Former U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams on Lessons Learned from the Front Lines of the Pandemic
May 4, 2022 | Webinar
What are the best ways for families and business leaders to navigate the current phase of the pandemic? And what might the rest of 2022 bring? Former U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams made a house call to our Wednesdays with Woodward® program and shared his expertise and lessons learned from the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. We explored how our “new normal” could look, got updates on vaccines and boosters, and discussed Dr. Adams’ latest work on expanding health equity.
What did we learn? Here are the top takeaways from Lessons Learned from the Front Lines of the Pandemic with former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams:
Click each key point to jump directly within the webinar to watch and hear more.
What does the U.S. Surgeon General do? Citing his predecessors’ efforts to bring critical public health concerns like smoking, mental health and sex education to the fore, Dr. Adams said the surgeon general’s primary role is to “bring up issues of importance to the American public, so that the public is aware [of the issues], but also so that the public can take actions to protect themselves.”
Overcoming public mistrust has been a challenge. Though official warnings about Ebola, Zika and H1N1 made headlines across the United States, none of those diseases ended up significantly impacting Americans. “Like the boy crying wolf … you have to ring the alarm, but when it doesn’t turn out to be as bad, the people say ‘ah see, we shouldn’t trust you,’” Dr. Adams lamented. “That’s something in the back of your head: At what point do I really ring the bells and say there’s a wolf coming?”
We are in a transition phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. “There is considerable debate about whether we are in a post-pandemic phase,” said Dr. Adams. He believes “we are seeing cases decrease on a global basis, but new variants pop up. We have to decide what we’re going to do moving forward.”
What is THE most important thing you can do to protect yourself against COVID-19? According to Dr. Adams, the answer is simple: get vaccinated and boosted.
There is a COVID-19 treatment … if you can get it. Paxlovid® (a registered trademark of Pfizer Inc.) is a powerful antiviral medication that, taken within days of testing positive, lowers the risk of severe disease and long COVID. “Some people have access to Paxlovid very easily, many do not,” Dr. Adams noted. “We need a better distribution plan. There’s a lot out there. It is sitting on shelves in some communities, but there are other people who literally cannot get it.”
Long COVID is “absolutely a real thing, and it’s a scary thing,” Dr. Adams warned. Its affects include decreased brain size, decreased cognition and increased cardiovascular events, even in mild or asymptomatic cases. His advice? “Lower your chance of getting COVID in the first place” – wear a mask in public places, get vaccinated and boosted, and seek treatment immediately after testing positive.
Masks are effective! Self-protection is one reason Dr. Adams still advises people to mask up in any crowded public space, including planes and airports. Protecting others, particularly vulnerable populations, is another. “I still wear a mask to the grocery store as a sign of compassion and respect for that mother who’s at the grocery store with her 2-year-old who can’t be vaccinated,” he said.
The United States needs a testing strategy. “We’re both testing too little, and too haphazardly,” Dr. Adams remarked. He urged individuals with symptoms to test so, if they are positive, they can get treatment to reduce the severity of infection, as well as isolate to protect others. He also encouraged organizers of big events to utilize rapid testing to help minimize exposures.
Only 35% of kids aged 5-12 have gotten the vaccine. While kids may be low risk for acute COVID, they are still at risk for long COVID, so getting these numbers up is key. “It’s a challenge,” Dr. Adams noted. “We’ve got to press for full approval so that people understand this went through the full process and not just an abbreviated process.” And yes, Dr. Adams practices what he preaches: “All three of my kids are vaccinated.”
Two lessons learned as Surgeon General? All health is local – “we need more localized responses and the power of public-private partnerships. Operation WARP Speed brought a vaccine faster than anyone believed possible because we leveraged everyone to get through the crisis.”
Obesity and mental health remain the nation’s leading health issues. Obesity not only increases the risk of diabetes, infant mortality and cancer, but also complications from COVID-19. And the pandemic has only heightened an already worsening mental health crisis. “If we were able to address these in a meaningful way, you would see everything else out there get better,” Dr. Adams emphasized.
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So, last year, as you remember, on one of my webinars I hosted Dr. Mark McClellan, former FDA Commissioner, as well as hosted Ashish Jha, who is now President Biden's COVID Coordinator in the White House. Today, I'm honored to be joined by a man who was on the front lines for the first year of the battle against COVID-19 and subsequent years, of course, former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams.
Speaker Photos. Text, Joan Woodward. Executive Vice President, Public Policy; President, Travelers Institute, Travelers. Dr. Jerome Adams, Former U.S. Surgeon General, Executive Director of Health Equity Initiatives, Purdue University.
He was appointed to his post in September of 2017. And I'm sure he didn't know that his tenure would include facing one of the biggest pandemics in modern history.
So, prior to serving as surgeon general, Dr. Adams was the Health Commissioner in Indiana and was in private practice in academia before that. He's a board-certified anesthesiologist. He's currently a Presidential Fellow and Executive Director of Health Equity Initiatives at Purdue University.
We have so much to talk about. So, let's get started. Welcome, Dr. Adams. It is really great that you're joining us today.
DISCRIPTION: Jerome Adams joins Joan Woodward on screen.
JEROME ADAMS: Well, it is truly fantastic to be here with you, Joan. And, I got to tell you, it's good company to be among Mark and Ashish. And I imagine you'll get a slightly different perspective on things from me than you got from either of them. But I value their input. And I tell you, Asish is in a difficult spot right now in the White House, trying to deal with many of the same issues that I dealt with, albeit from a slightly different angle.
JOAN WOODWARD: Well, at Wednesdays with Woodward, we like to host different points of view and let everyone else hear those inputs from all sorts of differing viewpoints. So, it's what we do. And it's a good thing to have a healthy discussion.
JEROME ADAMS: It is. It's a great thing.
They both smile. Dr. Adams nods his head.
JOAN WOODWARD: Good. So, I want to start really with your personal journey, because the path that led you to becoming the U.S. surgeon general, the number one top doc in our country, is just remarkable. So, you spend a minute just on how you got there?
JEROME ADAMS: Well, thank you for that. And it's important to understand that I try to bring a little bit or in some cases a lot of my personal experience, my history, my family, my upbringing to conversations that I have with the media and with audiences, but also to policymaking. And I grew up in rural Southern Maryland. And when I say rural, I've taken three helicopter rides in my life. Two were when I was United States surgeon general. One was when I needed to be medevacked from my small critical access hospital in rural Southern Maryland to Children's Hospital in Washington, D.C., because I otherwise would have died.
