CCST’s COVID-19 Workstream is part of a broad effort to bring California’s Science and Technology expertise to bear on some of the state’s most critical challenges—and advise on how California can emerge from disasters more resilient. Over the last year, CCST staff have convened California policymakers, researchers, and practitioners to understand the challenges faced in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.
More recently, CCST has invited a subset of the experts who were part of these early conversations to join the CCST COVID-19 Steering Committee. These 6 experts from across diverse fields including the behavioral, epidemiological, and medical sciences help drive the direction and scope of the COVID-19 Workstream of CCST’s Disaster Resilience Initiative.
Produce actionable policy recommendations for supporting pandemic preparedness, response, and recovery
Connect and facilitate discussions between policymakers and science experts who are thinking about California’s approach to public health
Test multiple models for convening experts across a broad range of scientific disciplines—including the social and behavioral sciences—to rapidly generate novel, cross-disciplinary insights.
Steering Committee Chair
UC San Diego
Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, MD, PhD
Jesus G. Alvelo Maurosa, PhD
National Science Foundation
Arleen Brown, MD, PhD
Richard M. Carpiano, PhD
Michael Kurilla, MD, PhD
Brie Lindsey, PhD
Rhianna Hohbein, PhD
John Thompson, PhD
See Steering Committee Member bios below.
Steering Committee Members
The steering committee oversees the project team, reaches conclusions based on the findings of the project team and writes an executive summary in the case of a study.
Committee Selection and Approval
Selection of appropriate committee members, individually and collectively, is essential for the success of a project team. All committee members serve as individual experts, not as representatives of organizations or interest groups. Each member is expected to contribute to the project on the basis of his or her own expertise and good judgment. A committee is not finally approved until a thorough balance and conflict-of-interest discussion is held, and any issues raised in that discussion are investigated and addressed. Members of a committee will not be publicized until this process is completed.
Careful steps are taken to convene committees that meet the following criteria:
The committee must include experts with the specific expertise and experience needed to address the project team's statement of task. A major strength of CCST is the ability to bring together recognized experts from diverse disciplines and backgrounds who might not otherwise collaborate. These diverse groups are encouraged to conceive new ways of thinking about a problem.
Having the right expertise is not sufficient for success. It is also essential to evaluate the overall composition of the committee in terms of different experiences and perspectives. The goal is to ensure that the relevant points of view are, in CCST's judgment, reasonably balanced so that the committee can carry out its charge objectively and credibly.
All provisional committee members are screened in writing and in a confidential group discussion about possible conflicts of interest. For this purpose, a "conflict of interest" means any financial or other interest which conflicts with the service of the individual because it could significantly impair the individual's objectivity or could create an unfair competitive advantage for any person or organization. The term "conflict of interest" means something more than individual bias. There must be an interest, ordinarily financial, that could be directly affected by the work of the committee. Except for those rare situations in which CCST determines that a conflict of interest is unavoidable and promptly and publicly discloses the conflict of interest, no individual can be appointed to serve (or continue to serve) on a committee used in the development of reports if the individual has a conflict of interest that is relevant to the functions to be performed.
Point of View
Point of View
A point of view or bias is not necessarily a conflict of interest. Committee members are expected to have points of view, and CCST attempts to balance these points of view in a way deemed appropriate for the task. Committee members are asked to consider respectfully the viewpoints of other members, to reflect their own views rather than be a representative of any organization, and to base their scientific findings and conclusions on the evidence. Each committee member has the right to issue a dissenting opinion to the report if he or she disagrees with the consensus of the other members.
Membership in CCST and previous involvement in CCST studies are taken into account in committee selection. The inclusion of women, minorities, and young professionals are additional considerations.
Specific steps in the committee selection and approval process are as follows:
Staff solicit an extensive number of suggestions for potential committee members from a wide range of sources, then recommend a slate of nominees. Nominees are reviewed and approved at several levels within CCST.
A provisional slate is then approved by CCST's Board. The provisional committee members complete background information and conflict-of-interest disclosure forms. The committee balance and conflict-of-interest discussion is held at the first committee meeting. Any conflicts of interest or issues of committee balance and expertise are investigated; changes to the committee are proposed and finalized.
CCST's Board formally approves the committee. Committee members continue to be screened for conflict of interest throughout the life of the committee.
Committee Members' Bios
Steering Committee Chair
UC San Diego
Michael Kleeman is a senior fellow at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) working with the School of International Relations and its affiliated Institute for Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC), and he is a member of the research faculty at the University of Southern California (USC). In addition, he undertakes selective external consulting efforts with industry and government. His work has historically had a technological focus but in the last ten years he has moved more into the area of private/public partnerships as a means to address societal concerns. These concerns range from environmental and sustainability issues to media (he has worked extensively with public media on critical infrastructure protection, pandemic and disaster preparedness/response). The common thread uniting these is the need for effective engagement of the private sector with support from the public sector to address large-scale issues.
