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On March 17, 2021, the Forum on Microbial Threats of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's Health and Medicine Division hosted a virtual workshop on considering COVID-19 through a syndemic approach (analyzing the health consequences and interactions of multiple epidemics within a population in combination with underlying social, environmental, and economic drivers) and the implications that perspective might have for the ongoing response efforts in the United States and around the world. In addition, the meeting sought to raise prospective ideas for enhancing resilience and preparedness for future outbreaks.

This event kicked off the forum's initiative to evaluate lessons learned from the pandemic and served as a framing workshop for thinking about its long-term, cross-sectoral, and global impacts. Speakers and panelists addressed (1) the biological and social determinants of health that are involved in identifying and describing syndemics; (2) the reasons for and implications of using the syndemic framing for COVID-19, based on the influence of particular geographic and community contexts on localized disease impacts; and (3) why thinking about COVID-19 and other disease outbreaks through a syndemic lens is important for public health officials and the general public. This Proceedings of a Workshop-in Brief summarizes the presentations and discussions that occurred at the workshop. A broad range of perspectives were shared during the event.

Suggested Citation

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2021. Using Syndemic Theory and the Societal Lens to Inform Resilient Recovery from COVID-19: Toward a Post-Pandemic World: Proceedings of a Workshop–in Brief. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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