The accomplishments of Drs. Julie Parsonnet and Dean Winslow are too prolific to chronicle on one page, but here’s a taste: The husband and wife are both infectious disease experts at Stanford. Parsonnet is the principal investigator of the Stanford trial of the protease inhibitor camostat for the treatment of COVID-19. Nominated to be the U.S. assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, Winslow has been giving public health advice. Both are treating patients and working to make the community a safer place.
Tell us about your work. DW: Julie’s research has primarily focused on the relationship between infection and chronic disease. This year, she has been applying her strong epidemiology background to helping Santa Clara, Solano and Placer counties dissect the transmission of COVID 19. JP: We’ve been involved with a number of other wonderful people in the creation of two organizations: Scrubs Addressing the Firearm Epidemic. We also started the Eagle Fund, which is dedicated to helping reduce the plight of refugees worldwide. I’m also on the board of directors of Doctors for America, an NGO devoted to improving the health of all Americans.
How are healthcare and gun control intersecting? JP: I’m appalled by how the COVID epidemic and gun violence have now become so intimately entwined. When the infection appeared, people went out and bought guns. It’s astonishing. Those guns are much, much more likely to end up killing friends, family or self than other people.
What do you hope the world learns from these challenging times? DW: We hope the world (and especially the United States) recognizes the importance of adequately funding public health so we do a better job of responding to the next pandemic. JP: In my mind, COVID reminds us that we are all one. I hope we learn to focus on common goals: fighting COVID and, yes, reducing the suffering in the world. That doesn’t mean we have to always agree. It just means we need to be willing to compromise, to see the end goal and not be like Pogo: ‘We have met the enemy, and he is us'