journal and The Concord Monitor and an editor at Legal Affairs and the Yale Alumni Magazine. In 2014, Sanger-Katz completed a Knight-Bagehot Fellowship in Economics and Business Journalism at Columbia University.

More About This Series

Produced by the Aspen Institute’s Health Innovators Fellowship
Health, Medicine and Society Program

While the COVID-19 pandemic exposes longstanding challenges in the U.S. health care system, it also offers an opportunity to rethink current approaches and consider new ideas for building a healthier nation.

COVID-19: Health Care at an Inflection Point, a series co-produced by the Aspen Institute’s Health Innovators Fellowship and Health, Medicine & Society Program, will explore these challenges and opportunities. Each session, moderated by a well-known journalist, will highlight a specific issue that the pandemic has surfaced and ask the question, How can we use this pivotal moment to address deep-seated health care problems? Aspen Institute Health Innovators Fellows will describe their experiences on the ground and propose models of change. In a dark time, their forward-looking ideas provide reason for hope.

Other topics in this series:

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