University experts to advise mayors on coronavirus

COVID-19 Local Leaders Initiative spearheaded by Michael Bloomberg uses expert guidance to support public health response to coronavirus

Robin Scullin
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(410) 955-7619
Barbara Benham
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(410) 614-6029

An interdisciplinary group of scholars from Johns Hopkins University, including experts from the Bloomberg School of Public Health, has been tapped to provide American mayors with up-to-date information and context for the spread of the novel coronavirus as part of a new initiative by Michael R. Bloomberg.

The COVID-19 Local Leaders Initiative—a partnership between the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative—provides cities with virtual technical assistance, coaching, and accurate information urgently needed by local leaders on the frontlines of the public health response to the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19, which has infected 117,000 people as of Tuesday and been linked to more than 4,250 deaths.

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Relying on public health experts from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health as well as additional researchers and clinicians from across Johns Hopkins University, the network will help mayors understand the latest information on the virus from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other sources and how to act on it quickly, efficiently, and reliably for the benefit of their citizens.

"At the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, our epidemiologists, virologists, policy experts, and specialists in preparedness are collaborating in efforts across all areas relevant to the coronavirus response," said Ellen J. MacKenzie, dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. "We are pleased to collaborate with the Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Harvard City Leadership program to offer our expertise to help local communities offer evidence-based responses."

In webinars with mayors, Johns Hopkins faculty will share their expertise on public health crisis management, provide analysis of data from the CDC and other sources, and offer guidance for city officials faced with making decisions related to coronavirus.

In addition to the university's experts, Bloomberg Philanthropies will work with partners to identify and document in real time the needs of cities. Experts from both the Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School will coach mayors on crisis leadership and crisis communications. The program also creates a much-needed opportunity for mayors to connect with each other to share best practices and lessons learned from their recent experiences.

The program is open to all cities in the U.S. with populations over 30,000 and will accommodate as many participants as possible.