I'm someone who grew up with severe asthma. And there were lots of triggers in my rural community for my asthma. That environment was not a healthy one for a young boy who's allergic to almost everything that's on the farm. But there weren't a lot of opportunities to meet with pulmonologists and to have access to top-notch care.
So even back then, when I was a little kid, I understood the challenges that some people face in terms of trying to be healthy. Black boys die at a rate that is twice the rate of white girls from asthma. So that was something that my parents and I implicitly understood about my risk factors for even growing up to be an adult, much less a physician and surgeon general of the United States.
And, that leads to another important point. I had a 3.9 GPA. I finished second in my class. It could have been anything I wanted to be. But I never dreamed I could be a doctor.
Why? Well, because I'd never met a doctor who graduated from my rural high school. I didn't think anyone who graduated from the high school that I left would become a doctor. And I'd never met a black doctor in my life, despite being in the hospital frequently, until I actually got to college. That doctor who I met when I was in college, that first African-American physician, was, ironically, Dr. Ben Carson.
JOAN WOODWARD: Oh, really?
JEROME ADAMS: Yes, the first African-American physician I ever met. And so, those are issues that I try to bring to the forefront. And it's why it was important to me to be at the table, because while many of your viewers may have seen me standing next to Donald Trump, in my mind, I saw that little boy who grew up, who's in my rural community right now saying, oh my gosh, he went to my school. And so I could be surgeon general of the United States one day. I see that little black boy who's just walking by the TV playing with his toys but sees me standing next to the most powerful man in the world and says, oh, I could do that, too.
And it's why it's so important that we have representation at the table, even if the leadership is not leadership that you always agree with. When people say to me, how could you stay, and I hear that a lot, my answer to them is how could I not? Knowing how I grew up and knowing who I was fighting for, how could I not? You don't get 100% of what you want by being at the table almost ever. But you get 0% of what you want by not being there.
Joan nods her head.
JOAN WOODWARD: Very well said. Very well said. And I think the role model certainly is critically important, if you could see yourself there and be there. So, I thank you for that perspective. I want to talk a little bit about the role of the surgeon general, because people see the head of the NIH, they see the head of the CDC. What is the specific role or your responsibilities going into that job?
JEROME ADAMS: That is a great question. And it's one that a lot of people, most people don't know. Interestingly enough, even people in D.C., policymakers, legislators don't know what the surgeon general is or what that person does. And it actually created a lot of issues for me, because there are a lot of people who thought that I could do things that I didn't have the authority or the funding to do. They thought I was in conversations that I wasn't necessarily a part of.
And so, it's interesting. I've had people who ask me, are you the President's doctor? And I've actually very much had and still have people who think I was the one that was responsible for decisions about what President Trump did or didn't do regarding his medical care when he had COVID, before that. No, no, that's nothing to do with me. I'm in a completely different role.
So, number one, people see the surgeon general as the voice for health in America. The surgeon general identifies issues that are of concern to the public and raises them to the fore. So, Surgeon General Luther Terry was the first to raise the issue of smoking as an issue of importance. Surgeon General David Satcher rose up mental health and was one of the first people to talk about harm reduction. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders talked about the need to discuss sex education with young people.
And so, you bring up issues that you see are of importance to the American public, highlight them so that the public is aware that they're an issue, but also that the public can take action to protect themselves. Don't smoke. Understand that harm reduction is appropriate.
In my case, one of the things I'm most proud of was the naloxone advisory that I put out as surgeon general. And naloxone dispensing went up 400% nationwide after I put out that advisory. Simply using my voice saved tens of thousands of lives.
But there's another role that people don't know about. The surgeon general is the operational head of the United States Public Health Service Commission Corps. So, there are eight branches of uniformed services. Most people can name four or five for the Jeopardy bonus question-- Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and then Coast Guard.
But there's the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. There's a newly formed Space Force. And there's the United States Public Health Service Commission Corps, the only uniformed service in the world dedicated solely to protecting and promoting health. Six thousand people who serve all over the globe protecting and promoting health and U.S. interests in health.
And the surgeon general is the operational head. So, what does that mean? That means I'm a CEO of a 5-to-6,000-person company. That's a full-time job in and of itself. But then you're also trying to do media appearances and be at the White House so that you can advise the President and travel all over the country.
So, it was an incredibly busy job. And the job that I spent most of the time doing, running that Public Health Service Commission Corps, is the one that is the most invisible to people, albeit the uniform that you get to wear that helps people understand that you are, in some way, shape or form, part of a uniform service.
JOAN WOODWARD: Really interesting. And I'll bet a lot of our viewers on the phone did not, or this webinar, did not realize what the role is. So, thank you. Thank you very much for that.
JEROME ADAMS: Well, one of the coolest, one of the coolest things and hardest things is you're a three-star admiral. And so, you have to go to boot camp. You've got to learn the dynamics of wearing that uniform. And people treat you very differently when you're wearing a uniform.
There are a lot of people in this country who serve or who have served. And they see those three stars. And there's a certain expectation of how you're going to carry yourself and how you interact, how you have to wear the uniform. I've got $4,000 worth of uniforms in my closet in my basement right now that I had to pay for to be part of the uniform service. That is a cost that you have to bear to be surgeon general of the United States that my wife was none too happy about.
JOAN WOODWARD: You had to buy those things?
JEROME ADAMS: Had to buy them myself.
JOAN WOODWARD: Oh, well, we didn't know that either. And you had to go to boot camp? For how long?
JEROME ADAMS: There's a two-week course that you take to join the Public Health Service. The Public Health Service is also an officer-only service. And a lot of the other services aren't officer-only.
So, we bring in people after they have health degrees. So, we have veterinarians. We have nurses. We have pharmacists. We have dentists. Can you come in? [Dr. Adams gestures, imitating how they’ve welcomed all of these professionals].
And it's actually similar to the way these professions enter the Army or the Navy or the Air Force. You come in as an officer and they have officer training school. And they teach you how to wear a uniform, how to engage, what the different expectations are with a uniformed officer versus a civilian.
JOAN WOODWARD: Wow, fascinating, fascinating. OK, so what we're going to do in the next 50 minutes here, we are going to talk a little bit of behind the scenes. What was it really like when you were in that White House, hearing that the pandemic was hitting China and other countries, and worried that it might come to the U.S., and then we're going to talk practical advice for all of our viewers about what to do going forward. Let's think about the future and what we should be doing with masks, vaccines, you name it.
