Pandemic Perspectives: Understanding COVID-19 in Context


A self-paced course designed to expose the student to multiple perspectives on pandemics, using the Covid-19 pandemic as a primary example. Since it is self-paced, you can start the course at any time!

Part 1 of the course will address the background and societal aspects of pandemics. Part 2 will focus on the healthcare related aspects of pandemics and Covid-19. And Part 3 will consider the economic vulnerabilities and consequences of a pandemic, with lessons to be learned for the future.

 Your Course 

Meet Your Faculty 

 Israel Balderas

As a 20-year news veteran, J. Israel Balderas has reported from coast to coast. Along the way, he accumulated a number of prestigious awards from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, Florida Associated Press Broadcasters and the Radio Television Digital News Association of the Carolinas.

He began his journalism career working for the CBS TV station in Tulsa, Oklahoma, while simultaneously attending Oral Roberts University. Balderas earned a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees in communications and theology respectively. After graduation, he spent two years working as a youth pastor, and soon after returned to television, working for the WB Network and CBS stations in Nashville, Tennessee.

After covering the country music scene, Balderas shifted his focus to politics and policy, moving to Washington, D.C., where he worked as a reporter and news anchor for several cable news stations. During this time, he covered major stories involving Capitol Hill and the White House.

As part of covering the 2000 presidential race, Balderas reported from the campaign trail and the political conventions. Following the contested presidential election between George Bush and Al Gore, he also covered the legal challenges that culminated in a Supreme Court case. This reporting led Balderas to seek law school enrollment.

But first, the terrorists attack on 9/11 brought Balderas too close to a national tragedy that brought Washington, D.C. to a halt for a few days. Living just a few miles away from the Pentagon, Balderas spent the day as a photojournalist, taking pictures of a smoldering building and documenting the day’s events that shocked the nation. In fact, he was one of a few journalists invited into a press conference conducted by Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld held inside the Pentagon that Tuesday night.

In 2002, Balderas began law school night classes at the Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law, while working as a segment producer for FOX News Sunday and a news producer at the Washington, D.C. bureau of the FOX News Channel during the day. Over the next four years, he participated in a national moot court competition; as staff member of the school’s CommLaw Conspectus Journal of Communications Law and Policy, Balderas published a law review article. He also was a student law clerk for former Chief Judge Royce Lamberth at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. But the most humbling experience at law school for Balderas was being selected by students and staff as the commencement speaker for the 2006 graduation ceremony.

Experience with communication law and policy for Balderas includes working at the Federal Communications Commission as a media advisor and as a summer associate at a telecommunications law firm. He initially passed the Maryland Bar and he was licensed in Virginia as a corporate counsel. Balderas continues to be admitted as an attorney with the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

Balderas returned to TV journalism in 2007, working as a news anchor and reporter for FOX TV stations in Texas and North Carolina. While working at WCCB in Charlotte, he was named TV News Anchor of the Year by the Radio Television Digital News Association of the Carolinas. Working in the same capacity at the CBS station in West Palm Beach, Balderas has earned a number of awards and nominations, including one Emmy, a nomination for a second Emmy, and several Florida AP awards.

Balderas has been a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the Hispanic National Bar Association, and the Board of Advisors at the Columbus School of Law.

Cora Barnhart

Prior to coming to PBA, Dr. Barnhart served full-time on the faculties of Florida Atlantic University, Lander University and Furman University. While at Lander University, she was the Director of the Center for Economic Education, where she organized activities intended to assist high school teachers teaching economics courses for high school students. She also coordinated Clemson University's MBA program at Lander University.

Since moving to Florida, she has taught at Florida Atlantic University and served as the editor of the Tax section of the Bankrate Monitor. She has written several tax and personal finance articles published on Internet Web sites, including Bankrate, Yahoo and USA Today. She is also a visiting scholar with the Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta. Her academic publications include articles in Public Choice, The Journal of Futures Markets, Corporate Finance Review and Financial Practice and Education.

