Dr. Madhav Bhatta
Name: Dr. Madhav Bhatta
Title: Professor, Public Health
What is your expertise? What are your research interests?
Epidemiology; Infectious Diseases; Immigrant Health
How long have you worked at Kent State?
When do you first remember hearing about COVID-19 or the "coronavirus?" Did you have any sense at all that it would have as large an impact as it has on our day-to-day life?
In January. I was aware of the outbreak going in China, and the topic came up for discussion in a pandemic preparation tabletop exercise I was involved with at a county health department. I did sense the potential of a pandemic but honestly did not really sense the global impact it would have.
Is there any experience you have had in your life up until now that compares with what we all are currently navigating? If so, what was it?
Obviously not something of this magnitude. The last declared pandemic in 2009 was on a much smaller scale.
How has your day-to-day life changed? What does your new "routine" look like now?
I have been teaching online using Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. I limit the visits to public places such as grocery stores when only necessary. I use a mask when I have to go out in public. I am tracking the pandemic in Ohio, the US, and globally closely, so it involves a lot of reading, tracking, and analyzing the data. The daily routine also involves a walk.
COVID-19 and our collective response is one of the most interdisciplinary phenomena many of us have seen/experienced. How would you describe how your discipline/research interests/expertise contributes a valuable perspective to our better understanding and responding to COVID-19?
I am an epidemiologist so the discipline is at the forefront of the epidemic. Epidemiology involves understanding how is the virus is spreading, how to measure it, and how to mitigate it.
If you had to embark upon a scholarly project (e.g., research, a new course) right now related to COVID-19 and our collective response, what would that look like?
A research project would involve understanding how the disease is spreading in vulnerable populations and how to mitigate it. A new course would involve real time understanding and following of the pandemic.
What other discipline (even without any expertise or knowledge in that area) could you see helpfully complementing yours in pursuit of your new COVID-19 project?
IT and data visualization
Do you have any last insights/thoughts regarding COVID-19 and what we are all experiencing?
This is an unprecedented-in-our-lifetime health event that we are experiencing. It is going to have far reaching effect on the society.