But first, let's go behind the scenes. So, I'm going to say February 2020, but it was probably more like December or January, right, that you were hearing this was happening. And what were you thinking in those very, very early days?
JEROME ADAMS: Well, it's an interesting question you asked, because you have to remember that prior to COVID, we had Ebola. And I was running a State Department of Health when we had Ebola. And as much as Ebola really captured our national attention, we only had a handful of cases of Ebola on U.S. soil. Before that it was Zika. And then before that it was H1N1.
So, we continued to have these things that were like the boy crying wolf, if you will. And I think that's important for people to understand, that one of the challenges you have is you ring the alarm, but then it doesn't turn out to be as bad as you say. And then people say, ah, see, we shouldn't trust you. So that's something that's in the back of your head that you're always trying to figure out: OK, at what point do I really ring the bells and say there's a wolf coming or the British are coming, versus do I say, let's wait and gather some more information?
And so let's talk really quickly about gathering information. I told you there's a lot that people think the surgeon general does or can do that isn't true. I actually was getting information about COVID the same way that most of the public was, by watching the news. I wasn't part of COVID briefings, because the office of the surgeon general is not within the CDC where they're collecting data. It's not within NIH. And it's not embedded within the White House.
So, it's not until there's a reason for you to be there that you're invited into those discussions. And you're not invited in until the White House or other entities feel that they need your voice, your platform to share information to the public. So, a lot of people thought that I was getting information in December, January, et cetera from the inside. I wasn't. I was watching the news just like you all were and then trying to go out there and respond to people at different events that I was at who were asking me questions as if I was getting the same intel that the President was or that the CDC Director was.
That's number one. Number two, important to know that China withheld a lot of information from us. And so, it's very hard to advise people on what to do if you don't have access to that information. And one of the things where we famously were wrong, there's no other way to put it, is on masking. And it was because we had never encountered a respiratory virus up until that point where 50% of people were spreading it asymptomatically.
And so, we advised people, based on everything we knew about respiratory viruses-- and China knew they were seeing high levels of asymptomatic spread, but they weren't sharing that information with us. So, we told the public, you don't need masks, because that's what the information and the science suggested at the time. That's why the CDC and the WHO recommended it.
Well, unfortunately, a few weeks later, the information leaked out. We figured out that there was high degrees of asymptomatic spread. We changed our recommendations accordingly. That's the way science is supposed to work. But then people said, see, you can't trust them. They told you one thing three weeks ago and now they're telling you something completely different.
It was also interesting looking at the political dynamics. So, people talk about how Republicans downplayed the virus, but they often forget that Nancy Pelosi was in the streets of Chinatown saying, we're not going to shut down Chinatown. Governor Cuomo of New York actually told us if you try to shut down New York City, that will be like an act of war. So, we were fighting with politicians across the country on a state and local level about whether or not we should raise the alarm to a higher level.
And the alarm finally got raised at a very interesting point that I think your viewers will appreciate when I actually tell them this. When I'm speaking to audiences, I often ask them, when did the pandemic become real for you? And the moment, in my opinion, when the pandemic became real for America was when that Oklahoma City Utah Jazz basketball game got canceled. That is when America all of a sudden said, oh, this is real. And then a few days later, the NCAA tournament got pulled down.
So, it wasn't when the CDC said to be careful. It wasn't when the surgeon general came out and said to be careful. It wasn't when any particular politician said, oh, this is a big deal. It was when their sports got affected that all of a sudden America said, this is real. And It's an interesting lesson about how we need to reach out to people and what motivates them to act or react and where we need to have these communications.
JOAN WOODWARD: Yeah, I remember when Adam Silver, I was at a lunch with him in Washington, D.C. And they just decided to pull those games. And it was like, for real? You're really taking this entertainment away from the American people at this moment in time?
And, then I think you're right: When it hit people in the face that those kinds of events could not happen because of the pandemic that they really took it seriously. So, we do. You're right. We need to engage with our entire different industries, entertainment industry, I mean, just having the public service announcements out there about vaccines come from some of those influencers. Like it or not, but the Hollywood star is talking to people to get a vaccine, right? I mean, that's--
JEROME ADAMS: Exactly. Well, and I think there's another important point there that your viewers would love in terms of a peek behind the curtain. So, you are 1,000% correct. We need to engage with movie stars, with entertainers, with sports figures in order to get the message across, because people will do something because LeBron James or Brad Pitt says to do it or Dua Lipa says to do it when they won't do it because the surgeon general of the United States says to do it.
And one of the challenging things about the political climate that we're in, and this is the peek behind the curtain, is I was constantly reaching out to these celebrities and they were constantly refusing to engage with me because they didn't like President Trump. And so it made it incredibly difficult to leverage these other ways of reaching people because the politics caused them to not want to engage.
CeCe Winans, famous gospel singer and one of the most famous gospel singers of all time, actually did a webinar with me that had nothing to do with politics. We didn't talk about politics at all. We were talking about how people can stay safe from COVID and continue to worship. And so, it was a doctor and a celebrity musician having a conversation.
She got ripped to shreds. She got ripped to shreds in the public eye for daring to talk to Trump's surgeon general. And I say that to people because I want you to understand that when you ask why people aren't doing some of these engagements that make sense, a lot of times it's because there are other barriers behind the scenes. And if we continue to let our own biases impact how we view these types of engagements, we're going to discourage people on both sides from wanting to work together for health.
JOAN WOODWARD: That truly is a lesson learned for the public good. So, I appreciate you. Sometimes it's hard to hear this, right, and you may be on different sides of the aisle. My audience, I'm sure you have people all over the place in their political spectrum. But the point is we want to do the right thing, right, for the American people and get out the information in a way that makes sense for the country.
So, I appreciate you sharing those perspectives with us. And, of course, you were there. And I'm sure you have a lot more stories of what happened behind the scenes. But let's actually fast-forward, because we all then lived through all MSNBC, CNN, Fox News for the last two and a half years. So, put aside the cable talking heads and let's get back to the science for a little bit and talk about the future.
So, I have to say, Fauci said, Dr. Anthony Fauci said last week that we're in a transition phase out of a full-blown explosive pandemic, quote unquote, but the world is still in a pandemic. So, it's confusing, right? So where are we, Dr. Adams, right now in terms of the phase of the pandemic in your own words?
JEROME ADAMS: Well, I want people to understand that Dr. Fauci, Tony, has been using this language throughout. He's been using it throughout. And it's just, it's funny that people just now paid attention to it.
