Experts answer your back-to-school questions on ‘Coronavirus House Calls’

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In this back-to-school edition of Nexstar’s Coronavirus House Calls, health, school safety, and sports experts help fill in the blanks about COVID-19 and this unprecedented academic year.


CBS 42’s Art Franklin

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — America’s getting ready for a big test. To ace this unprecedented school year, we’ll need to learn about much more than reading, writing, and arithmetic. Ensuring a safe return to the classroom starts with education—about COVID-19.

With uncertainty surrounding the virus’ behavior in children and teens, worries persist with both in-person and virtual instruction. And as the death—and mental health—toll from the coronavirus pandemic continue to rise in the U.S., we’re looking past statistics. This Sunday, we’re here to talk about your back-to-school concerns, differentiate between fact and fiction, and move from fear to hope as we navigate this “new normal” together.

That’s why we’ve assembled a panel of top health and education to answer your biggest questions about COVID-19 and pandemic life in this special edition of the Nexstar digital original, “Coronavirus House Calls,” hosted by Emmy award-winning CBS 42 Anchor Art Franklin.

If you have a fever or cough, you might have COVID-19. Most people have mild illness and are able to recover at home. Keep track of your symptoms. If you have an emergency warning sign (including trouble breathing), get medical attention right away.

MEET THE EXPERTS

Riana Elyse Anderson, PhD (Detroit, MI)
Family psychologist & assistant professor, University of Michigan

Dr. Riana Elyse Anderson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. She earned her PhD in Clinical and Community Psychology at the University of Virginia and completed a Clinical and Community Psychology Residency at Yale University’s School of Medicine and a Fellowship in Applied Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. She uses mixed methods in clinical interventions to study racial discrimination and socialization in Black families to reduce racial stress and trauma and improve psychological well-being and family functioning. She is particularly interested in how these factors predict familial functioning and subsequent child psychosocial well-being and health-related behaviors when enrolled in family-based interventions.

Dr. Anderson is the developer and director of the EMBRace (Engaging, Managing, and Bonding through Race) intervention and loves to translate her work for a variety of audiences, particularly those whom she serves in the community, via blogs, video, and literary articles. Finally, Dr. Anderson was born in, raised for, and returned to Detroit and is becoming increasingly addicted to cake pops.

Check out Dr. Anderson’s website and follow her on Twitter: @rianaelyse


Robin Cogan, MEd, RN, NCSN (Cherry Hill, NJ)
School nurse, Camden City School District

Robin Cogan, MEd, RN, NCSN is a Nationally Certified School Nurse (NCSN), currently in her 20th year as a New Jersey school nurse in the Camden City School District. Robin is the Legislative Co-chair for the New Jersey State School Nurses Association (NJSSNA). She is proud to be a Johnson & Johnson School Health Leadership Fellow and past Program Mentor. Robin is the honored recipient of multiple awards for her work in school nursing and population health. These awards include, 2019 and 2020 National Association of School Nurses President’s Award, 2018 NCSN School Nurse of the Year, 2017 Johnson & Johnson School Nurse of the Year, and the New Jersey Department of Health 2017 Population Health Hero Award. Robin serves as faculty in the School Nurse Certificate Program at Rutgers University-Camden School of Nursing, where she teaches the next generation of school nurses. She was presented the 2018 Rutgers University – Camden Chancellor’s Teaching Excellence Award for Part-time Faculty. Robin writes a weekly blog called The Relentless School Nurse. She also has a monthly column in American Nurse, the official journal of the American Nurses Association (ANA).  Robin was has been quoted in the New York Times and interviewed on CNN.

Follow Robin on Twitter at @RobinCogan.


Jeff Dugas, MD (Birmingham, AL)
Orthopedic surgeon & team physician

Due to the injuries he suffered from years of playing baseball, Dr. Dugas developed a true passion for the health and injury prevention of youth baseball players. He continues to work with athletes to develop the field of sports-injury treatment and prevention. He maintains a special interest in throwing athletes, and much of his research concentrates in this area. 

Dr. Dugas has contributed significantly to the research of sports medicine. He has published articles and textbook chapters related to injuries of the shoulder and elbow in throwing athletes, vascular injuries in throwers and rotator cuff injuries. He has also published manuscripts on the treatment of knee ligament injuries and the treatment of cartilaginous defects of the knee.

A native of Schenectady, N.Y., Dr. Dugas graduated from North Carolina State University with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. He continued his education at Duke University School of Medicine, graduating with his medical degree in 1994. He completed his orthopedic surgery residency at the renowned Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. Following his orthopedic training, Dr. Dugas accepted a fellowship in sports medicine at the American Sports Medicine Institute (ASMI) in Birmingham, Alabama, under the direction of James R. Andrews, M.D., and William G. Clancy, Jr., M.D. 

