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Thursday, 11 June 2020

If you've got questions about COVID-19, an upcoming fortnight-long masterclass, running from June 22 until July 3, should be on your radar.

Run by the University of Otago's Otago Global Health Institute (OGHI), the online-only masterclass event will tackle myriad questions on the disease and the global response to it – with sessions delivered by Otago and international experts, and Dr Ashley Bloomfield himself.

Held via the online meeting platform Zoom, the masterclasses are free and have an unlimited number of places – though registration is essential. There will be opportunity for questions via the chat function.

Philip Hil 2020 Image
Professor Philip Hill.

With interest from around the world it is expected to be a truly global event. The need to tackle such questions in a global forum is more important now than ever, OGHI Co-Director Professor Philip Hill says.

“This is a once in a century health event affecting the whole world. Everyone is interested and engaged, so it is important they can have access to information they can trust across as many aspects of the problem as possible.

“We realised that Otago University has an amazing breadth and depth of knowledge about this pandemic, and its far-reaching effects, which we can share with the public in New Zealand and beyond.”

OGHI is dedicating this series to the University of Otago's students, who have participated and provided leadership in the University's response to the virus, Professor Hill says.

“It will be accessible to them and to a broad range of people from all walks of life. Anyone from outside the University is welcome.”

2020 06 08 Patrick Vakaoti Image
Dr Patrick Vakaoti.

Dr Patrick Vakaoti, OGHI's other Co-Director, says the likelihood of an international audience highlights the global nature of a pandemic like COVID-19, and the importance of international discourse and cooperation at times like this.

“That is absolutely fundamental to success. One of the great strengths of the New Zealand response is that everyone was giving their opinion all the time and had a good chance of being listened to by those who were charged with making the decisions.”

“We see the dissemination and balanced discussion of knowledge as part of our role as University people. In addition, OGHI brings a global perspective that can add value to what can too easily become only a national issue. This will be a feature of this series.”

The masterclass will span two weeks from Monday June 22 until Friday July 3. Two 30-minute sessions will run each day, Monday to Friday, at 12pm and 12.30pm, with extra half hour sessions on 22, 23 and 26 June, from 1pm.

Guests only need register once to attend multiple sessions.

Visit here for a detailed programme, and to register for free

For further information, please contact:

Professor Philip Hill
McAuley Professor of International Health
Co-Director, Centre for International Health
Department of Preventive and Social Medicine,
Otago Medical School,
University of Otago
Co-Director, Otago Global Health Institute,
Tel +64 3 479 9462

Dr Patrick Vakaoti
Co-Director, Otago Global Health Institute
Senior Lecturer, Sociology
University of Otago
Tel +64 3 479 3074

Craig Borley
Communications Adviser (Division of Health Sciences)
Mob +64 21 279 4144

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