But again, that's a lesson about communication, is sometimes the words that you say hit differently depending on when you're saying them. And we're at a point in time where there is considerable debate, not just Republican versus Democrat, but amongst people on both sides of the aisle about whether we are in a post-pandemic phase or we're still in the throes of acute rises in cases. That's a debate that's going on.
Should we be opening up for the summer? Should we be hunkering down? Should we be having mask mandates? Or should they be all going away?
And so, important to understand that what Dr. Fauci was saying is when you look at the science, the science says that you have a pandemic phase where you have a rapid explosion of cases. And then you stay at a high level. And then the pandemic phase, as it comes down, you go into a transition phase, where you see global cases start to decrease.
That's what he was describing. He was scientifically correct in what he was saying. And he was actually consistent with what he's been saying all along.
But, from a communication with the public standpoint, they didn't hear that the pandemic phase is over. They heard Tony Fauci saying the pandemic is over. And those are two different things.
And it's an important conversation to have, because one of the challenges is Tony Fauci is one of the greatest communicators we've had in public health. And on this one, even he swung and missed. And so it's really challenging when we have doctors and when we have health professionals who don't have communications training out there, using their wonky words and their scientific ways of explaining things to a lay public that often hears them very differently.
Here's where we are from my standpoint. We're in a situation where we are seeing cases decrease on a global basis, but we're continuing to see new variants pop up. And so we have to decide what we're going to do moving forward. We have more tools available from a development standpoint than we've ever had before. And so, there's debate about, OK, if we have these tools, then should we be utilizing the same restrictions and mitigations that we've used before?
Now, I say from a development standpoint because what we don't have is equitable distribution. Some people have access to Paxlovid very easily. Some, many do not. Some people can get a KN95 mask off of Amazon like I order for me and my family. Many people cannot do that.
There are many people who have access to physicians to get their questions answered about vaccines and boosters and they've chosen to get vaccinated and boosted. A lot of the country does not. And,actually, the biggest predictor of whether or not you're vaccinated, interestingly enough, and boosted if whether or not you have health insurance.
That's an odd statement. And some of you will realize why it's odd, but it's odd because the vaccines and boosters are free. So, it's not a cost issue. But to me and what many people believe is it's indicative of if you don't have health insurance, you don't have a primary-care provider. If you don't have a primary-care provider, you don't have someone you can trust to get your questions answered about vaccines and boosters or to make that recommendation to you.
And so, you go to Facebook or you go to Twitter or you go on TikTok. And you're fed misinformation. And so important to understand that not everyone has these tools.
So, from my standpoint, we are in a phase where we need to focus on equity. We need to make sure we're equitably distributing the tools to people so that they can make intelligent decisions and informed decisions about whether they want to go to a wedding or whether they want to wear a mask or whether they want to get a third or fourth shot. And until we do that, then we're going to continue to see disparities increase and continue to see certain subpopulations harmed by this virus as new variants pop up. And the shame is it doesn't have to be that way, because we do have the capability. We just haven't had the overall execution and distribution of that capability to protect people.
Joan nods her head.
JOAN WOODWARD: Again, very well said and very clear. So, thank you, thank you for that. I want to move on to herd immunity. So, we know the CDC said three out of every five people in America now have had COVID already. And about one in four have had it for the first time during these winter months and Omicron. So, does this mean we have or we're getting to herd immunity? And if so, how long would that last?
JEROME ADAMS: So, the clearest answer I can give you to that question is we don't know. Every time someone makes a prediction about what this virus is going to do, they end up with egg on their face. And so, we don't know.
Now, let me tell you what I actually think. I think that based on these new variants that we're seeing that actually are showing immune escape, and immune escape means-- I want to describe this to folks-- it means that you have antibodies. You have immunity. But this new variant still can infect you.
We're seeing increasing immune escape as these variants are adapting. And so, the unfortunate answer for you all is that just having prior infection or even having a vaccination is no guarantee that you're not going to get reinfected or harmed moving forward, especially as we continue to see new waves pop up. The safest and most effective thing that we can do is to get vaccinated and get boosted so that we have sufficient protection to limit our chances of getting infected moving forward.
And there's also hope that especially with a booster that that may lower your chances of long COVID. That may lower your chances of other negative sequelae. We know it lowers your chances of hospitalization and death. But for me and my family and anyone who I'm talking to, what I say to them very plainly is the data suggests that you cannot rely on prior infection as a means to protect you long-term against COVID.
Yes, it does help. It's better than nothing. And we absolutely need to acknowledge that, too. People say, well, you don't acknowledge prior infection as a source of immunity. I absolutely do. It helps. But it is not as good as vaccination plus booster in terms of total effect, consistent effect across a population, and in terms of duration of effect.
JOAN WOODWARD: OK, let's move on to testing. So, testing became a really big thing about four or five months ago. The government started handing out test kits. Who should be testing and when? Are we testing too much or too little? Is all this home testing really accurate in your view? So, give us your whole take on testing.
JEROME ADAMS: Well, number one, home testing is absolutely accurate. It is. We have to understand the difference between an antigen test, which is a home test, and a PCR test in terms of what they do and don't do. And we've done a poor job of explaining that versus an antibody test. And I actually use antibody tests also to help make decisions and help other people make decisions.
You ask, do we test too much or too little? In my opinion, we're both testing too little, but we're also testing too haphazardly. There is no testing strategy. The average person doesn't know when should I or shouldn't I test. The average school or workplace still doesn't know when should I or shouldn't I test people and what should I do based on those test results?
I've been saying this for quite a while. We need a testing strategy for individuals. We need to help them understand, look, if you have symptoms, you need to get tested. And you need to get tested so that you can take measures to protect you and the people around you from an isolation standpoint.
But you also need to get tested so that you can get access to treatment that's available, like Paxlovid, if you test positive. The fact is that works best when you get it early on. And so, your best chance of making it through an infection without sequelae on the back side is by getting tested. We need to help, again, businesses and places that are having events, like the gridiron and like the White House Correspondents' Association dinner, understand, hey, this is how you can utilize rapid testing to create a safer environment. It's not going to be safe, but a safer environment.
So, for instance, I was in Phoenix yesterday. I tested myself before I went into that environment to make sure I wasn't bringing a virus to other people. And I tested myself when I came back home. And I'll test myself again in a few days to protect my family.
