The Unsung Heroes of COVID-19

I’ve been fortunate to work with the California Department of Public Health on COVID-19 related initiatives since April 2020. Going into this, as a public sector consultant with over 15 years’ experience, I thought I knew a thing or two. But working alongside doctors, epidemiologists, and public health IT experts during a pandemic has been, in a word, humbling.

Among everything I’ve learned this past year, something that really strikes me is the collaborative nature of these professionals. On a daily basis we’re coordinating activities and making decisions with public health officers and IT staff at the city, county, and state level. Despite the diverse objectives and needs of these groups we find consensus and keep moving forward in the name of the common good.

And while frontline healthcare workers deserve recognition for their tireless efforts in combatting the virus, I want to recognize the amazing dedication of our public health officers. They’ve been working behind the scenes to track and control COVID-19, making decisions that have saved tens of thousands of lives. Since the start of the pandemic, I’ve watched epidemiologists work many late nights and weekends. And I know IT experts who have worked months on end without a day off.

The collective efforts of these unsung heroes have contributed to California’s success in containing COVID-19 and mitigating its impact. They’re part of the reason the State was able to fully re-open this week. So, if you know a public health worker, or happen to meet one, give them an elbow bump and say thanks.