Starting last spring, Bakersfield College President, Dr. Sonya Christian continues to host a series of virtual seminars to keep students, staff, and the community connected, focusing on a variety of topics to address remote learning, equity and diversity, COVID-19 and more. At the first forum of the Spring 2021 semester on February 2nd at 3:30 pm, BC welcomes Dr. Michael Saag, a physician, educator, and prominent HIV/AIDS researcher at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, to answer questions about his Washington Post article titled “Even With a Vaccine, This Virus will Take Time to Conquer.” Dr. Saag will be joined by Renegade students Ian Spark and Kassandra Sweeney, both pre-med and public health majors respectively. BC’s Professor of Public Health, Dr. Charles Daramola will moderate the Q&A session.
For over 40 years, Dr. Michael Saag has been on the frontlines of science and research to lead the fight against HIV/AIDS. Currently, he is serving his community as Professor and Associate Dean of Global Health at University of Alabama at Birmingham and has shared his expertise, knowledge, and experience with COVID-19 in the Washington Post last April and November.
Director of BC’s Student Health and Wellness Center, Cindy Collier, is excited to have Dr. Saag address the Renegade community. She says, “BC’s President, Dr. Sonya Christian has made a tremendous effort to keep our campus informed and connected while we stay united in the fight against COVID-19. It is through her advocacy, support, and events like these that we stay united as a campus and can continue to do our best work at Bakersfield College for our students and the greater community.”
Last Fall, Bakersfield College’s HEAL Collaborative hosted a webinar on public health strategies around COVID-19 in the Central Valley. This collaboration focused on the unique challenges to the region including mental health and the working conditions of migrant farmworkers. Speakers also shared the need for community contact tracing and how communities can come together, utilizing its trusted institutions to reshape public health infrastructure and relay accurate and important information.
Director of Communication and Community Relations, Norma Rojas-Mora is grateful that Bakersfield College has been so actively engaged in the discussions. She says, “We all have an important role against COVID-19, whether it is staying home, getting tested, or assisting with the vaccine rollouts. Bakersfield College is committed to serving the community during this time, offering public discussions with leading health professionals, free non-credit courses on health-related topics, and being actively engaged with collaboratives that address community health concerns. Our combined actions today will be a crucial component of building a healthier and successful Kern County for generations to come.”
BC’s President’s Virtual Forum is open to the public but requires pre-registration online to join.