» Ask the Experts Virtual Town Hall

Join host, Chapman Vice President of Research Tom Piechota PhD, PE as he speaks with Chapman faculty experts who span a variety of disciplines and cover diverse and timely topics of paramount significance to the challenges we face as a people and world.

2020 Online Events Schedule

Please review the below information to view past or current events. 

Join Us for the Next Ask the Experts Virtual Town Hall

"Future of Real Estate"

featuring Richard Florida, best-selling author, professor and urbanist

June 2, 2020 10:30 -12:00 P.M. PST


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The Future of Real Estate Research Town Hall - Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Richard Florida, Ph.D. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought a dual health and economic crisis.  The economic fallout has devastated businesses, workers, and reshaped how we come together in on our communities. But no pandemic or plague or natural disaster has killed off humanity’s need to live and work in urban clusters. That’s because the clustering of people and economic activity – the motor force of innovation and economic growth—is just too strong. This crisis will challenge us to rethink about how gather in our communities and build enterprises in our cities, possibly shaping the future of the built environment. In his presentation, international best-selling author, professor and urbanist, Richard Florida will speak to the questions that may impact real estate: (1) will urbanization increase?  (2)  how will the impact of remote work change the office? (3) how will we gather in the future? (4) will there be a period of affordability readjustment? (5) will private amenities and the desire for space push residents to the suburbs? 


The June 2 Ask the Experts will be a Zoom event. See below for other joining options. 

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COVID-19 Research Town Hall - Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Faculty Experts

Seth G. Benzell is a postdoctoral associate at the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy in the group on Productivity, Employment, and Inequality.  He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Boston University. Seth’s work is in the economics of automation, digitization, and networks. He is also interested in public economics generally. Current research focuses are social networks, optimal regulation, and taxation of online digital platforms, and predicting how new technologies, especially artificial intelligence, will impact investment, wages and welfare. His work has received significant press attention, he has briefed legislative assistants at the U.S. Capitol. Seth will be presenting his research on how to ration social contact during the pandemic and discuss other social mobility reduction research currently underway at MIT. He will be joining Chapman’s Argyros School of Business and Economics in Fall 2020.

NPR Marketplace: Is it safe to visit gyms, cafes and stores?

NPR Latest Style Trend: Clandestine Haircuts During Stay-at-Home Orders

Jennifer Totonchy, Ph.D is Assistant Professor of Immunology and Immunotherapeutics at the School of Pharmacy. She is an accomplished virologist and has worked on host-virus interactions for both DNA and RNA viruses. Her laboratory is currently focused on infection of human B cells with Kaposi Sarcoma Herpesvirus.  In response to the pandemic, Dr. Totonchy has organized a multi-disciplinary collaboration of faculty at the School of Pharmacy and the Fowler School of Engineering to develop a low-tech but highly sensitive antigen test for COVID19 infection.

Steven Gjerstad, Ph.D will be joining us again, this time to discuss characteristics of persons with serious and fatal cases of COVID-19. Dr. Gjerstad is a Presidential Fellow in the Economic Science Institute and the George L. Argyros School of Business and Economics at Chapman University.

Steven Gjerstad Presentation

Dr. Michelle Samura is Associate Professor and Associate Dean in the Attallah College of Educational Studies. She also is the founding Co-Director of the Collaborate Initiative and principal investigator of the Architecture of Belonging project. Dr. Samura conducts research, publishes, and speaks on the relationship between space and belonging. She currently is drawing upon insights from the fields of design and architecture to identify key design principles and elements of built environments that promote belonging in educational, workplace, and community settings. Dr. Samura will share preliminary insights into how social distancing as a result of COVID-19 affects student belonging and connectedness.

David Frederick, Ph.D is an Associate Professor in the Crean College of Health and Behavioral Sciences. He conducts national studies on the prevalence and predictors of body image and disordered eating, attraction, and factors promoting relationship and sexual satisfaction in romantic relationships.  He teaches courses at Chapman on Human Sexuality and Research Methods.  Along with 11 other faculty members at Chapman, he launched the Chapman University April 2020 COVID-19 National Mental Health Study. Dr. Frederick will share preliminary insights from the 4,000 participants on how the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing are impacting people's mental health, physical health, romantic relationships, and experiences of prejudice and discrimination.

