Dr. Craig Klugman: The Professor Whose Name We All Should Know By Now
“Uh, is that a sports question?” He may not know much about the sport and chose Michael Jordan over LeBron James, but Dr. Craig Klugman is quite knowledgeable about pandemic and disaster response, public health, bioethics and the medical anthropology.
Klugman has been Professor of Health Sciences at DePaul since 2013 and has been an expert resource while serving on DePaul’s Covid-19 Working Group.
He holds a master’s degree in medical anthropology from Case Western Reserve University and has been studying emerging infectious diseases since then. He also received his doctorate in medical humanities from the medical branch of the University of Texas at Galveston.
Klugman told The DePaulia that much of his immediate experience came from his time at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio. There, he took the lead in developing the university’s pandemic response plan.
The state of Texas asked it to be part of its crisis care planning standards in 2009 – an effort by the National Academy of Medicine to get every state and major city to engage in crisis planning. .
When it moved to Illinois, the state had launched its own series of crisis care projects – which covered pandemics, earthquakes, natural disasters and terrorist incidents. He served in this project for five years; the last meeting was due to take place in April 2020, but it was canceled by the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
What is your position here in the DePaul task force, what was your role and how did you delegate with the other members?
When DePaul created the Covid-19 task force last spring, DePaul Health –– a group of professors whose research and teachings focus on areas of health –– asked the university for a representative of the group is part of the large DePaul working group. DePaul Health asked Klugman to serve as a representative due to his past experience working on pandemic planning and response.
Soon after, he began attending meetings at 8 a.m. five days a week.
“And it was really those meetings, and it was just up to me to speak,” Klugman said. “Like people would say, ‘Craig, what do you think’ and it was just me saying, ‘So I probably know a little more about this. Let me tell you something. ‘ So, it was really just to cut my way into conversations.
Later last spring, the response task force that Klugman was a part of focused on reopening. There, a community health subcommittee emerged on which Klugman also served.
“We would meet several times a week, sometimes several times a day, just to kind of talk about the latest problem and the last need and what was happening to us,” Klugman said. “We still meet every week, we are still dealing with things. We have to face the most recent thing, which is that we just reopened as a city. So it was this group that really led. I can’t take individual credit for this at all, because we pushed together.
When asked if he expected to be interviewed by media outlets, especially The DePaulia, who interviewed him for countless stories, Klugman laughed.
“In fact, I have worked with the media for a long time,” he said. “I am one of the two co-coordinators of the DePaul op-ed project, which teaches teachers how to write for audiences. So I have been interviewed by the media for the past 20 years. This is nothing new. It’s more common, more often than usual. But it’s definitely not a new role for me.
What was the biggest learning experience of the past year?
“One is that we can do a pretty good job with online learning… I think there will be permanent changes in our society as a result of this,” Klugman said.
“And the second was… what I learned was that, you know, as a member of this working group, I was suddenly one of the very few faculty members, maybe three d ‘between us, who now worked all administrators, and how do you get change? How to get people to listen to you, take you seriously and make big decisions based on what you say, and thus learn this process of working with administration in a large organization to take them into action . It was definitely a new learning experience for me.
What do you miss most about teaching or being on DePaul’s campus before the pandemic hit?
“I miss the energy to engage with students,” Klugman said.
Something is also missing that others might less: impromptu conversations in the hallways.
“You just met someone and you start to have a conversation and that conversation could lead to a new research project, or it could lead to a policy or it could lead to a change in your class,” he said. he declares.
“Everything I think about online has to be planned, it has to be formal. And that impromptu conversation on the sidewalk or that meeting in the hallway –– I miss it a lot. ”
Personally, not as a professor or researcher, what was the most difficult obstacle you had to overcome during the pandemic?
“I live alone,” Klugman said. “And so I think it’s been that I’ve been in a room on my own for 15 months, 16 months now. My family lives 1200 miles away so there was no option to see them. So I think it’s just the extreme isolation. I have a cat and a dog, and they have been great company. But it’s the lack of contact with anyone. It was difficult.
Her dog is called Bonzai and she is a 12 year old bitch. Her cat is called Tolstoy and is six years old.
Where do you want to go when all travel restrictions are lifted?
“I am a frequent traveler. I have visited over 40 countries, ”Klugman said. “I have this dream of going to Bali.
He also said he wanted to go to Australia, a place he has never been to. Last week he gave a presentation at a conference that was held virtually in Australia and spoke at 2 a.m.
What kind of hobby did you choose during the pandemic?
“I am a knitter. I usually do scarves, but the scarves became baby blankets because they were bigger projects that I could do.
He has also been involved in improvisation for some time and has taken improvisation classes online and explored new aspects of Netflix and HBO Max.
“Oh and yoga, I developed a daily yoga habit. ”
White Sox or Cubs?
“Cubs, I’m a North Side. ”
What is your Zodiac sign?
“I am a Scorpio.”
What’s your favorite place on DePaul’s campus?
“I actually really like the quad. It is peaceful. There is a little piece of nature in the middle of the city. I love watching the trees change seasons.
Favorite CTA line?
“I live outside the red line, so I have to live with it.”
Any other fun facts about you?
“I have lived in –– much of my life –– in Texas. But I grew up in New Jersey actually.
Klugman has lived in eight or nine states, but the most peculiar to date is Nevada.
“Oh my God. It’s a really unique place,” he said. “I lived in Reno. I was at the University of Nevada, Reno. It’s a small town. It doesn’t. there is nothing for hundreds of kilometers, but it is the desert.
“I’m a hot weather person, like summer. Summer is my thing. Yeah, hot and dry.
“I don’t understand you all,” Klugman said of people in cold weather. “You know my favorite winter activity is to stay indoors.”