Pandemic Response

Monday the 31st will bring the first day of classes for Tulsa Public Schools, and given the current pandemic, this is certainly going to be a very different school year. All TPS students, for starters, will be participating in either of two distinct programs: Distance Learning or Virtual Academy. How do these differ? And what should TPS parents be expecting -- and/or planning for -- as the new school year begins?

How do we learn? And how do we learn best? What are the most effective ways of educating today? Our guest on ST is Dr. Sanjay Sarma, who's the leader of the Open Learning program at MIT. He joins us to discuss his new book, "Grasp." This pioneering work looks at the science of learning -- i.e., how the acquisition of knowledge works both in the mind and in the classroom. The book also explores which teaching techniques are most effective -- and why -- and how schools should (and should not) use instructional technology, including online teaching apps and programs.

Should schools reopen? Should we be playing (or practicing) team sports right now? And which type of mask is the safest one to wear? On this edition of ST Medical Monday, we speak about these and other matters with Dr. Bruce Dart, executive director of the Tulsa City-County Health Department. Dr. Dart, who last appeared on our show back in March, offers an update on COVID-19 in our community at present.

With COVID cases now spiking across Oklahoma, and indeed, across much of the nation, it seems unlikely that Americans will be able to safely gather in large numbers anytime soon to hear music in a concert hall, arena, or auditorium. But the show, as they say, must go on -- and thus many gigs are lately being performed on Facebook Live, while others are being presented at drive-in movie complexes. Or via YouTube, etc. On this edition of ST, we talk to two local arts administrators on how they're planning to offer concert/orcheestral music to their audiences this fall.

We welcome to our show Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, a physician, epidemiologist, public health expert, and progressive activist. He was appointed health director of Detroit, Michigan, at age 30, and he was formerly a professor at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. Dr. El-Sayed's new book, which he tells us about, is "Healing Politics: A Doctor's Journey into the Heart of Our Political Epidemic." As was noted of this book by Bill McKibben with 350.org: "This is a very important book.

Our guest on ST Medical Monday is Dr. Jennifer Clark, a Visiting Associate Professor of Community Health at TU's Oxley College of Health Sciences; she teaches in TU's Health Care Delivery Science Program. Dr. Clark is also a contributor/commentator for the ongoing, thrice-weekly Project ECHO updates regarding COVID-19. These online, open-to-the-public updates, originating from Oklahoma State University and freely streamable, are medically-driven information sessions presented by a multi-institutional array of doctors and scientists.

Our guest is Sonia Shah, a science journalist who's long covered the intersection of science, politics, culture, and human rights for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Affairs, Scientific American, and other outlets. Her new book, which she tells us about, takes on many of our centuries-long assumptions about migration. The book is called "The Next Great Migration: The Beauty and Terror of Life on the Move." This work, per The New York Times Book Review, focuses "with compassion and insight a deeply complex and challenging subject....

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we meet immunologist Dr Eric Fajgenbaum, a researcher on the fairly rare disorder, Castleman's Disease. A survivor of this lymphatic condition himself, Fajgenbaum has devoted his work to discover how FDA-approved drugs can be repurposed to effectively fight Castleman's. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed a number of areas where government was unprepared despite years of preparation, but it has also revealed a very un-governmental nimbleness in responding to the economics of the pandemic-induced recession. Economist Joshua Gans says there was no pandemics playbook on how to keep an economy running in a situation like this, and despite the real hardships many are facing today, policymakers have made more right decisions than wrong to this point.