So, we need to give people real strategic advice on how to utilize these testing and which test to use to protect themselves. For antibody testing, I tested myself and my wife to see if we had sufficient levels of antibodies so we would know whether or not to go out and pursue a fourth shot. And we've gotten our boosters. But we have robust antibody levels, according to antibody tests. So, from our standpoint, we didn't need to get a fourth shot just yet.
But again, that's, again, a strategy that many Americans don't even know about, much less have access to. So, I think we need to do more testing. I think we need to do more coordinated testing. I think we need the federal government, quite frankly, to give people more guidance as individuals, as folks in charge of gatherings, as people in charge of workplaces and schools and organization in terms of how to utilize the array of testing tools that we have in a strategic way.
And then the final point is a lot of these home tests aren't being reported. So, we're seeing cases rise again. Almost every scientist agrees we're just seeing the tip of the iceberg, because most of the positives are popping up at home. And then people are self-isolating hopefully or choosing what to do based on those tests. But they aren't calling their health department and saying, hey, I'm positive. So, they aren't being reported back.
That's all part of a strategy, is figuring out how do we do surveillance? How do we get reporting? How do we get test-to-treat up and going the way we want it to? And what does it mean for the average person out there to utilize these tests in a way to best protect themselves?
JOAN WOODWARD: That's wonderful. And we certainly can relate to you because we had a number of Travelers conferences, most notably our Travelers Leadership Conference, with a number of our top agents. And we did ask them to test before they left home or asked them to test when they arrived on site. And we all, of course, tested.
And so, testing frequently, especially when you're going to those large conferences, and we all know, we're in insurance. We love our conferences. We love to get together with our agents and brokers. We love it. And we're starting to really turn on the faucet and the spigot around especially coming up this fall a number of conferences out there. So, I think that's wonderful advice for all of us, to test, especially when you're going to an event or when you get home.
JEROME ADAMS: Exactly. Well, I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't take advantage of this opportunity to make this strong recommendation to you all as a company. If you're going to be hosting a gathering with people, especially unmasked, you should provide rapid tests for people. And that's what I recommend to companies. That's what I suggest to organizations when I'm going out. Hey, utilize these tools. These tools mean nothing if you have to keep them on the shelf.
You can make choices about masking, but I also recommend that you provide N95 masks to people, because you never know who's coming, who's vulnerable or not. So, give everyone the tools. If you're going to say you have the option to mask or not, give them the best possible mask. Give everyone rapid testing so that they can come in and at least lower your risk of testing in. And then I also recommend that they give people a second test so that they can test out, so when they go home, they can feel like they're not taking something from the conference back home to their loved ones.
JOAN WOODWARD: Terrific advice. Thank you for that. You talked about Paxlovid. So Paxlovid is this new antiviral. So, if someone has COVID, they should, immediately when they find out that they have COVID, they should go to their doctor and ask for the Paxlovid antiviral. Or is it widely available now?
JEROME ADAMS: Well, there's a lot of it out there. But that's not the same thing as widely available. And that's, again, what I said. It's been developed. It's sitting on shelves in some communities. But there are other people who literally cannot get it.
And so, we need to have a better distribution plan, number one. Number two, we need to better educate both patients and providers about who is eligible for Paxlovid. And the truth is, darn near everyone is eligible for Paxlovid. You heard about many folks in the White House who recently been infected who wouldn't-- who as far as we know aren't high risk, but they are still, they’ve still been given Paxlovid.
And so we need individuals to understand that. And we need providers to understand that, because the thought is that not only will it lower your chance of severe disease and hospitalization and death, and it absolutely does that. That's why it was approved. But there's good reason to believe it's going to lower the amount of time you're infectious. So, you're less likely to spread the virus to other people.
And there's also some reason to believe that it may lower your chance of long COVID. And so, what I would say to you all out there is if you have been exposed and/or if you have symptoms, get tested. And then you can go to covid.gov and figure out where Paxlovid is available around you through the Test-to-Treat program. But try to get, find out if you're eligible and get started on Paxlovid or one of the other oral antivirals.
That's not the only one. There's molnupiravir and there are other ones in development. But right now, we've got treatments, but those treatments don't do anything if they're sitting on a pharmacy shelf.
JOAN WOODWARD: Got it. Got it. And so, by taking that antiviral, it could reduce your risk of long COVID, as you said. Let's talk about long COVID, because you hear people who have had COVID maybe once or twice, last year or maybe even in 2020, and they have these lingering effects. So, this is a real thing, right, long COVID?
Dr. Adams nods his head.
JEROME ADAMS: It absolutely is a real thing. And it's a scary thing. And you're just now within the last month hearing more and more people talk about it, I think because we're far enough out from a lot of these acute cases that you're hearing more and more people complain about it.
And here's what's scary about long COVID. We've seen increases in diabetes diagnoses of people who have had COVID. We've seen decreased brain size and decreased cognition in people who have had long COVID. We've seen increased cardiovascular events in people after COVID.
And this isn't, I'm not talking about the people who were hospitalized. These are in people who had mild infections, mildly symptomatic infections. And it's one of the reasons, in my mind, that the White House was so aggressive about treating the folks who were actually diagnosed with COVID, even though they report that they were mildly symptomatic or asymptomatic.
So long COVID is something we're worried about. They're starting up a registry so that they can keep track and track people out. But the things you can do to protect yourself from long COVID, the most important thing you can do is to lower your chance of getting COVID in the first place by protecting yourself, not putting yourself at undue risk.
I still wear an N95 mask when I travel on planes. And when I'm in large public places with people I don't know, I'll wear an N95 mask. I also am boosted. And we don't know that boosters will directly lower your chance of getting long COVID, but here's what we do know: We know that if you're boosted, it lowers your chance of actually getting COVID in the first place.
And if you don't get COVID in the first place, then you're going to have a lower-- you're not going to get long COVID. So, boosting actually lowers your chance of getting long COVID because it lowers your chance of getting COVID. Those are things you can do to protect yourself from long COVID, because we don't know what we don't know. But what we actually do know is pretty darn scary right now about long COVID.
Joan nods her head.
JOAN WOODWARD: OK, thank you for that. I like what-- not that I like what you said, but we don't know what we don't know with this virus, right? Who knows how this is going to play out over the next several years? So, you said you personally choose to wear a mask on a plane. And so, I've been on planes, most recently a lot. And I'm wearing a mask on a plane.
Is that your recommendation for most people? I know people hate it. I know everyone's clapping when the pilots said it's optional now. But, is that your best advice, that we should still be wearing this on crowded, enclosed planes, trains et cetera?
