Collaborating in Crisis: Academic-Governmental Partnerships During COVID-19

The knowledge created within universities and by academic experts can be used to inform policy and government-level decisions; at the same time, the practical experience of leaders and decision-makers can provide insights and case studies for researchers. The relationship between academic departments of Public Health and government has taken a particular significance in many countries during the COVID-19 crisis, and has been managed in different ways depending on the local context and the local evolution of the pandemic. The four universities involved in this webinar are large and renowned institutions in their respective countries, and have navigated the relationship between their expertise in Public Health and the necessity for decisive and timely governmental action in the novel pandemic scenario. This webinar will discuss similarities and differences in approach and experience advising policy-makers during COVID-19; peculiarities of this unprecedented crisis; and lessons learnt that could inform academic-governmental partnerships in future occasions, including but not exclusively in emergency situations.

With participation from four APRU universities (University of California Los Angeles, University of Sydney, National University of Singapore, and Peking University), the second webinar in the APRU Crisis Management series is led by the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore, and will focus on: Collaborating in Crisis: Academic-Governmental Partnerships During COVID-19.

Collaborating in Crisis: Academic-Governmental Partnerships During COVID-19

Date and Time
December 9th 5 pm (Los Angeles)
December 10th 9 am (Beijing/ Singapore) & 12 pm (Sydney)

Watch the recording here.
View a program here.
Download a flyer here.
Download a slide deck here.


This webinar is open to the public and will be recorded for those who cannot attend live.

Click the below image to find out the information of the previous webinar.

APRU Disclaimer: The views, information, or opinions expressed during the Collaborating in Crisis: Academic-Governmental Partnerships During COVID-19 are solely those of the individuals involved and do not necessarily represent those of The Association of Pacific Rim Universities (“APRU”) and its employees.  APRU is not responsible and does not verify for accuracy any of the information contained in the series.

Prof. Teo Yik Ying
Dean, Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore

Yik-Ying Teo, or commonly known as YY, is the second Dean of the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health at the National University of Singapore. Trained as a mathematician at Imperial College and completed his MSc and DPhil at Oxford in statistical genetics, YY returned to Singapore in 2010 after working for four years as a Lecturer in Oxford and concurrently a researcher at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics. Prior to his Deanship, he was the Founding Director for the Centre for Health Services and Policy Research, and also the Director for the Center for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Research. He is presently a member on the Council of Scientists for the International Human Frontier Science Program, as well as a member governing board member of the Regional Centre for Tropical Medicine and Public Health Network for Southeast Asia.

Dr. Yangmu Huang
Department of Global Health, School of Public Health, Peking University

Talk title: Multilateral collaborations in fighting against COVID-19: experiences from China

Yangmu Huang, deputy director, associate researcher, doctoral supervisor in the Department of Global Health, School of Public Health, Peking University. Her research focuses on global health governance, R&D and public health, nutrition and food safety, and health emergency, which mainly aims at vulnerable population. She has hosted and participated in tens of national and international research projects supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China, DFID’s China UK Global Health Support Programme, etc. She has published over 50 articles in peer-reviewed journals, such as the Lancet. As the senior consultant of China’s Delegation, she has been invited to attend the World Health Assemble, the Executive Board of the World Health Organization (WHO) annually. She has also provided consultation for the National Health Commission, the WHO, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, etc.

Prof. Natasha Nassar
Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney

Title: Supporting the New South Wales Ministry of Health public health response to COVID-19: experiences from the Operations team

Natasha Nassar is Professor Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology and the Financial Markets Foundation for Children Chair in Translational Childhood Medicine at the University of Sydney. She is also the Charles Perkins Centre Populations Domain Leader and Associate of the Menzies Centre for Health Policy, School of Public Health. Her research involves the use of linked population-based administrative data to establish population cohorts that allow longitudinal follow-up to investigate prevalence and risk factors of health, well-being and development of people across the lifespan. Her research focuses on three main themes, investigating: i) maternal, pregnancy and early life determinants of child health and development; ii) understanding childhood conditions, injuries and chronic disease; and iii) evaluating value in paediatric healthcare and services. Since the start of the pandemic, Prof Nassar has been working part-time at the New South Wales Ministry of Health as part of the COVID-19 Public Health Response Branch Operations Team. As an epidemiologist, this provided a unique opportunity to contribute to the pandemic response and work with a core team to support the investigation and management of COVID-19 clusters and outbreaks, develop protocols and procedures and facilitate communication regarding cross-jurisdictional and international issues.

Assoc. Prof. Alex Cook
Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore

Talk title: Co-creation of models by academic and government: lessons from a pandemic

Alex is the Vice Dean of Research and the Domain Leader of the Biostatistics and Modelling Domain at the NUS Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health. He also holds joint appointments at the Duke-NUS Medical School Singapore, at the Department of Statistics and Applied Probability, NUS, and the Communicable Disease Centre at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Singapore. He works on infectious disease modelling and statistics, including dengue, influenza and other respiratory pathogens, and on population modelling to assess the effect of evolving demographics on non-communicable diseases such as diabetes. His multidisciplinary team brings together researchers from the fields of statistics, computational biology, computer engineering, mathematics, geography and environmental sciences.
Dr Cook is a core principal investigator in the Singapore Population Health Improvement Centre (Spheric) at the National University Health System, where he leads the Population Health Analytics Core. Previous research by the Cook lab has studied pandemic and seasonal influenza, dengue, tuberculosis and hand, foot and mouth disease. His team’s work—which has appeared in the national and international media, including the Straits Times, the Sunday Times, the Lianhe Zaobao, New Paper, Today, Reuters, Agence-France Presse, France 24, the Times of India, and Sky News—is often in close collaboration with government agencies, including in Singapore the Ministry of Health, the National Environment Agency, the Health Promotion Board and the Ministry of Defence, as well as with overseas partners.

Prof. Alina Dorian
Associate Dean of Public Health Practice, Fielding School of Public Health, UCLA

Talk title: California Connected: COVID-19 Virtual Training Academy

Alina Dorian is currently the Associate Dean for Public Health Practice as well as the Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. Throughout her years at UCLA, she has been faculty in the Community Health Sciences Department and has held several key positons including Associate Director of the Center for Public Health and Disasters and Associate Director for the Master of Public Health for Health Professionals Program.
Dr. Dorian’s professional career has centered on training, education, technical assistance and building workforce competencies of state and local health jurisdictions to advance their capacity to respond to public health emergencies. She also serves as a Public Health Commissioner for Los Angeles County appointed to the 5th district seat.
Recently, she has been co-leading the California Connected Virtual Training Academy (VTA) for COVID-19 contact tracers (CTs) and case investigators (CIs). The project, in partnership with UCSF and the California Department of Public Health, was charged by the Governor to deliver intense skill-building training to a minimum of 10,000 state and local counties employees to serve as CTs and CIs throughout the State.