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Hartwick’s 2020-21 O’Connor Chair Lecture to Present Perspectives on COVID-19

October 15, 2020

Hartwick College will present a virtual edition of the 2020-2021 O’Connor Chair Lecture at 7 p.m. on Friday, October 30. The evening will feature three distinguished experts offering their views on the topic “Where do we go from here? A forward-focused look at COVID-19.” During this time of uncertainty, the panel will explore the evolving public health and practice perspectives. The lecture is free and open to the public via Zoom.

Hartwick College Nursing Department Chairwoman and Clinical Associate Professor Patricia Grust will serve as the evening’s host, and Assistant Professor of Nursing/Community Health Professor Nicole Zhang will be the event moderator.


Dr. E. Alison Holman, PhD, FNP is a professor of nursing at the Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing and Department of Psychological Science at the University of California, Irvine. Her research incorporates multiple methodologies, including national surveys, clinical studies, and laboratory studies to identify early predictors (genetic susceptibility, acute stress, media exposure) of long-term trauma-related mental and physical health ailments. She has studied national responses to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Boston Marathon Bombings, the Orlando Night Club Shooting, and Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Michael. Her team started a prospective longitudinal study addressing responses to the COVID-19 pandemic among a national sample of Americans in March 2020.

Christopher Holmes graduated from Union College in 1986 and immediately embarked on an active duty military career, with deployments to Germany, Uruguay, and Somalia. After nine years on active duty, he transitioned to the U.S. Army Reserves and a civilian career with New York State, serving in the State Emergency Management Office as a regional director and program manager and, most recently, as the director of emergency management for the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Holmes remained active in the Reserves, deploying to Iraq from 2005-2006 as the senior liaison officer to the Iraqi National Security Council and Iraqi National Joint Operation Center. From 2010-2011, he served with the U.S. Africa Command, assisting the development of disaster preparedness programs in Ghana, Senegal, Kenya and Tanzania, and also assisting in developing and conducting preparedness exercises in Myanmar and Vietnam. Holmes has also collaborated with Rensselear Polytechnic Institute on the development of debris management modeling programs and served on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Steering Committee for the Disaster Recovery Public Assistance Program.

Maria A. MacPherson ’85, MPH, RN, earned a bachelor of science degree in nursing from Hartwick College. Her career spans work at hospital and community-based programs with an emphasis on public health, and 21 years with the New York State Department of Health. Serving as acting director for the 14-county Central NY Regional Office of New York State Department of Health, MacPherson and the Regional Office staff actively engaged with regulated facilities, local health departments, and community-based partnerships, to promote quality of care and population-based services across the lifespan. A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Public Health Nurse Leader, MacPherson received the UPSTATE Medical University’s President’s Award for Voluntary Faculty Service in 2017, and the Central NY Nurses Association’s Nursing Excellence Award in 2018. She is actively involved with the New York State Action Coalition and the American Nurses Association – NY. She earned her master’s degree in public health from the State University at Albany’s School of Public Health.

The O’Connor Chair Lecture series, endowed by the A. Lindsay and Olive B. O’Connor Foundation, brings notable speakers on health and nursing-related themes to the campus each spring and fall for the benefit of nursing students and faculty, and the Hartwick College and greater Oneonta communities.

The Zoom link for the Lecture is https://hartwick.zoom.us/j/95740801423.

For more information on the O’Connor Chair Lecture, visit the webpage or contact Coordinator of Nursing Opportunities Geneen Bolton at boltong@hartwick.edu or (607) 431-4790.