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St. Thomas University hires Oliver Gilbert III to lead pandemic research center

The university launched the Center for Pandemic, Disaster, and Quarantine Research in April.

St. Thomas University (STU) is bringing on Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert III to lead its newly-launched Center for Pandemic, Disaster, and Quarantine (PDQ) Research.

The university is based in Miami Gardens and announced the new center in April, shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in South Florida.

“St. Thomas University‚Äôs PDQ is designed to be a global repository for information and research so everyone can make better decisions when dealing with pandemic and quarantine,” STU President David A. Armstrong said.

“There needs to be a place that is not driven by politics but by facts and science so politicians, business leaders and others can make informed choices to protect society. From the beginning, I targeted Mayor Oliver Gilbert to lead the PDQ because he is an ethical leader who is known locally and nationally as being a unifier who gets things done!”

Gilbert was first elected Miami Gardens Mayor in 2012. He’s facing term limits this year and is pursuing a seat on the Miami-Dade County Commission as he accepts the new role at STU.

“This is how as a community, country, and world we make sure there is an active continuum of the core responsibilities of government as well as activities of business and society; we research to understand the problem and create plans that overcome or circumvent the problem,” Gilbert said.

In announcing the center in later April, President Armstrong outlined the university’s goals.

“With the rise of COVID-19, the world has faced an unprecedented challenge that has forever altered the way we do business across a variety of sectors. COVID-19 will have a deep impact on our economy, and will forever change our societal norms,” Armstrong said.

“The STU Center for Pandemic, Disaster, and Quarantine Research will serve as a hub for impact studies on pandemics and disasters, and help model and predict how institutions, companies, cities, counties, states, and nations can better prepare and understand the far-reaching effects of these occurrences on our communities.”

South Florida has faced separate facets of a partial quarantine. After shutting down in March and April, the region entered Phase One of the state’s reopening plan in May. By June, the infection numbers spiked again, forcing South Florida to begin closing its economy once again.

Written By

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to ryan.t.nicol@gmail.com.

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