David Frederick Presentation

Recorded Event:

COVID-19 Research Town Hall - Thursday, May 7, 2020

Faculy Experts

Tara Gruenwald, Ph.D., MPH

Tara Gruenewald, Ph.D., MPH is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychology in the Crean College of Health and Behavioral Sciences. Tara is a social and health psychologist with additional training in Public Health and Geronotology. Her research focuses on the social and psychological factors which shape functioning, physiology and health across the life course.  As a stress researcher, she views the potential harm to mental, physical, social and economic well-being from the COVID-19 pandemic as unrivaled among societal stressors in the last century, yet she has been intrigued by the fact that many Americans and others worldwide have responded in ways targeted to benefit the collective good.  Dr. Gruenewald is investigating how such prosocial orientations might not only help society but also benefit givers’ mental, social and physical well-being as they cope with the pandemic threat.

Marc Weidenmier, Ph.D.

Dr. Marc Weidenmier is a Professor of Economics and Finance in the George L. Argyros School of Business and Economics. He will be providing an update on the impacts of COVID-19 on consumer confidence as measured from the Chapman–CMC Orange County Consumer Sentiment Index. See recent article in OC Register.

Anna Leahy, Ph.D.

Anna Leahy is a Professor of English in the Wilkinson College or Arts, Humanities, and Social Science.  Dr. Leahy will discuss the ways that writers have been affected by and are responding to the global pandemic, with a focus on journalism and science writing, new initiatives in literary culture that have emerged over the last several weeks, and the importance of individuals documenting their experiences of this historical moment of change.

Anna Leahy is the author of the poetry book Aperture and Constituents of Matter and the nonfiction book Tumor. Her essays have won top prizes from Los Angeles Review, Ninth Letter, and Dogwood. She directs the MFA in Creative Writing program and edits the international Tab Journal. See more at amleahy.com.

Daniel Tomaszewski, Ph.D.

Daniel Tomaszewsi, Pharm.D., Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in Pharmacy Administration in the Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences Department. Dr. Tomaszewski has focused his research in three primary areas, use of opioids in pediatric patients, medication adherence, and drug pricing/policy. Regarding youth, Dr. Tomaszewski’s program evaluates the use of opioid prescribing patterns in inpatient care facilities, emergency departments, and ambulatory clinic visits.

Dan is currently examining, as it is expressed in academic institutions, how changes in stress during the coronavirus pandemic impact student health and learning and how psychosocial resources reduce the impact of stress on health and learning outcomes to help pinpoint resources that should be targeted in future interventions.

Recorded Event:

COVID-19 Research Town Hall - Monday, April 27, 2020

Faculty Experts

Jim Doti, Ph.D. is president emeritus and professor of economics.  He founded the A. Gary Anderson Center for Economic Research and has presented the Chapman Economic Forecast for 42 consecutive years.  Dr. Doti will be providing analyses relating to when and how the California economy should hit the restart button.

Jennifer D. Keene, Ph.D. is a professor of history and dean of the Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. She is a well-published expert on World War I. She has been involved in numerous public history projects that underscore the relevance of the World War I-era to the present day. She has served as an historical advisor to the World War I Centennial Commission, an historical consultant for numerous exhibits and films, and was recently featured in the PBS documentary mini-series, The Great War. She will speak about the Spanish Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and how learning about this pandemic of a century ago may give us a clearer perspective on today’s COVID-19 crisis.
Jennifer Keene presentation.pdf

Jason Douglas, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Public Health in the Department of Health Sciences, Crean College of Health and Behavioral Science. Guided by the principles and practice of community-based participatory research, Dr. Douglas works with disadvantaged communities to investigate social and environmental determinants of public health disparities. Dr. Douglas is collaborating with Drs. Lawrence Brown, Angel Miles Nash, Emmanuel John, and Georgiana Bostean in an interdisciplinary context to examine the extent to which ethnocultural minority groups in the cities of New York and Los Angeles may be at higher risk for COVID-19 morbidity and mortality than non-minority groups. By examining COVID-19 impacts in these distinct geographies, this collaborative research seeks to: (1) identify social and environmental factors that may manifest in COVID-19 health disparities, and (2) develop a Viral Pandemic Risk Index based on study results.