JEROME ADAMS: That is my advice to my loved ones, to my family and friends, to people who ask me that question. And here's why-- on the plane, when the plane is in the sky moving, the HEPA filters are running. It is absolutely true that studies have shown that is a low-risk environment.
But the problem is those fans and filters aren't running most of the time you're actually on the plane in most cases. And what I mean by that is when I fly from Indianapolis to Chicago, I'm sitting on the tarmac more than I'm in the air. And so, the majority of the time I'm actually on the plane in that tight metal tube next to people, those HEPA filters aren't running. So, it actually is a perfect COVID petri dish, if you will, during those times. That's number one.
Number two, there are still children out there under the age of five who can't get vaccinated. There are vulnerable people on that plane who you may be exposing to the virus if you don't wear a mask. So, there's protecting yourself and then there’s protecting other people.
And so, for all of those reasons, I recommend wearing a mask when you're on the plane, also when you're at the airport, because I think one of the probably riskiest time for people is when you're going through TSA or when you're loading the plane, when you're packed in that tight little line next to people. Those are times when you're also in close space with people who may be infectious and who may not be wearing a mask.
And the other thing is you can find many comfortable ones. You can find KN95s, KF94s that are pretty darn comfortable from my standpoint and can protect you from getting COVID and getting long COVID. So, my recommendation: yes, when you're traveling, when you're in crowded public spaces, I still wear a mask to the grocery store also, again, to protect myself, but also as a sign of compassion and respect for that mother who's at the grocery store with her two-year-old who can't be vaccinated because she doesn't have a choice and she's got to bring her kid with her to the store, to provide comfort for her, too. Just because it's not mandatory doesn't mean that we still shouldn't do it from a scientific standpoint and also from the perspective of just being compassionate to people around us who may not be in the position to protect themselves.
JOAN WOODWARD: Well, let's stay on the topic of kids, because a lot of my guests, obviously, have kids under the age of five. So, it looks like only 35% of kids 5 to 12 have actually got the Pfizer vaccine. And we know Moderna has applied now. So how do we get more kids vaccinated? Is there some sort of public service campaign or another way we can try to encourage parents to get their kids 5 to 12 vaccinated?
JEROME ADAMS: Well, it's a challenge. It really is a challenge, because the vaccine for kids is still under EUA. And so that's a barrier that we've got to overcome. We've got to keep doing the research and pressing the companies and the government to do the research to get full approval so that people understand that this went through the full process and not just an abbreviated process.
I will also say to folks that I got my kids, all three of my kids, vaccinated. Why?
Dr. Adams shrugs.
Because I want to protect them from acute COVID. I want to protect them from long COVID.
And everyone says kids are low risk. Yes, kids are low risk for hospitalization and death from acute COVID. But we don't know what we don't know about long COVID. I don't want my kids getting exposed to a disease that shows even when it's mildly symptomatic can decrease their cognition, can decrease their brain size, can increase their risk for diabetes moving forward. So, we want to protect them.
We need to share the reasons why people are vaccinating their kids, because all they've heard so far is, eh, kids are low risk. So, I'm not going to give them this experimental vaccine. If we educate people about all the benefits-- I also got my kids vaccinated because I don't want them to get sick and miss school. I don't want them to have to miss sports.
There are other benefits to vaccinating your child besides, eh, they won't die, because guess what? Most kids don't die from measles. But we still vaccinate them to prevent spread, to keep them in schools and to prevent other sequelae that can happen.
And so, I think we need to talk about the other benefits. We've made this binary. We've made it all or none. Either you don't do what we tell you and you're going to die or we do what we tell you and you're going to be just fine. And the truth is in between, that nothing's a guarantee, but there are many benefits that accrue from taking mitigation measures, including vaccinating yourself and your kids.
But the other thing we have to understand is that we keep looking at COVID in a bubble. The flu vaccination rates for most kids in any given year is under 50%. So, actually, 35% is not great. It's not where I want it to be. But it ain't much worse than the flu vaccination rates in any given year.
And why I tell people that is because you don't want to go out there with this pessimistic, eh, no one's going to do it anyway attitude. You want to understand realistically where we're starting from in this country from a position of vaccine hesitancy and awareness and then build from there and help people understand, well, actually, 1 in 3 of your classmates is vaccinated. And that's the same rate as flu. And that's a good thing. Now let's talk about why you should get vaccinated or get your child vaccinated, too.
Joan nods her head.
JOAN WOODWARD: Right. Terrific. I want to shift to an audience question. We have a number of audience questions. We're going to try to get to as many as we can here.
JEROME ADAMS: I'll try to answer quicker, too. We'll ‘do a rapid fire. But I love the questions you're asking. There's a lot of nuance there.
JOAN WOODWARD: But this one, actually, we might spend a minute on it, because it's extremely important. So, your predecessor, Dr. Vivek Murthy said that even before the pandemic, the U.S. was really facing an epidemic of loneliness. So, changes in technology, work, working from home, edging out of these real relationships and connections we've had-- so even before the pandemic, this trend was really starting, and especially with our teenage population. So, what can we do to address this mental health crisis we're having after these two years of isolation? And what is your best recommendation for parents, especially of those teen kids who have this mental health challenge for them right now?
JEROME ADAMS: Well, I was so glad to see my friend Dr. Murthy highlight this. And, this is something we've seen coming for a while. When you look at the opioid epidemic and how that's evolved over the last several decades, when you-- there was a book called “Bowling Alone” that I love. And this book is now almost 20 years old, but it was talking about how the fraying of our social support networks out there are causing more people to withdraw. They're not in bowling leagues anymore.
I lived in D.C. for three and a half years. And, my neighbors, I only knew about half of them the whole time I was there. People don't go out and socialize anymore. They don't talk to one another. And that's impacting our mental health.
And another one of the challenges is that a long time ago from a medical standpoint we cut the head off from the rest of the body. And what I mean by that is if it happens from the neck down, your primary-care physician will see you now and your insurance card will pay for it.
But if it happens from the neck up, whether it's mental health or oral health or vision health, we consider it a luxury item. It's an add on. It's something you've got to pay extra for and something you've got to wait six months to get in to see someone for.
So, the pandemic provides us an opportunity to see the problems that have been brewing for decades, quite frankly, and to really reframe mental health as integral to overall health. It's not the tinted windows on the car. It's the engine that makes the vehicle go.
