Dive Into The Outbreak Atlas

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May 10, 2024

Introducing The Outbreak Atlas by Rebecca Katz, PhD, MPH and Mackenzie S. Moore, PhD candidate!  

We at LadyDocs have a special place in our hearts for Dr. Katz.  Way back on February 29th, 2020, which seems like a lifetime ago, when we were Covid-naïve, we were holding one of our quarterly educational luncheons. About that time, we were hearing more and more about cases of Covid-19 in the United States and abroad.  We asked Dr. Katz if she would mind speaking for a few minutes about the global situation regarding the virus.  She did just that, then in her calm, unassuming way, rushed off to a meeting to help determine if the situation qualified as ‘a pandemic’.  Remember those days?

A few weeks later, of course, on March 11th the pandemic was declared and the rest is all too familiar history.  This book covers a lot of territory and will be of interest to all of us ‘armchair epidemiologists’ and history buffs.  Reading through it, I was reminded of the remarkable number of public health emergencies we’ve all experienced in the recent past – anthrax, salmonella, H1N1, monkeypox, mad cow,  Zika, West Nile virus, and of course, the virus that just keeps on giving, Covid-19. 

We’ve seen quick responses to all of these, perhaps without realizing what goes on behind the scenes. There’s clear and concise communication through government and academic websites, social media, call centers, text messages, etc.  It’s difficult to imagine how all that was distributed quickly over 20 years ago?!  I guess we used to depend on the radio and TV.  How quaint that seems! 

In March of 2020 our office, and all other medical offices, turned on a dime.  I used to laugh at the thought that I could practice pulmonary medicine as telehealth.  But guess what?  Twenty four hours after the pandemic was declared, we were doing just that, supplemented by meeting patients outdoors in the parking lot when need be. 

But imagine launching that transition simultaneously for so many resources of an entire country.  This book reveals how it is even more challenging in less developed nations.  At the same time, it shows the importance of global coordination for information sharing, distribution of resources and equipment, and action.  

Through 2020, Dr. Katz met with us on Zoom most Saturday mornings to keep us abreast of the global COVID situation.  In turn, we let her know what was happening ‘on the ground’, how our new routines were going, and how our patients seemed to be faring.  We were fortunate to have Dr. Katz’ knowledge and support at that time, as she had had over 20 years experience consulting for the Department of State as well as  for domestic and international groups.

This book, her seventh, is organized by the various ways the public and health care teams interact.  It is academic enough to be a text for Public Health students but can be digested by anyone interested in the field. And it need not be read straight through.  You can hop from one chapter to another, as links are provided to connect with information on the same topic in a different chapter.  For instance, in the chapter ‘Treating Patients’, there are multiple prompts to refer to the ‘Logistics’ or ‘Declare When the Outbreak is Over’ chapters to find other related information. 

LadyDocs is excited to re-unite with Dr. Katz for a book club session next week.  Dr. Rebecca Katz is currently a professor and the director of the Center for Global Health Science and Security and holds Joint appointments at Georgetown University Medical Center and the School of Foreign Affairs.  Her co-author, Mackenzie S. Moore previously served as a Global Health Initiative Fellow at the Center for Global Health Science and Security and is currently a doctoral candidate and Wellcome Trust scholar at the University of Edinburgh. Kudos to these women for a job well done!