On the exact 6-month anniversary of San Francisco’s shelter-in-place ordnance, UCSF infectious disease experts look back at what we’ve learned about the strengths and weaknesses of our public health systems and look forward to the next stage of the fight against COVID-19. 

Panelists will discuss how the pandemic has taken advantage of inequities in our society to continue spreading despite the region’s early response—and the growing understanding that stemming the tide of COVID-19 will require much greater support for low-income essential workers, incarcerated populations, and others least able to protect themselves. They will explore how partnerships between community leaders, UCSF scientists, and public health officials are pointing the way forward to a more just, equitable and effective response to the pandemic.

Meet the panelists:

Joe DeRisi, Ph.D., is Tomkins Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at UCSF and co-director of the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub, an independent research institute dedicated to eradicating disease. DeRisi has a long history as a “virus detective” and inventor. During the severe testing backlog at the start of the pandemic, his team built a state-of-the-art COVID-19 testing center in 8 days, which soon became the hub for processing test kits from public health departments across the state.

Diane Havlir, M.D., is chief of the UCSF Division of HIV, Infectious Disease and Global Medicine. At the start of the pandemic, Havlir—who is a veteran of the fight against AIDS—joined forces with Latinx community leaders such as Jon Jacobo of the Latino Task Force for COVID-19, to document inequalities in the pandemic’s impact on low-income workers and their families, and to link those infected with the support they need to go into isolation. This “test-to-care” approach has become a model for similar efforts across the country. 

Jon Jacobo, of the Latino Task Force for COVID-19, helped spearhead the group’s partnership with UCSF, called Unidos En Salud, and has worked for policy changes to support low-income essential workers during the pandemic, in partnership with the City and County of San Francisco Department of Public Health. Jacobo is director of engagement and policy for TODCO Group, a San Francisco affordable housing and advocacy nonprofit, and an appointed commissioner overseeing the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection.

Brie Williams, M.D., M.S., is a professor in the UCSF Division of Geriatrics and founding director of UCSF Amend, an initiative dedicated to transforming correctional culture to improve the health of people living and working in America’s prisons. Her research has pushed for changes in how California’s prisons have handled outbreaks during the pandemic, not only to protect prisoners and prison workers, but to prevent spill-over into the community at large.

Moderator Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, Ph.D., M.D., M.A.S., is vice dean for population health and health equity at the UCSF School of Medicine and director of the UCSF COVID-19 Community Public Health Initiative. She has written about how the pandemic has created “two Californias”—those with the privilege of sheltering in place, and the low-income workers who have been forced to choose between keeping food on the table and protecting their families from the virus


In association with UCSF

Main image by UCSF_20200729_BART_034a

Image - Joe DeRisi
Joe DeRisi
Ph.D., Tomkins Professor, Department of Biochemistry, UCSF; Co-Director, Chan Zuckerberg Biohub
Image - Diane Havlir
Diane Havlir
M.D., Chief, UCSF Division of HIV, Infectious Disease and Global Medicine
Image - Jon Jacobo
Jon Jacobo
Director of Engagement and Policy, TODCO Group; Member, Latino Task Force for COVID-19
Image - Brie Williams
Brie Williams
M.D., M.S., Professor, UCSF Division of Geriatrics; Founding Director, UCSF Amend
Image - Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo
Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo
Ph.D., M.D., M.A.S., Vice Dean, Population Health and Health Equity, UCSF School of Medicine; Director, UCSF COVID-19 Community Public Health Initiative—Moderator