Gregory Goldsmith, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of biology and the director of the Grand Challenges Initiative. Dr. Goldsmith will present preliminary results from a project that is building a comprehensive database of the response of U.S. colleges and universities to the emergence of COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2). Working with a team of 10 Chapman University undergraduates, Goldsmith and his collaborators have collected data on when higher education institutions transitioned to online learning, closed residence halls, and instituted remote work for faculty and staff. The results have the potential to improve epidemiological models of disease transmission, inform policy developed by public health officials, and provide insights for decision makers within the higher education community.
Gregory Goldsmith presentation.pdf

Erik Linstead, Ph.D. is associate professor and the associate dean of academic programs and faculty development in the Fowler School of Engineering. He is the principal investigator of the Machine Learning and Affiliated Technologies (MLAT) lab. Prior to his current role, he spent 12 years at Boeing as an embedded software engineer and currently serves as a consulting senior engineering specialist for the Aerospace Corporation in the areas of deep learning and computer vision. He will be sharing how students and faculty at Chapman have leveraged curriculum related to 3D printing and modeling to manufacture face shields as a response to PPE shortages arising from COVID-19. To date, over 2,000 units have been donated.
Erik Linstead presentation.pdf

Recorded Event:

COVID-19 Research Town Hall - Thursday, April 16, 2020

Faculty Experts

Steven Gjerstad, Ph.D will be joining us for his regular update. Dr. Gjerstad is a Presidential Fellow in the Economic Science Institute and the George L. Argyros School of Business and Economics at Chapman University. He will be providing the latest COVID-19 numbers for the local community, State of California, nation and world.

Stephanie Saldivar, MS, PA-C is a Clinical Assistant Professor and the Director of Clinical Education for the PA Studies Program within Crean College. She is a certified Physician Assistant (PA) and specializes in Emergency Medicine. Stephanie currently practices medicine in a local Orange County Emergency room and has been on the front lines as a healthcare provider during the COVID-19 pandemic. She will be sharing how her workplace is currently preparing for and managing suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients, how medical education has been affected, and how PAs are responding to the pandemic.

Hillard Kaplan, Ph.D is Professor of Health Economics and Anthropology in the Economic Science Institute within the Argyros School of Business and Economics at Chapman University. He is the principal investigator on a collaborative and multi-disciplinary research program studying cognitive aging and Alzheimer’s disease among two tribal populations in lowland Bolivia. However, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the team has paused their research and are now redirecting their efforts to mitigating the effects of the COVID-19 on the tribal populations with whom they work. They are currently engaged in a collaborative effort with the tribal leadership and government authorities responsible for responding to the pandemic engaging in a collective decision-making process to determine the response needed to combat the epidemic. They hope to create an approach that can be adapted more generally for global tribal and aboriginal populations.

Shenyue Jia, Ph.D. along with her colleagues in the Center of Excellence in Earth Systems Modeling and Observations (CEESMO) within the Schmid College of Science and Technology at Chapman University are working on identifying at-risk communities for COVID-19 using crowdsourced connectivity data. The team’s research focuses on rural and relatively isolated communities of the hardest-hit states in the U.S. by the COVID-19 pandemic. She will share how information from crowdsourced connectivity data from Facebook Disaster Maps and the CDC’s vulnerability index can help decision making in vulnerable communities as cases surge. Team members include Drs. Seung Hee Kim and Menas Kafatos from CEESMO at Chapman, Dr. Son V. Nghiem from NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Dr. Andrew Schroeder from Direct Relief.
Shenyue Virtual Town Hall Presentation
Recent media coverage of work by Dr. Shenyue Jia can be found here.

Recorded Event:

COVID-19 Research Town Hall - Tuesday, April 7, 2020


Faculty Experts:

Dr. Steven Gjerstad – Economic Science Institute

Drs Gjerstad is a Presidential Fellow in the Economic Science Institute and the George L. Argyros School of Business and Economics. He will be providing the latest COVID-19 numbers for the world, national, California and local community
Gjerstad COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall Presentation

Dr. Michael Burney – Chair, Department of Physician Assistant – Crean College of Health and Behavioral Sciences

Dr. Burney is Chair of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies. He has been a Physician Assistant for 28 years and practiced Family Medicine in the Orange County area for over 15 years. He is works in an occupational medicine clinic. Dr. Burney and others in the Physician Assistant program are working on the front lines of the caring for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients during this critical time.
Burney COVID-19 Virtual Town Hall Presentation

Dr. Peter Simi  – Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Department of Art
Department of Sociology

