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American University COVID-19 Experts: Public Policy

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- With coronavirus not yet contained in the United States, what are the impacts on education, families, and health? AU experts are available to discuss these and other issues in public policy.


Terra Gargano is a professorial lecturer at the School of International Service. Her work focuses on online education, intercultural communication, international education, qualitative research design, and training program design. Gargano is available to discuss the impact of the pandemic on higher education and online education.

Taryn Morrissey, associate professor in the School of Public Affairs, can discuss how childcare and school closures will affect families and the economy. Her work focuses on public policies for vulnerable children, early care and education policy, family economic instability, and neighborhood poverty. She is a co-author of Cradle to Kindergarten: A New Plan to Combat Inequality.

Jennifer Steele is an education policy expert in the School of Education and can discuss the impact of the pandemic on K-12 education.


Jolynn Gardner, director of AU’s Public Health Program, and Elissa Margolin, professorial lecturer in the Dept. of Health Studies, can discuss managing anxiety and stress and coping strategies.

Melissa Hawkins, director of AU’s Public Health Scholars, can comment on the U.S. public health response and issues such as coronavirus testing and hospital capacity. She has over a decade of experience in the application of public health methodologies to government and private sector challenges. Her research addresses the integration of community health workers in the U.S. health workforce, in both clinical and community-based teams. She is a fellow with the American College of Epidemiology.

Ibram X. Kendi is an award-winning writer and historian and director of American University’s Antiracist Research & Policy Center. The COVID Tracking Project collects and publishes testing data available for U.S. states and territories. The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t affecting all communities the same way. The center, in collaboration with COVID Tracking Project, launched the COVID Racial Data Tracker, which tracks this inequity by collecting, publishing, and analyzing racial data on the pandemic from across the United States.

Aparna Soni is a health economist in the School of Public Affairs. She can comment on issues related to the outbreak on the healthcare system and the uninsured. Soni’s most recent publications look at the impact of the Affordable Care Act on access to care and health outcomes.

Nina Yamanis is an associate professor in the School of International Service. Her research focuses on health disparities and community-based interventions to improve health among vulnerable groups, and the role of social networks in HIV transmission. She also conducted research during the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone. Yamanis is available to comment on issues related to U.S. Latinx immigrants and access to health care, community responses to Ebola and HIV, and how to reach underserved and vulnerable populations with public health interventions.