Episode 49: Health Care Workers and Public Health in Germany and the United States During COVID-19

Albert W. Wu

Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

Albert W. Wu is a practicing general internist, Professor and Interim Chair of Health Policy & Management at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. He is director of the Center for Health Services & Outcomes Research, and online Masters of Applied Science in Patient Safety & Healthcare Quality, and is Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Patient Safety and Risk Management. He is an expert in patient safety and outcomes research with over 500 peer-reviewed publications. He was Senior Adviser for Patient Safety to WHO, and coined the term “second victim.” He is co-director of the RISE (Resilience in Stressful Events) peer support program and helps organize staff support for Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Benjamin Ewert

Fulda University of Applied Science

Benjamin Ewert is a Professor of Health Policies and Health Professions at the Fulda University of Applied Science in Germany. His research focuses on behavioral insights, co-production, and social innovation in the realm of health policy. He is co-editor of the book Behavioral Policies for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (Palgrave Pivot, 2019) and has published articles in academic outlets such as Public Administration, Public Policy & Administration and Policy & Politics.

Jeffrey Rathke

Jeff Rathke

President of AICGS

Jeffrey Rathke is the President of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at the Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC.

Prior to joining AICGS, Jeff was a senior fellow and deputy director of the Europe Program at CSIS, where his work focused on transatlantic relations and U.S. security and defense policy. Jeff joined CSIS in 2015 from the State Department, after a 24-year career as a Foreign Service Officer, dedicated primarily to U.S. relations with Europe. He was director of the State Department Press Office from 2014 to 2015, briefing the State Department press corps and managing the Department's engagement with U.S. print and electronic media. Jeff led the political section of the U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur from 2011 to 2014. Prior to that, he was deputy chief of staff to the NATO Secretary General in Brussels. He also served in Berlin as minister-counselor for political affairs (2006–2009), his second tour of duty in Germany. His Washington assignments have included deputy director of the Office of European Security and Political Affairs and duty officer in the White House Situation Room and State Department Operations Center.

Mr. Rathke was a Weinberg Fellow at Princeton University (2003–2004), winning the Master’s in Public Policy Prize. He also served at U.S. Embassies in Dublin, Moscow, and Riga, which he helped open after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Mr. Rathke has been awarded national honors by Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, as well as several State Department awards. He holds an M.P.P. degree from Princeton University and B.A. and B.S. degrees from Cornell University. He speaks German, Russian, and Latvian.

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jrathke@aicgs.org


The Covid-19 pandemic has subjected the German and U.S. healthcare systems to tremendous pressure and posed great challenges to public health policy makers. In both countries, the pandemic has exacted a heavy physical and psychological toll on health care workers, as they have had to adapt to changing pandemic conditions and to cope with staffing shortfalls while faced with the stress from the risks to their own health and well-being. Successive waves of infections in Germany and the United States also saw local and federal governments exploring new policy measures to try to stem the tide of the pandemic and to address weaknesses in their respective healthcare systems.

On this episode of The Zeitgeist, AICGS President Jeff Rathke discusses the experiences of healthcare systems and public health in Germany and the United States with Dr. Albert Wu, Director of the Center for Health Services & Outcomes Research and Professor Interim Chair of Health Policy & Management at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and Dr. Benjamin Ewert, Professor of Health Policies and Health Professions at the Fulda University of Applied Science in Germany. What is the impact of stress and workload on healthcare workers’ physical and emotional wellbeing? Have the federal systems in Germany and the United States shown an ability to adapt their policy approaches? Will the public health and healthcare innovations achieved in the last two years strengthen our systems after the pandemic?


Host

Jeff Rathke, President, AICGS

Guest

Benjamin Ewert, Professor of Health Policies and Health Professions, Fulda University of Applied Science
Albert W. Wu, Professor and Interim Chair of Health Policy & Management, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

The views expressed are those of the author(s) alone. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies.