On June 27, 2020, the School of Community Health Science’s own founding Dean, Dr. Trudy Larson, M.D., presented virtually for TEDx Reno: Global Starts Local. Her presentation was titled COVID-19: Through the Lens of My Experience with the HIV/AIDS Pandemic. Dr. Larson has been a long time pediatric infectious disease specialist with a focused medical career in HIV/AIDS and immunizations. Most recently, Dr. Larson has been serving on the Medical Advisory Team for COVID-19, which is a team of experts advising Nevada’s Governor, Steve Sisolak, on the local response to this new pandemic.
Dr. Larson reflects on the early years of her medical career completing her residency at the University of California Davis Medical Center. Dr. Larson was at the forefront of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the U.S. watching widespread death, lack of medical treatment, unanswered questions and perpetuated stigma. Dr. Larson brings light to the parallels of the new COVID-19 pandemic to her experiences in the early 1980s; highlighting blame, fear, mis- and dis- information and reminds people to stay optimistic. Several lessons have been learned from the early history of infectious diseases: We isolate, interrupt and distance. Dr. Larson reminds all of us, we do have the tools to combat this new virus even amongst all the unknowns: Wear a mask, social distance and wash your hands, and hopefully with time, we will understand the treatment.