Dartmouth College
Reflections from 40 Years Fighting International Epidemics
Dartmouth College

Reflections from 40 Years Fighting International Epidemics

Taught in English


Gain insight into a topic and learn the fundamentals

Daniel R. Lucey

Instructor: Daniel R. Lucey

Beginner level

Recommended experience

14 hours to complete
3 weeks at 4 hours a week
Flexible schedule
Learn at your own pace

What you'll learn

  • Anticipate, Recognize, Act

  • What's Next is Already Here

  • Create Synergies of Strengths

Details to know

Shareable certificate

Add to your LinkedIn profile


4 quizzes

See how employees at top companies are mastering in-demand skills


Earn a career certificate

Add this credential to your LinkedIn profile, resume, or CV

Share it on social media and in your performance review


There are 5 modules in this course

​Reflections on patients, policies, pan-epidemics, prose and medical humanities from a 40-year career fighting epidemics around the world by an infectious disease public health physician. Examples include HIV/AIDS, Anthrax, SARS, MERS, H5N1 and H1N1 influenza, Nipah, Ebola (with MSF 2014), Zika, Plague (with WHO 2017) and COVID-19. Working side-by-side with international colleagues to provide hands-on patient care and to share stories is an expression of medical humanities. Dr. Lucey is the originator of the Smithsonian Museum Exhibit on Epidemics 2018-2022, an advocate of One Health, and author of 170 blogs on COVID and other new epidemics since January 2020 on the Science Speaks website of the Infectious Disease Society of America. One best career lesson is to “Anticipate, Recognize, Act” because “What’s next is already here, we just haven’t recognized it”.

What's included

1 video

Module One provides you with an introduction to the context and perspective of Dr. Lucey. He is a public health and infectious disease physician and epidemiologist who has helped fight epidemics around the world beginning in 1982 in San Francisco before the HIV virus was discovered but long after the virus discovered us. This module offers a chronology of his field experience in over 10 epidemics in 5 regions of the world. A Medical Humanities perspective is included using his own list of 40 one-phrase reflections on epidemics, distilled from 1982-2022, and the first of several narrative stories from the 2014 Ebola pan-epidemic in West Africa. These stories in module 1 and module 4 illustrate some of the 40 one-phrase reflections and their origins. A summary is also provided of the exhibit (2018-2022) proposed in 2014 by Dr. Lucey at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History on viral epidemics that originated in animals, using the “One Health” approach that integrates human, animal, and environmental health.

What's included

7 videos1 reading1 quiz1 discussion prompt

Module Two provides six examples of epidemics that began months, years or decades before they were first recognized or their viral cause “discovered”. These include HIV-1 (< 1959-1983), Nipah (1998-1999), SARS (2002-2003), MERS (2012-2013), Ebola in Guinea (2013-2014), and Zika clusters of neurological diseases (2014-2016). The unifying theme of this module focusing on past epidemics is: “What’s next is already here, we just haven’t recognized it yet” (refection # 40 of 40). One key objective of this module is to lead the learner to ask what epidemics are already here today in the world, but have not yet been recognized or their cause “discovered”.

What's included

8 videos1 reading1 quiz1 discussion prompt

Module Three focuses on the theme of “anticipate, recognize, act” to build on the previous module with its six past examples of epidemics that were not recognized quickly. Examples are provided of the process and policies whereby the World Health Organization (WHO) evaluates recently recognized epidemics to determine if they should be declared a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern" (PHEICS). Two examples of potential future epidemics and information that should be anticipated and that will be important on Day One (1) are presented. These examples, of the many potential ones, are (1) A Nipah virus epidemic outside south Asia and SE Asia where all past Nipah outbreaks have occurred (e.g., China, Africa, Europe, or the Americas); (2) A multidrug-resistant anthrax epidemic due to the Bacillus anthracis bacteria. In addition, links to over 10 additional outbreaks around the world that have occurred in 2020-2023 are provided in blogs written by the instructor on the “Science Speaks” website of the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA). Examples are analyzed from the contextual framework of “anticipate, recognize, act”. They include mpox (many nations), melioidosis (USA), Langya henipavirus (China), H5N8 avian influenza (Russia), unexplained pneumonia (Argentina), unexplained hepatitis (Europe and USA) and more.

What's included

9 videos1 reading1 quiz1 discussion prompt

Module Four focuses on Medical Humanities and literature regarding both patients and healthcare providers. Several sources of such information include writings by Albert Schweitzer (“Reverence for Life”) Alexander Solzhenitsyn (“Cancer Ward”). In addition, some of the 40 reflections regarding both patients and healthcare worker colleagues from Liberia and the USA. Lastly, a general reference is made to an ongoing 2-volume ‘library collection’ of over 180 medical wisdom stories shared by alumni from the instructor’s Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth with its graduating medical students each year beginning in 2017.

What's included

7 videos1 reading1 quiz1 discussion prompt


Daniel R. Lucey
Dartmouth College
1 Course115 learners

Offered by

Recommended if you're interested in Public Health

Why people choose Coursera for their career

Felipe M.
Learner since 2018
"To be able to take courses at my own pace and rhythm has been an amazing experience. I can learn whenever it fits my schedule and mood."
Jennifer J.
Learner since 2020
"I directly applied the concepts and skills I learned from my courses to an exciting new project at work."
Larry W.
Learner since 2021
"When I need courses on topics that my university doesn't offer, Coursera is one of the best places to go."
Chaitanya A.
"Learning isn't just about being better at your job: it's so much more than that. Coursera allows me to learn without limits."

New to Public Health? Start here.


Open new doors with Coursera Plus

Unlimited access to 7,000+ world-class courses, hands-on projects, and job-ready certificate programs - all included in your subscription

Advance your career with an online degree

Earn a degree from world-class universities - 100% online

Join over 3,400 global companies that choose Coursera for Business

Upskill your employees to excel in the digital economy

Frequently asked questions