Are We Prepared? With COVID Through the Winter

Thursday, Nov 17, 2022

Do we still care about COVID-19?

The pandemic has been a part of our daily lives for almost three years now. What did politicians, scientists, and economists learn on how to best prepare for and deal with further outbreaks, new variants and their consequences? President Biden’s National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan and Federal Minister Karl Lauterbach’s 7-steps Plan shed a light on how the governments have been preparing. However, are we prepared to go through a winter with a possible tridemic?

This panel discussion addresses the preparedness plans, the science behind the virus and new variants, public health strategies and what to expect and not expect this winter.

Format:            Virtual Panel Discussion
Platform:         Zoom Webinar
Length:            One hour
Date:                Thursday, November 17, 9AM PT | 12PM ET | 6PM CET
Cost:                Complimentary

Welcome by
Dr. Sonja Kreibich, Consul General of Germany (Boston)

Dr. Sonja Kreibich recently took up her post as the Consul General of Germany to the New England States in July 2022. Before arriving in Boston, she served at the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Berlin as the Head of Division for Pan African Issues, Southern Africa and the Great Lakes from 2018-22. Prior to this, she served as the Head of Unit for European Migration Policy from 2014-2018, and as press spokesperson in the Speaker’s Office from 2002-2006. Sonja’s roles within the Foreign Office have taken her abroad to the German Permanent Mission to the UN in New York as well as to the German Embassy in Bucharest, Romania. She studied law at the University of Bonn and at the University of Edinburgh and obtained a Dr. iur. from the University of Bonn.


Oliver Schramm, Consul General of Germany (San Francisco)

Oliver Schramm took up his post as the Consul General of Germany to Northern California, Oregon, Washington (State), Alaska, Hawai’i, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and American Samoa in August 2021. From 2017-2021 he served as Minister for Economic and Global Affairs at the German Embassy in London. From 2014-2017, he served at the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Berlin as the Head of Division for German Schools Abroad and International Sports Cooperation. His various roles within the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs have stationed him in Seoul, Boston, Washington/DC, Rome, Lima and London. Oliver began his professional career in 1991 working first in the Political Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Bonn and then in the Federal Chancellery as a member of the Chancellor’s speech-writing group from 1995-98. He studied at Harvard from 2001-2002 and received an MPA from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.


Panel Discussion
Dr. Kathryn Hall, Deputy Commissioner for Population Health and Health Equity at Boston Public Health Commission

Dr. Kathryn Hall is the Deputy Executive Director for Population Health and Health Equity at the Boston Public Health Commission. After receiving her PhD in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics from Harvard University she spent 10 years in the biotech industry tackling problems in drug discovery and development where she became an Associate Director of Drug Development. Dr. Hall then returned to Harvard Medical School, joining the Fellowship in Integrative Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and receiving a Master’s in Public Health from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Dr. Hall is also an Assistant Professor part-time in the Division of Preventive Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School and serves as the Interim Director of Basic and Translational Research at Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Her research focuses on the placebo effect and in particular how the absence of placebo and presence of nocebo effects influences health equity. Dr. Hall is the author of Placebos, MIT Press and has a Masters in Documentary Film from Emerson College.


Dr. Richard Pan, California State Senator, Chair of Senate Committee on Health
Dr. Richard Pan is a pediatrician, former UC Davis educator, and State Senator proudly representing Sacramento, West Sacramento, Elk Grove and unincorporated areas of Sacramento County. Dr. Pan chairs the Senate Committee on Health. He also serves as Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Asian Pacific Islander Affairs and the Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus. He serves on the Senate Committees on Budget and Fiscal Review; Education; Business, Professions and Economic Development; Human Services; and the Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee on Health and Human Services. Dr. Pan also serves on the Special Committee on Pandemic Emergency Response.

Dr. Pan has devoted his career to solving problems and helping everyone in the community. Prior to serving in the legislature, Dr. Pan was a UC Davis faculty member and Director of the Pediatric Residency Program where he created a nationally recognized service learning curriculum, Communities and Health Professionals Together to build partnerships between health professions students and neighborhoods to build healthier communities. The son of immigrants, Dr. Pan attended public schools and earned his Bachelor of Arts in Biophysics from Johns Hopkins University, a Medical Doctorate from the University of Pittsburgh and a Masters of Public Health from Harvard University. (click for full bio)


Dr. Jake Scott, Clinical Assistant Professor, Medicine, Infectious Diseases, Stanford School of Medicine
Dr. Jake Scott is a board-certified infectious diseases specialist. He provides general infectious diseases care in the inpatient and outpatient settings and his special interests include COVID-19, coccidiomycosis, multidrug-resistant organisms, HIV, and HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis. He works with patients from diverse backgrounds to provide compassionate, high-quality care aligned with their needs. One of Dr. Scott’s passions is teaching. He regularly works with Stanford residents and students and has lectured on various infectious disease-related topics, such as COVID-19, fever of unknown origin, and the dangers of antibiotic overuse, especially as it contributes to the rising threat of multidrug-resistant infections. He is also committed to expanding awareness of infectious diseases outside of the hospital and university through public presentations in the community and media interviews.
He is the medical director of the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program at Stanford Health Care – ValleyCare in Pleasanton and is a member of the Infection Control Committee and the Stanford Vaccine Clinical Advisory Committee.

Dr. Mridul Agrawal, President and Co-Founder, iuvando Health (Moderator)

Mridul Agrawal is a physician, scientist, and healthcare entrepreneur dedicated to advancing the care for cancer patients. He is President and Co-Founder of iuvando Health, a Germany-based digital health and precision oncology startup that enables patients to access innovative treatments within clinical trials. Prior, Mridul was a research fellow at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard with a focus on blood cancer. Mridul studied medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Baltimore), University of Zurich, and Heidelberg University, where he graduated with a doctorate degree. He also obtained a master’s degree in Health Economics from Heidelberg University. Mridul has been honored with multiple highly prestigious national and international awards both in his role as a physician-scientist and entrepreneur.

This event is a cooperation between


and supported by


The San Francisco and Boston areas are both homes to some of the world’s foremost research universities and innovative companies. This series is intended to draw on experts from the East and the West Coast and to bring them into conversation on issues of relevance to a larger German-American audience.

In 2021, GABA California and GABC Boston and supported by the Consulate Generals of Boston and San Francisco successfully coordinated and hosted five virtual panel discussions (via Zoom Webinar) on the general topic of the COVID-19 pandemic, engaging top-level speakers and experts from both Germany and the U.S.  Here is a look back at the previous series:

  1. COVID Vaccines in Record Time (February 4, 2021)
  2. Pandemic Management and Preparedness in the U.S. and in Germany: Looking Forward (March 24, 2021)
  3. COVID Testing in a Vaccinated Population: Needed or Obsolete? (May 26, 2021)
  4. Are Hybrid Work Models Here to Stay? (August 19, 2021)
  5. COVID-19: Putting Health to the Test (December 16, 2021)