The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced immediate, short-term, and long-term response challenges that require expert guidance. In a socially distanced world, convening experts from a vast number of disciplines in a structured environment is logistically challenging—but essential to the rigor necessary for government agencies to act on recommendations in a timely and decisive manner. However, a virtual assembly of multidisciplinary experts in a construct that enables the application of scientific methods is possible.
LMI, in collaboration with Georgetown University and Gryphon Scientific, offers a virtual three-day workshop with experts from government, industry, and academia. The workshop would aim to help federal agencies create immediate, pragmatic action plans based on recommendations developed via collaboration amongst experts in supply chain resilience, global health security, public health and healthcare response, biosafety and biosecurity, modeling and simulation, and policymaking. Conducted in a largely non-hierarchical environment of peers, the workshop would follow appropriate social distancing measures and afford the following benefits to government decision-makers:
- Immediate access to draft recommendations and justifications
- A report documenting best-available advice and justifications in greater context
- A website to access recommendations and resources as well as the ability to contact workshop participants in support of continuous monitoring and evaluation
- An interactive, heuristic tool to help users prioritize intervention measures given current or anticipated conditions.
A Catalyst for a Community of Experts
The workshop would focus on the immediate needs of government decision-makers. However, models suggest that the pandemic will last for several months if not more than a year. Success will not hinge on a single decision; ongoing expert support and dialogue will be needed. We intend for this workshop to serve as the catalyst to bring together a curated community of experts available to decision-makers as their response needs evolve.
Agencies at all levels of government face critical gaps in operational guidance and need real-time access to expert recommendations from a multidisciplinary, cross-sector, whole-of-society group. They also require a mechanism to fast-track decision-making processes and maintain institutional memory to prevent and mitigate similar future impacts. This streamlined yet inclusionary, transparent, and interdisciplinary approach would provide critical insights and actionable outputs that leaders in all levels of government can apply.