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2020 reflections

Dear Public Health colleagues

As we enter 2021, I have been thinking about how I can encapsulate my observations and experiences of this division and organization in 2020 in one word (although admittedly one word does not do justice to the depth and richness of individuals, experiences and accomplishments in PH).

There is no doubt that this pandemic coupled with the realities of social and racial injustices, and economic inequalities further exploited by COVID-19 have profoundly impacted all of us and our communities. The prolonged emergency response has contributed to genuine fatigue and frustration.

And yet, what I see every day is a team with passion and perseverance; in other words a team with grit, a team that despite shifting its energy and time towards a valiant emergency response continues to deliver on commitments to our communities and vulnerable groups with courage and strength of character.

I believe everyone agrees that the PH response to COVID-19 has been nothing short of remarkable as demonstrated by the quality and speed of our investigation, contact tracing, data analysis, wrap around services, guidance and technical assistance (including the call center), public information and education, vaccines and testing logistics and coordination, and support to our long term care facilities, businesses and schools. Alongside this response, we have continued to deliver on our 'regular' commitments, and although there are too many achievements to enumerate in this email, I will highlight a few:

- Syringe Exchange Program providing needle exchange services and distributing Narcan used in dozens of overdose reversals

- STD/ HIV and (non-covid) communicable diseases programs haven't missed a beat with reportable diseases, case investigation and management

- Immunization clinic providing weekly services

- Women, Infants and Children providing an average of 750 individual appointments to clients every month

- Perinatal Care Coordination team serving around 1100 clients and the nurse visiting team conducting around 1700 visits

- Reproductive Health clinics providing services to over 2000 patients

- Environmental Health team continuing to inspect and educate businesses, and respond to hundreds of inquiries and complaints

- Prevention team expanding services around youth resiliency and diabetes, adolescent substance abuse, and suicide prevention

- Entire division receiving the National Public Health Reaccreditation

In 2021, we will face challenges and uncertainties, however, we have high and realistic hopes that the vaccines will bring this pandemic under control and that we can once again return to some sense of normalcy. On my part I remain committed to reflect on and learn from my experiences and your feedback, and identify areas that I should continue to work on to be an effective and deserving leader.

Thank you for giving me an opportunity to be part of this journey and experience with you.

Happy new year.



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