If you're not healthy mentally, your diabetes rates are going to suffer. You're going to be more likely to have hypertension. You're going to be more likely to have problems with infant and maternal mortality. We make everything better when we pay attention to our mental health.
And then we also have to build communities that are supportive of mental health. So, it's not just about medical services on the back end. It's about prevention. And they've shown that investing in community programs, that having YMCA programs and summer programs and mentorship programs actually support the mental health of young people and provide resilience, which can actually lower teenage pregnancy rates, lower incarceration rates, increase high school graduation rates and college attendance. These are things that we should be investing in to promote youth mental health so that we can actually not have to deal with the downstream problems later on.
Joan nods her head.
JOAN WOODWARD: Thank you for that. I'm going to ask about-- there’s a couple of questions coming in. You know we had the smoking crisis, right? And everyone back in the '70s decided that this is a public health crisis for that decade. And there was public service campaigns and the government was very involved.
Then we kind of moved on. We had seat belt usage, right, and how many fatalities, how many deaths were prevented because people started wearing seat belts. So, what do you think this decade in the 2020s, what is this decade's challenge of health care? You mentioned opioid addiction or obesity, diabetes, mental health, teen vaping. Dr. Gottlieb was dealing with teen vaping while at the FDA. So, what is, in your view, is kind of the top two public health crises that we need to really pay attention to going forward?
JEROME ADAMS: Well, you mentioned Dr. Gottlieb. Scott and I worked together to put out a surgeon general's advisory, one of the first and the last 10 years on youth vaping and raising awareness about that. But I would say to you-- well, and you also brought up seat belt laws and smoking. What's interesting is I want to remind people who are frustrated at our pace of vaccination that it took us 50 years both to get seat belt laws from the time the issue was first raised and 50 years to outlaw smoking on airplanes.
JOAN WOODWARD: Wow, 50 years? It took us 50 years to outlaw smoking on airplanes?
JEROME ADAMS: 50 years from the time that people first said, maybe we shouldn't be doing this, to actually getting to a point where we had regulations and rules mandating that people either do it or not do it accordingly. And so, we have to know our history and understand that actually, we always knew it was going to take a while to get people around the idea of vaccines, and especially vaccine mandates. I just wanted to say that.
But to answer your question really succinctly, the two biggest issues, and no pun intended here, are obesity and mental health. Obesity increases your risk of high blood pressure, of cancer, of diabetes, of infant and maternal mortality, of COVID complications. There are few diseases out there that aren't made worse with obesity or that aren't caused in many cases by obesity. And until we promote better nutrition, better access and equitable access to healthy food choices, we're going to continue to see all these other areas suffer. So that's number one.
And number two, we already talked about mental health. But we're seeing our mental health go in the wrong direction in this country. And it's another one of those real upstream predictors that drives everything else in the wrong direction.
So, we can have the best diabetes medication in the world, and someone is not going to take it if they're depressed. We can have the best prenatal care in the world, but a mother and baby are still at risk if she's anxious or depressed or has mental health issues at home. And so, obesity, mental health, the two biggest issues. And if we were able to address those in a meaningful way, you would see everything else out there get better.
JOAN WOODWARD: OK, a couple of other comments and questions coming in. First, do you have any intention for running for president? Because I would vote for you in a second.
JEROME ADAMS: [LAUGHS] You know, what's funny is my wife-- and many of you all know this. I'm very, very public about my family, because I think it's important that we lead by example and that people know, hey, I'm going through this just as you all are. And my wife actually was diagnosed with metastatic melanoma when she moved to Washington, D.C. And she's doing well now. I always have to immediately follow up with that she's doing well now.
But my family, my wife, my kids sacrificed tremendously for me to be able to go to D.C. So, the answer to your question, my wife has told me not until the kids get into college and we're settled in a good space do I want you considering doing anything like this ever again. And I say that with a smile on my face.
But I really worry at the way we attack public servants nowadays. We come after them. And that actually causes good people to say, no, I'm not doing this. I'm not doing this for my own sake and I'm not going to do it for the sake of my family.
And then what happens when good people don't step up is there's a vacuum. And a vacuum is always filled. It's always filled. It may be filled by somebody, it's likely to be filled by somebody who you don't like.
So, we need to support public servants. And, that said, maybe when my kids get to college and are doing fine, I might consider public service again. But for right now, I made a promise to my wife that this was going to be it for a while.
But thank you for the kind words. I really appreciate it. I speak from the heart. And I encourage others to do the same. And I hope you all can find someone in your communities who you can support and get behind, because that's the other thing we're seeing now, is that when we don't get involved and support good people, then bad things can happen from a public policy standpoint.
JOAN WOODWARD: And I just have to mention, actually, just because you just triggered something, at Travelers we actually stood up a new program called Citizen Travelers. And it encourages all of our employees to get engaged in your communities, join the school board, join the local elections board, because we want our employees actually to have a sense of community and service and public service. And so, we have this huge program.
If any of our listeners are interested in copying our program, we're going to roll it out to our agents and brokers, as our CEO said. We want we want people to be engaged in their communities and with civil service and public service. So, thank you for mentioning that. It gave me a nice tee up. OK, quickly—
JEROME ADAMS: And I want to support that. I actually wrote a report called “Community Health and Economic Prosperity.” We wrote it with the UVA Darden School of Business, with the Business Roundtable, with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It was the first ever report of its kind from the surgeon general's office, because it wasn't written for a health audience. It was written for a business audience.
And the premise therein is that businesses do better when communities are healthier, because you have a healthier workforce. You have more of a pool to recruit from. You actually have lower health care expenses. And health care is the number two expense for most companies.
We all do better when we support community involvement and healthier communities. And kudos to Travelers for doing that. And I encourage all of you all to take advantage of it, because you're in a better place than a lot of people out there because you have a company like Travelers who will support you as you try to support your community.
JOAN WOODWARD: Thank you for that. We're very proud of it. OK, this is a rapid-fire question. So, what exactly are the coins over Dr. Adams' left shoulder? And what are you collecting there?
JEROME ADAMS: So, it's a military and uniform service tradition. They're called challenge coins. And so, when you meet other people who served either in the military or firefighters, police officers do it, they trade these coins. And the tradition behind it is the next time you see that person; they pull out their coin and you pull out your coin. And if one of you doesn't have your coin, then you're supposed to buy that person a drink.
But you customize and personalize these coins. And they're a real honor. I've got one on there that I just got from actually Xavier Becerra, the current HHS Secretary, came in the mail yesterday in appreciation for my work on infant and maternal mortality. But some of the coolest ones I've gotten have been through traveling all over the country, from police chiefs, from firefighters, from people who served in the military who were just as excited as they can be to get a challenge coin from me, the surgeon general of the United States.