In the last few years, he has worked to compliment his technical and managerial experience with program activities bringing large and diverse constituencies together to explore emerging and transitional issues. He has applied this experience in the areas of disaster preparedness and response with the American Red Cross, pandemic and biological/nuclear threats planning, information sharing across intelligence agencies and working with private, public and academic communities in the area of public media in the 21st century.
His strategy work focuses on bridging specific technologies and their related capabilities and economics with emerging user needs to complex human issues. In the academic environment he serves as the Science and Technology Advisor to the UC Center in Sacramento and the Natural Capital Project at Stanford University. He also serves in other advisory roles to government and industry, including in the areas of ecosystem services and preparedness.
His Board roles include work in the corporate sector with the International Business Leaders Forum/NA and with organizations in the social development world ranging from CGAP to Equal Access and The American Red Cross. He also works with environmental organizations such as The Marine Mammal Center in California.
Formerly a Vice President at The Boston Consulting Group, Director at Arthur D. Little, and a founding executive at Sprint International, Mr. Kleeman has been involved with numerous technology companies in North America as advisor and executive.
Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola MD, PhD
Professor of Clinical Internal Medicine
School of Medicine, UC Davis
Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, MD, PhD, is Professor of Clinical Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, University of California, Davis. He is the Founding Director of the Center for Reducing Health Disparities at UC Davis Health and the Director of the Community Engagement Program of the UCD Clinical Translational Science Center (CTSC). He is a past member of the National Advisory Mental Health Council (NAMHC), National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and Past Chair of the Board of Directors of Mental Health America. He is a member of the National Advisory Council of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) - Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), and board member of the California Health Care Foundation, Physicians for a Health California, and the Public Health Institute. He was appointed to the California COVID-19 Vaccine Drafting Guidelines Workgroup with the charge of drafting guidelines for the prioritization of supplies of available COVID-19 vaccines. Over the last 25 years, he has held several World Health Organization (WHO) and Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) advisory board and consulting appointments and is currently a member of the Executive Committee of WHO’s World Mental Health Survey Consortium (WMH) and its Coordinator for Latin America overseeing population-based national surveys of Mexico, Colombia, Peru, and Argentina a regional survey of Brazil, and two surveys of the Medellín, Colombia.
Dr. Aguilar-Gaxiola is the author of over 190 scientific publications. He is the recipient of multiple international, national, state, and local awards, including a distinguished member of the Top 10 U.S. Latino Physicians in the May 2016 issue of Latino Leaders Magazine. More recently, he received the Ohtli Award, the highest honor granted by the Mexican government to individuals who have dedicated their lives to improving the well-being of Mexicans, Mexican Americans and other Latinos in the US and abroad and In September 2020, he received the Ohtli Award, the highest honor granted by the Mexican government to individuals who have dedicated their lives to improving the well-being of Mexicans, Mexican Americans and other Latinos in the US and abroad. On September, he received the 2021 Lifetime Award for the Advancement of Latino Behavioral Health from the National Latino Behavioral Health Association (NLBHA), the 2021 National Award of Excellent in Research by a Senior Investigator from the National Hispanic Science Network. Dr. Aguilar-Gaxiola is currently serving as co-chair of the Steering Committee of the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) Assessing Meaningful Community Engagement in Health and Health Care.
Jesús G. Alvelo Maurosa PhD
Division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation,
Directorate of Engineering, National Science Foundation
Jesús G. Alvelo Maurosa, PhD, is an Engineer/Science Analyst for the Division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation in the Directorate for Engineering at the National Science Foundation where he provides data and scientific analysis across the division. He also works in various research solicitations such as the Disaster Resilience Research Grants, an initiative with the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and the Navigating the New Arctic, an NSF 10 Big Idea Initiative. Jesús also serves as the division partnership liaison where he supports federal, international, and industrial collaboration within the division. He also worked in the Directorate for Engineering COVID-19 RAPID Proposal Working Group
Prior to his current position, he was an AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow (2017-2019) in the division of Engineering Education and Centers where he worked on standardizing and visualizing the Engineering Research and Centers portfolio. Jesús also served as a science advisor for two gubernatorial candidates in Puerto Rico in the 2016 and 2020 elections. Currently, he is a National Academy of Science and Engineering New Voices Fellow. In addition to his policy experience, he was a postdoctoral researcher at Massachusetts Institute of Technology at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering researching how viruses and bacteria spread through sneezes and cough. In 2016, Jesús obtained his Ph.D. in microbiology from University of Massachusetts Amherst where he investigated how bacteria convert non-edible food crops into biofuels. He received his B.S. from Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto de Río Piedras in 2008. In 2020 he received the Special Act Award for Coordinating the Data for the Division of Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation COVID-19 RAPID proposals, for 2021 the Special Act Award for the development of the Science Analyst Manual and in 2021 he was the recipient of the National Science Foundation Director’s Award for Superior Accomplishment (Group) for exceptional achievement in broadening engagement between indigenous communities and researchers, achieving inclusive and meritorious Arctic science through the Navigating the New Arctic Program.
Arleen Brown MD, PhD
Professor of Medicine
Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research,
Arleen Brown, MD, PhD, is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research (GIM and HSR) at the University of California, Los Angeles. She serves as Chief of GIM and HSR at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center.
