February 21, 2022

- Listen to Ron's Interview with Dr. Frances Santiago-Schwarz - 

Unraveling the Continuing Confusion over COVID-19


Episode description:

Three years into the COVID-19 pandemic, some experts believe that we are transitioning into an endemic, headed—hopefully—toward more normal times. And yet, we’re still at a loss; we’re confused. Where are we with CDC recommendations? When should we be wearing masks? What’s the latest advice about vaccines and boosters? Second boosters? The development of other treatments? In today’s episode, Dr. Frances Santiago-Schwarz, a distinguished biomedical scientist and educator, will offer an incisive, yet accessible, guide to understanding the incredibly complex story of COVID-19. What do we know, what don’t we know, and why is it important? Throughout her career, Dr. Santiago-Schwarz has focused on creating programs, courses and professional partnerships and alliances designed to empower people from diverse backgrounds with the knowledge they need to make health-care decisions.  Today, she will unravel the immunopathology of COVID19, giving us the big picture about variants emerging worldwide; providing answers to frequently asked questions about how viruses spread and mutate, and when these mutations make a difference. Dr. Santiago-Schwarz will also provide a basic primer on how vaccines, antibodies and other components in our immune system combat the viruses. And looking ahead, she will offer her perspective on potential new treatments for COVID, and what strategies we need to stop the virus worldwide, noting that “No one is safe until everyone is safe.”

 Guest description:

Dr. Frances Santiago-Schwarz is a Visiting Professor at the Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra University and Visiting Professor at the Elmezzi Graduate School at Northwell Health. Dr. Santiago-Schwarz is also Visiting Scholar and Head of Research at Northwell’s  Center for Global Health. Throughout her career as a biomedical scientist and educator, she has been a key player in developing research infrastructure, academic programs, and scientific and educational partnerships between academic and biomedical institutions, locally and internationally. A native of Puerto Rico, Frances has mentored scientists and trainees at all levels and in diverse settings. She is a firm believer in addressing health and educational inequities through mentorship and opportunities that help foster not only individual success, but also contribute to institutional success and success at large. As part of Northwell’s Center for Global Health, Frances is currently applying her collective professional experiences, expertise and professional alliances to widely promote public health, research, and education. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, her professional activities include a strong focus on the immunopathology of COVID-19, unraveling novel therapeutic opportunities for COVID, and development of COVID medical-educational alliances. Some examples include designing and conducting a collaborative on-line research course and mentoring activity featuring New York and Puerto Rican medical students; and partnering with diversity-enhancing programs and medical students of color to develop a series of COVID-19 medical-educational workshops aimed at empowering underserved communities and optimizing their use of resources. Frances has received numerous awards and honors for her original research, as well excellence in teaching and mentorship.

During these times of COVID,  Dr. Frances Santiago-Schwarz took to various forms of creative are, including writing in both English and Spanish. Here is a sample of one of her poems, “Unseen” or “No Me Ves.”

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