Chapman University’s Vice President for Research, Thomas Piechota, hosts the next Ask the Experts – COVID-19 Research Town Hall on Tuesday, April 7, 2020, 2:00 to 3:00 p.m., featuring several Chapman faculty already working on COVID-19-related research and outreach. The entire Chapman community (staff, faculty and students) and the broader community are welcome to join using this link. A Q&A follows each brief presentation, moderated by Tom Piechota.

Featuring Chapman 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 ( 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

To Join: INSTRUCTIONS TO JOIN THE WEBCAST:  Please join the live event with your computer-attached speakers or with your mobile device (with Teams app).  When you click on the below link, you will choose one of two options:  to watch within the Teams App or to watch within your web browser (Note:  Safari is not supported at this time).

For Chapman Staff and Faculty

To ensure the best internet performance, please disconnect from VPN and close any unnecessary applications.   You may also join on your phone over mobile data using the Teams app.  A recording will be made available after the event.

For more information about this Town Hall, contact:

The Office of Research: Thomas Piechota, Vice President for Research, or (714) 628-2897.

Media Contact: Amy Stevens, Director of Public Relations, or (714) 289-3143.