March 25, 2020

Responding to a Pandemic: Introducing the series ‘CGU Heroes’

ON THE FRONT LINES OF A PANDEMIC: SCGH Research Associate Professor Javad Fadardi is assisting public health authorities in Iran.

An Inspiring New Story Series for Challenging Times

IF YOU’RE LIKE US, YOU’VE EXPERIENCED a range of powerful emotions in the past two weeks. Disbelief that our lives could be so disrupted so suddenly. Frustration over long lines and empty shelves. Concern for your loved ones in affected areas. Afraid of others because of an enemy we can’t see.

But no doubt you have also seen stories of kindness, selflessness, and heroism—stories of people whose actions remind us of our shared humanity.

Many members of our CGU community have been working tirelessly—some behind the scenes and some on the front lines—to address the pandemic. Their stories have inspired us, and we hope they inspire you as well.

Over the next several weeks, you will get to know some of these amazing colleagues, starting today with a professor who is making a difference in a nation in critical condition on the other side of the world.

We call them CGU Heroes: those who embody what it means to carry the flame.


On the front lines in Iran: Javad Fadardi’s story

Javad S. Fadardi is a research associate professor in the university’s School of Community & Global Health. He was at Ferdowsi University of Mashhad when the pandemic reached Iran.

Fadardi is working tirelessly on numerous fronts in the battle against the novel coronavirus: He is serving on an Iranian national committee for mental health issues and is helping to develop an app for use in Iran and the U.S. that will instill healthy habits to prevent contracting COVID-19.

Fadardi joins more than 5,000 psychologists and psychiatrists on a national hotline to help those who have been affected directly or indirectly by the disease. And he is preparing short video clips to help people respond more effectively and less harmfully to the outbreak.

“We all are human beings, and without supporting each other and sharing love, we cannot survive”

— Javad Fadardi

Fadardi is reluctant to call himself a hero, but he says he is inspired by the heroism and selflessness of others in a nation with one of the most severe outbreaks of COVID-19.

“Many of the medical staff have not been able to go home for almost 40 days. They are working 24/7, and sometimes they pass out from the hard work,” Fadardi says. “And many infectious disease specialists and nurses have lost their lives here. They are even greater heroes than those killed in battle.”

Javad Fadardi

He also shares accounts of young children who have sent their masks to medical staff because they need them more, of volunteers who are screening millions over the phone, of scientists who are working nonstop to make a vaccine or a medication to save lives.

Amid the suffering, Fadardi remains an optimist.

“Although it has brought us misery, I believe that the coronavirus pandemic is helping all people around the world gradually to unify and come to a very basic understanding: We all are human beings, and without supporting each other and sharing love, we cannot survive,” he says. “We live only once. Let’s make it a worthwhile life for everyone.”

  • Coming soon: More stories of how members of our CGU community are having a positive impact–and making a difference–in the global pandemic.