Her current research interests include the historical distribution of returns in emerging industries and the effects of central bank intervention on currency markets. She is a member of First Presbyterian Church of North Palm Beach, where she has been active in various children's ministry programs.

Mark Bonfiglio

Dr. Bonfiglio completed a residency in critical care pharmacy at University Hospital of The Ohio State University. Upon completion Dr. Bonfiglio joined the faculty of Ohio Northern University and developed practices in critical care and internal medicine. In addition, he participated in teaching therapeutics and pharmacokinetics. After nine years in pharmacy education and clinical practice, Dr. Bonfiglio joined Lexi-Comp Medical Publishing as the director of pharmacotherapy resources. He was later was promoted to chief content officer.  When Lexi-comp was acquired by Wolters Kluwer Health in 2011, Dr. Bonfiglio was named Vice President, Content Development in the new entity of Clinical Drug Information, LLC (CDI).  He has been an invited lecturer in Singapore, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, and the United Arab Emirates. He has also worked to develop support for drug information resources on visits to Japan, Qatar, and South Korea.

Dr. Bonfiglio returned to Pharmacy education by joining the Gregory School of Pharmacy in the 2017-18 academic year. He believes his Christian worldview shapes his perspective on the profession as well as opportunities for practice. His knowledge of the range of opportunities in pharmacy, shaped by his employment experiences and global exposure, motivate him to encourage a new generation of practitioners entering this changing and global profession.

Lane Cohee

Prior to joining PBA, Dr. Garret L. Cohee spent 30 years in the defense and aerospace sector, most recently serving as an executive business leader at Harris Corporation. His research interests focus on organizational development, strategy, leadership and operations, with an emphasis on project/program management. As a business practitioner, Dr. Cohee served as executive committee chair for both emerging talent development and program management. He also served as an adjunct faculty instructor in the field of project management at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University from 2008-2009. Dr. Cohee has been an active member in congregations within the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) since 1987. During that period, he taught over 50 courses in the areas of leadership, parenting, theology, apologetics, church history, and financial management.

Kris Dougherty

Dr. Dougherty obtained her bachelor of science degree in honors biology from Purdue University, graduating with highest distinction, and her doctoral degree in molecular biology and human genetics from The Johns Hopkins University. After obtaining her doctorate, she conducted biomedical research at The University of Michigan, focusing first on blood clotting and then on prostate cancer metastasis. She then worked for Pfizer, developing pharmaceuticals for CNS-related diseases. In 2003, she joined the faculty of Valencia College as a professor of biology and served as department chair. During her tenure, she was involved in faculty governance, developed a new program of study in biotechnology, and helped establish a new campus. Dr. Dougherty is excited to join the Palm Beach Atlantic University community to continue sharing her passion for biology with PBA students. In her spare time, she likes to read, do puzzles, and exercise.

Jennifer Kuretski

Dr. Jennifer Kuretski has primarily practiced as an advanced registered nurse practitioner in the field of infectious disease. She has provided infectious disease consultations in the inpatient as well as outpatient clinical settings. Dr. Kuretski has a particular interest in retroviruses such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). This interest and clinical experience led her to obtaining specialty certification as an American Academy of HIV Medicine, HIV Specialist. She has been involved in over 50 clinical trials in the field of infectious disease. She previously served as adjunct faculty at the University of Miami in the M.S.N. and D.N.P. programs at the School of Nursing.

Dr. Kuretski is a family nurse practitioner certified by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). Her motto is “Care for all, lead by example and above all continue to inspire others.” She is blessed to have the opportunity to inspire and lead the future generation of nurse practitioners at Palm Beach Atlantic University.

Elizabeth Stice

Elizabeth Stice is an associate professor of history, her field is modern Europe, and she completed her PhD at Emory University. Her specialty is World War I, and she has an interest in empires and print culture. She has also published opinion pieces with Front Porch Republic, History News Network, and Sojourners.



Course starts October 1