Pell Center

The Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina is a multidisciplinary research center focused at the intersection of politics, policies and ideas.

What We’ve Learned and What We’ve forgotten since the start of the Pandemic with Dr. Cornellia Griggs

Air Dates: March 18-24, 2024

It’s been four years since the pandemic swept the planet.  The cost, we know too well, was staggering and met head on by healthcare workers who faced sick and dying patients every day. Dr. Cornellia Griggs was among them and her pleas for the public to help in 2020 were unflinching, emotionally powerful, and impactful.

Griggs is a Pediatric Surgeon and Assistant Professor in Surgery at Harvard Medical School at Massachusetts General Hospital. She graduated from Harvard College with a certificate in Health Policy from the Kennedy School of Government and completed her medical degree at the Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons. After medical school, she completed her residency in General Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital where she also completed a fellowship in Surgical Critical Care. She then completed a fellowship in Pediatric Surgery at the Children’s Hospital of New York at Columbia University Medical Center. Griggs has made numerous television appearances on CNN, Good Morning America, NBC News, among others, and her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, the New England Journal of Medicine, Annals of Surgery, and other publications.  Her first book, “The Sky Was Falling” was published this month.

On this episode of “Story in the Public Square,” Griggs reflects on where we are as a society four years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.  She says the “vaccine that we had in less than a year has saved hundreds of millions of lives globally,” adding, “that is a marvel, a more miraculous feat of science that still boggles my mind.” She contrasts its success with her concern for future public health crises, saying, “I don’t know if we as a country, in terms of our public health infrastructure, are truly any better prepared for another pandemic.” “There are a lot of issues around globalization and infectious disease and antibiotic resistance that are making us even more vulnerable to infectious disease than we previously thought before 2020,” cautioning that investment in adequate resources will help us be better prepared.

“Story in the Public Square” broadcasts each week on public television stations across the United States. A full listing of the national television distribution is available at this link. In Rhode Island and southeastern New England, the show is broadcast on Rhode Island PBS on Sundays at 11:00 a.m. and is rebroadcast Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. An audio version of the program airs Saturdays at 8:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. ET, Sundays at 5:00 a.m., 10:00 p.m. and Mondays at 2:30 a.m. ET on SiriusXM’s popular P.O.T.U.S. (Politics of the United States), channel 124. “Story in the Public Square” is a project of the Pell Center at Salve Regina University. The initiative aims to study, celebrate and tell stories that matter.