And that was one of the most fun things about my job, was getting out and traveling. Oh my gosh, it was so good to get outside of D.C. And you know this. You know this. D.C. is a bubble. It is. And it's a bubble where everything is about politics and everything is framed in a certain way.
And it's really easy to get sucked into that bubble, trapped into that way of thinking, until you go out into the public, into the rest of America, and you realize most people couldn't care less about most of the things that we're talking about in Washington, D.C. They're just families. They're just people who served. They're just people who want what's best for their communities.
And so, I appreciate that question. Those coins really represent the people who I've met as surgeon general of the United States from all over the country who thought enough of me to give me a piece of them. And so, I display them on my wall proudly.
Dr. Adams smiles.
JOAN WOODWARD: It's wonderful. That's really wonderful. OK, another question for you. This comes from Andrew Harris. Andrew asked: Given all that has happened, and while this might be a once-in-a-lifetime event, what is Dr. Adams' biggest lesson, key takeaway to help us all in the future?
JEROME ADAMS: Well, this isn't going to be a once-in-a-lifetime event, unfortunately, in my prediction, because we're just starting to see the pace pick up. We're seeing climate change impacting the spread of diseases, which is why you saw Ebola, Zika, COVID. These are all animal reservoirs and infectious diseases that are spreading. You see globalization. So, a disease that once was a month away or impenetrable in terms of getting into your nation is now a plane ride away, a few hours away from you. So, unfortunately, we're going to see more of it.
But lessons learned, number one, all health is local. One of the challenges we had with messaging in the beginning of the pandemic, quite frankly, is that first the disease was in China. And so, we said, it's not a U.S. problem, it’s in China.
And then it was in Washington, the state of Washington. Remember the nursing home outbreak? And people said, well, it's just a problem there.
And then it was in New York. And it hit New York hard. And we shut down because New York was getting devastated. We shut down the whole country.
But people in Montana, people in Wyoming, people in Mississippi were like, well, why are we shutting down? Why are my kids not going to school? It's not a problem here. We need to understand all health is local. And we need to have more localized conversations about how to respond.
Another lesson learned was the power of public-private partnerships. So, we leveraged cooperation with businesses like Travelers, with companies through Operation Warp Speed to do things that had never, ever been done before and that we previously believed were impossible. Nobody believed we were going to have a vaccine by the end of 2020. Nobody, Nobody. That is a modern-day miracle that happened because of public-private partnerships.
And so those are two of the big lessons that I learned. All health is local, and we need to leverage everyone out there in order to get through tough crises. And if we do that, sometimes we'll do things that we never dreamed possible.
JOAN WOODWARD: Well, Dr. Adams, I cannot thank you enough. This hour just flew by for me.
JEROME ADAMS: It's already been an hour?
JOAN WOODWARD: It has been amazing. You were just really a terrific, first of all, speaker-- your expertise on science. I love that you made clear recommendations to us, because we're all returning to the office. And we want to know about testing and masks and getting on a plane and coming to a big conference. So, you covered the waterfront for my audience.
And I'm just so grateful. We would love to have you back maybe next year to talk about where we are then and other topics that you're so expert in. So, I'm incredibly grateful. Thank you.
JEROME ADAMS: Wonderful. Thank you so much. One of the most important things you can do for you and your family is to get your booster. It literally is a simple measure that we can take that will provide you with significant and meaningful protection as we go into this new world.
And then just use the tools in the toolkit. We do have more tools than ever before available. But we need to make sure they're equitably available. And we need to utilize them, because the tools don't do any-- they don't build a house if they stay in the toolbox. So, build your own personal protective house, however you want it to look like, but don't leave any of those tools on the shelf. They all have a use at different times in different places.
And thank you all for having me. I just really appreciate the opportunity, again, to talk to regular people and to be in a venue that's not-- like I said, I was on CNN yesterday. I was on Newsmax this morning. It's a very different conversation than the one that you and I have had today. And I appreciate the opportunity.
JOAN WOODWARD: Terrific. Terrific. So, to my audience, let's talk about what's coming up in May and in June. We've got amazing programming. Next week we're on a much lighter topic. We're going to take you behind the scenes of the Travelers Championship, which is the PGA TOUR, the world-class PGA TOUR event that happens in Hartford every June.
Text, Upcoming Webinars: May 11, Live from the 19th Hole: Behind the Scenes at the Travelers Championship. May 25, How's My Driving? Telematics and the Insurance Experience. June 1, Storm Warning: Managing the Risk of Increasing Hurricane Catastrophes. June 8, Hacked! What's Your Plan? June 29, The Exponential Risk of Nuclear Verdicts. Register, travelers institute dot org.
So, join us with the tournament director, Nathan Grube. And it's really cool. We have a video of behind the scenes in the clubhouse. You'll love that.
And then May 25, telematics, so if you're on personal lines or even in commercial lines, telematics and what's going on with the insurance experience there. June 1, kicking off hurricane preparedness season, folks. It's around the corner. We're going to have lots of experts talk about the forecasting of how many hurricanes we're going to face and what to do about it. June 8, we're back on the topic of cybersecurity in Hacked! What's your plan? Assuming you've been hacked, what can you do first, second and third, with great experts there.
And then we have June 29, this is a very important one for our industry, the exponential rise of nuclear verdicts in trials. So terrific experts from the Institute for Legal Reform and our own Claim General Counsel Alexia Cruz. So, don't miss that one.
Register for any of our programs at travelersinstitute.org. Connect up with me on LinkedIn. So, we'd love to have a connection. I post a lot of our summaries. If you've missed this or partially missed this session today, we're going to send you an email with a replay.
And then we also have a survey. We'd love to hear what other topics and what other guests you want me to bring on the show. So, have a great afternoon, my friends. And I will see you next week to talk about golf.
One of my new pandemic passions is golf. I know that people who know me, they don't believe it. But it turns out I might actually be a golfer. Talk to you all soon. Enjoy your afternoon. Thanks for joining us.
Watch Replays, travelers institute dot org. LinkedIn Connect, Joan Kois Woodward. Take Our Survey, Link in chat. Hashtag, Wednesdays with Woodward. Logo, Travelers Institute, Travelers.
Dr. Jerome Adams
Former U.S. Surgeon General, Executive Director of Health Equity Initiatives at Purdue University
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