As part of their long-term efforts to investigate the causes and consequences of domestic terrorism and hate crimes, Dr. Simi and his research group are monitoring how violent extremists are responding to COVID-19 as well as how anti-Asian racism related to COVID-19 is fueling a substantial increase in both hate crimes and verbal harassment. Their studies are examining the role of social media in terms of providing extremists a platform to discuss how to “weaponize” COVID-19 as well as providing a mechanism to circulate COVID-19 related propaganda suggesting various conspiracy theories about the origins and spread of the virus.
Simi COVID-19 VIrtual Town Hall Presentation

Claudine Jaenichen – Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Department of Art

Professor Jaenichen is part of the Design Network for Emergency Management (dnem.org) that launched a survey to collect data to benchmark the effectiveness of information and visual infrastructures (this includes written text in print and on screen) distributed to the public on COVID-19. They plan to assess the data and determine a timeline of distribution to identify communication gaps. They will map these communications onto the disaster risk management cycle and produce best-practices and guidelines in visual communication with a high-level of understanding public cognitive processing in crisis. In addition, she has been working with FEMA since November 2019 to improve public understanding terms shelter-in-place, stay put, and sheltering for various disaster scenarios. FEMA’s objective was to make actionable items more clear but COVID-10 is altering this work with additional conceptual (and confusing) terms, including safer-at-home, lockdown (previously associated with active shooting), stay-at-home order, and social vs. physical distancing.
Jaenichen COVID19 VIrtual Town Hall Presentation

Recorded Event:

COVID-19 Research Town Hall - Thursday, March 26, 2020

Faculty Experts:

Dr. Jerika Lam – School of Pharmacy, jlam@chapman.edu

Dr. Lam, an infectious disease pharmacist, is a member of the Patient Safety Movement Foundation COVID-19 Task Force that webinars every Friday morning, where Task Force members provide the national and international members weekly updates about the coronavirus, particularly about preventive and management strategies of COVID-19 from an interdisciplinary group of healthcare professionals (medicine, pharmacy and nursing) in different healthcare settings. They also provide updated perspectives from European clinicians, including those from the World Health Organization. Last week’s webinar topics included: assessment of the current COVID-19 situation, recommendations for the general public, general guidelines from the CDC and WHO, vulnerable populations (pregnancy, lactating mothers, newborns and infants, children and teenagers), recommendations for hospitals, recommendations for clinicians, coronavirus testing, telehealth/telemedicine, and treatments. She is the only Infectious Diseases pharmacist on the Task Force and provides updates about the drug treatments and management strategies against COVID-19.
Lam-Chapman COVID-19 Town Hall
Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1
Temperature and latitude analysis to predict potential spread and seasonality for COVID-19

Dr. Steven Gjerstad – Economic Science Institute, gjerstad@chapman.edu and Dr. Andrea Molle – Political Science, molle@chapman.edu

Drs. Gjerstad and Molle have published a note that considers the question of whether age is an independent factor that contributes to mortality or whether comorbidity factors such as heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension are the major contributors to mortality.  These morbidity factors increase rapidly with age, but otherwise healthy people appear to have low mortality at all ages. Dr. Molle is working with a team of Italian computational social scientists to address social factors that affect the spread of COVID-19. They focus on the role of social networks, such as the prevalence of extended family cohabitation in Italy, in the spread of COVID-19. Dr. Gjerstad is predicting COVID-19 cases over the next several weeks in the U.S.  The predictions are based on the past exponential case growth, the impact of a lowered transmission rate that will arise after social distancing is implemented, and the lag between implementation of the social distancing measures – which results from the 6 day incubation period for the disease and the 3 day lag from test to test result – and the fall in the number of new cases.
Molle-Chapman COVID-19 Town Hall
Gjerstad-Molle Chapman COVID-19 Town Hall

Dr. Hesham El-Askary – Schmid Science and Technology, elaskary@chapman.edu

Dr. El-Askary and the Earth Systems Science Data Solutions lab (EssDs) Scientists are processing remote earth observations to monitor how different countries are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and their response level matching with the outbreak. Their work is monitoring the emissions (Nitrogen oxides) which can be used as the indictor of human activities, such as fossil fuel combustion, and biomass burning for three COVID-19 hotspot regions, namely East Asia, Europe, Middle East and North Africa. These three periods are selected to show how the aforementioned regions are responding to this global situation: 1) before the outbreaks of Wuhan; 2) during the outbreaks of Wuhan; and 3) after the outbreak in Wuhan and the period of the global outbreak.

Recorded Event:

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Ask the Experts Virtual Town Hall

Join Ask the Experts - June 2, 2020 10:30 A.M. PST

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