He was then invited to become a member of the Alabama Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center. After its dissolution, he became a partner in the Andrews Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center. Additionally, he serves on the Board of Trustees at the American Baseball Foundation (ABF) and American Sports Medicine Institute (ASMI), where he conducts research and serves as director for the ASMI Sports Medicine Fellowship Program. 

Dr. Dugas holds memberships in numerous medical societies including the American Orthopaedic Associaiton, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons, International Society of Arthroscopy, Knee Surgery and Orthopaedic Sports Medicine, American Medical Association, Medical Association of Alabama and the Jefferson County Medical Society. 

Dr. Dugas serves as medical director for USA Cheer, the national governing body for cheerleading, and he is on the National Concussion Task Force for the prevention of concussions in youth sports. In addition, Dr. Dugas serves as Associate Medical Director for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).

He serves as a team physician for Troy University, Vestavia Hills High School, Bessemer Academy, Calera High School, Clay-Chalkville High School, Cordova High School, Gardendale High School, Oakman High School and Shades Valley High School. Dr. Dugas also provides sports medicine assistance for the Birmingham Barons, the AA affiliate of the Chicago White Sox and the Alabama Ballet. He has been named one of Birmingham’s Best Doctors for eight consecutive years and was selected by his peers as one of the top orthopaedic surgeons in the state of Alabama. 

Dr. Dugas and his wife, Tracie, are both avid sports fans and enjoy spending time with their children, Christopher and Caroline. Dr. Dugas enjoys golf, baseball, fishing and playing guitar.

Follow Dr. Dugas on Twitter at @JeffDugasMD.


Michael Saag, MD (Birmingham, AL)
Co-chair of Testing for Alabama, State of Alabama

Dr. Michael Saag is a prominent HIV/AIDS researcher and infectious disease physician at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). He is a COVID-19 survivor, making his ‘Coronavirus House Calls’ debut during his recovery. Dr. Saag serves as co-chair of the State of Alabama’s Testing for Alabama initiative, which aims to enable every college student attending a public four-year and two-year college an opportunity to be tested prior to reentry to campus.

Dr. Saag received a B.S. in chemistry with honors in 1977 from Tulane University, earned his medical degree with honors from the University of Louisville, and completed his residency and infectious disease and molecular virology fellowship training at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. During the last six months of his fellowship, Dr. Saag conceived the concept of a comprehensive HIV outpatient (1917) clinic dedicated to the provision of interdisciplinary patient care in conjunction with the conduct of high quality clinical trials, translational science, and clinical outcomes research.  Within the clinic structure, he established a clinical trials unit, a data management center, and a Clinical Specimen Repository designed to support the activities of the newly established Center for AIDS Research at UAB. In essence, the clinic became a “hub” for the clinical, basic science, and behavioral science investigators by creating a dynamic interface between the patients and the investigators.

Dr. Saag has participated in many studies of antiretroviral therapy as well as novel treatments for opportunistic infections. He has published over 450 articles in peer-reviewed journals, including the first description of the use of viral load in clinical practice (Science, 1993), the first description of the rapid dynamics of viral replication (Nature, 1995), the first guidelines for use of viral load in practice (Nature Medicine, 1996), and the first proof of concept of fusion inhibition as a therapeutic option (Nature Medicine, 1998). He directed the ‘first-in-patient’ studies of seven of the 30 antiretroviral drugs currently on the market. 

Dr. Saag co-edited a textbook entitled “AIDS Therapy” (now in its 3rd edition) and currently serves as an Editor of the “Sanford Guide for Antimicrobial Agents” and the “Sanford HIV Guide.” Dr. Saag serves on the International AIDS Society-USA Board of Directors, is a past president of the HIV Medical Association, is Chair of the IAS-USA Antiretroviral Therapy Guidelines panel, was a founding Co-Chair of the AASLD/IDSA Hepatitis C Guidelines Panel, and is a past-member of the HHS Guidelines Panel on Antiretroviral Therapy and the WHO Antiretroviral Therapy Guidelines panel.

In 2014, he was the Castle-Connolly National Physician of the Year and was inducted into the Alabama Healthcare Hall of Fame. An accomplished teacher, Dr. Saag has been awarded Argus awards annually by the UAB medical students as Best Lecturer in the Patient, Doctor, and Society module. Dr. Saag recently published a memoir entitled “Positive: One Doctor’s Personal Encounters with Death, Life, and the US Healthcare System,” now in its second printing.

Follow Dr. Saag on Twitter.


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