2019 Great Decisions Series to Focus on Global Health Issues

Film screening, panel on opioid crisis, and two lectures, all in February, make up annual lecture series

Great Decisions 2019WOOSTER, Ohio – The Great Decisions of Wayne County lecture series, an annual joint venture between The College of Wooster and the local Wooster community, will examine “Global Health Issues” as its 2019 topic via a film screening, a panel on the opioid crisis, and lectures by two experts, all during the month of February. Each event will take place at Gault Recital Hall inside Scheide Music Center (525 E. University St.).

“These are important issues, issues that will be of interest to students across many different disciplines, and to a wide range of people in the larger community. Many people are interested, and affected, by these larger health issues, but they don’t necessarily approach them from a global perspective,” said Tom Tierney, a longtime professor in the department of sociology and anthropology at Wooster and executive director of Great Decisions.

The 2019 series begins on Tuesday, Feb. 5, at 7:30 p.m., with the screening of “The Unseen Enemy,” a documentary directed and written by Janet Tobias that explores the global, political, economic, and public health conditions that may contribute to the next global pandemic. “The Unseen Enemy” takes a deep dive, through the eyes of doctors, disease detectives, and everyday men and women, as to why in the 21st century the world is experiencing a rash of diseases that were once only outbreaks but have now become full-blown epidemics.

On Thursday, Feb. 7, at 7:30 p.m., Nathan Wolfe, otherwise known as the “Indiana Jones of Virus Hunting,” will present “Before They Strike: Viral Forecasting for Pandemic Prevention.” Wolfe is the founder and CEO of Metabiota, a pioneering risk analytics company that improves the world’s resilience to epidemics, and founder of Global Viral, an independent non-profit research organization focusing on innovative and disruptive research in ecology, biodiversity, and public health. Named one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” in 2011 and a National Geographic “Emerging Explorer” in 2010, he has traveled the world conducting biomedical research with hopes of tracking, studying, and eradicating the next pandemic before it strikes.

A distinguished panel – Sanho Tree, Thomas Teodosio, and Nicole Labor – will tackle “The Opioid Crisis: Economic, Legal, and Clinical Perspectives” on Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 7:30 p.m. Tree is a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies and has been director of its drug policy project since 1998, having worked to reform both international and drug policies and to end the damage caused by the drug wars in Colombia, Bolivia, Mexico, Afghanistan, and the Philippines. Teodosio is a judge on the Ohio Ninth District Court of Appeals who has presided over Summit County’s award-winning alternative drug court program known as “The Turning Point.” A board-certified addiction physician, Labor is the associate medical director of addiction medicine for Summa Health in Akron as well as medical director of OneEighty in Wooster. Together, they will discuss the numerous issues surrounding the growing abuse of opioids; a recent study revealed that Americans are more likely to die from an opioid overdose than in a motor vehicle crash.

On Tuesday, Feb. 26, at 7:30 p.m., Diane Jorkasky ‘73, an expert on drug development and international medicine, will deliver “The Complexities of Conducting International Clinical Research.” As part of the esteemed Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows program, Jorkasky returns to campus where she’ll offer her expertise as a medical scientist and researcher in the pharmaceutical industry. She is currently president of her own research and development consulting business, which emphasizes translational pharmacology, and her 22 years in pharmaceutical medicine included serving as vice president of the global clinical research operations group at Pfizer, Inc.

Since 1981, the Great Decisions of Wayne County lecture series has been bringing experts to the region to discuss various issues pertaining to foreign policy and international affairs in an effort to contribute to the ongoing education of Wooster students and area residents alike.