Dr. Brown’s research focuses on improving health outcomes, enhancing health care quality, and reducing disparities for adults with chronic conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. She has been a Principal Investigator on studies to improve diabetes care for older adults and minority patients and research to understand clinical, socioeconomic, and health system influences on chronic disease management in under-resourced communities. She is currently a Principal Investigator on several projects, including a study to improve cardiovascular outcomes among persons with a history of trauma who are living with HIV and AIDS, research to reduce disparities in blood pressure control for patients in the Los Angeles County safety net system, and studies to mitigate disparities in COVID-19.
Dr. Brown also co-directs the UCLA Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) and the CTSI’s Community Engagement and Research Program (CERP). In these roles, she works with teams of community and university partners to ensure that community and research priorities align, promote research in community settings, and facilitate the exchange of knowledge and expertise between all stakeholders.
In 2020, Dr. Brown was selected to lead the California site of the national Community Engagement Alliance (CEAL) Against COVID Disparities. The statewide Share, Trust, Organize, Partner: the COVID-19 California Alliance (STOP COVID-19 CA) effort includes 11 universities and their networks of community partners. In this role, she is working to ensure the integrity of COVID-19 clinical trial studies and standards for protection of voluntary participants while enhancing diversity and inclusive participation in COVID-19 vaccine, prevention, and therapeutic studies. Dr. Brown also co-leads the state of California Get Out the Vaccine (GOTV) campaign, which uses canvassing, telephone calls, and texting to promote vaccine registration in Los Angeles County and the Central Valley.
Richard M. Carpiano PhD
Professor of Public Policy and Sociology
Richard M. Carpiano, PhD, is Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Riverside.
Carpiano is a public and population health scientist and medical sociologist who studies how social factors, such as socioeconomic status, race-ethnicity, social connections, and community conditions, contribute to the physical and mental health of adults and children. His research focuses on an extensive range of health issues and populations, spanning the life course and US and international contexts. Some of his current and past projects examine social determinants of child undernutrition, childhood asthma, early child development, HPV vaccination, smoking and alcohol use among adults, women's health-related behaviors, substance use and sexual risk among gay men, suicide ideation among immigrants, and life expectancy/mortality risk among high status individuals.
The most recent arm of Carpiano’s research program investigates social, behavioral, attitudinal, and policy factors underlying vaccination uptake and coverage (and refusal or delay) in the US, Canada, and Denmark. As part of this work, Carpiano presently serves as a member of the Lancet's Commission on Vaccine Refusal, Acceptance, and Demand in the United States.
Dr. Carpiano's solo- and co-authored publications have appeared in forums such as the American Journal of Public Health, American Sociological Review, Health & Place, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, Social Science & Medicine, and Sociology of Health & Illness. He is a former editor (with Brian Kelly of Purdue University) of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, the leading journal for medical sociology scholarship, and serves as an elected board member of the Interdisciplinary Association for Population Health Science.
In addition to his academic research and teaching and mentoring activities, Carpiano believes strongly in the importance of public outreach to help inform non-academic audiences regarding research findings and pressing public issues. As such, he engages extensively with national and international news media (print, radio, television, podcasts) on a wide range of public health and sociological topics. Most recently, he has provided commentary on a variety of issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including health disparities in cases and deaths, anti-COVID-19 activism and misinformation, public communication, uptake of vaccines (including potential barriers), sociological impacts, and response policies.
Carpiano received his Ph.D. (2004) and M.Phil. (2003) in Sociomedical Sciences (with concentration in Sociology) from Columbia University, his M.P.H. (2001) from Case Western Reserve University, and M.A. (1998) and B.A. (1997) in Sociology from Baylor University. From 2004-2006, he was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholar at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to arriving at UCR, he was a faculty member at the University of British Columbia (2006-2017).
Michael Kurilla MD, PhD
Director of Clinical Innovation
National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS)
Michael Kurilla MD, PhD is the director of the Division of Clinical Innovation at NCATS. In this capacity, he oversees the Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program, which supports innovative solutions to advance the efficiency, quality and impact of translational science, with the ultimate goal of getting more treatments to more patients more quickly. Prior to joining NCATS, Kurilla served as the director of the Office of Biodefense Research Resources and Translational Research within the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), where he focused on translational efforts toward infectious disease product development, including vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics, with emphasis on biodefense and emerging infectious disease threats. Prior to joining NIAID in 2003, Kurilla was an associate director for infectious diseases at Wyeth. He also worked in antimicrobials at DuPont and on clinical microbiology and molecular pathology at the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center.
Kurilla received his M.D. and his Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from Duke University. He was a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard Medical School and completed a residency in pathology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He received a B.S. in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology.
June 14 and 17, 2022
CCST's workshop where we will synthesize some of the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic and collectively build a vision for a 21st Century Public Health System.
- Who do we now understand should be considered part of the public health system?
- What capabilities do we want to build into this system to ensure that we are more resilient during the next pandemic?