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A Former Public Health Official's Perspective on the Coronavirus Pandemic Response

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D. Allen Covey/Photo by D. Allen Covey, VDOT
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VDOT Visual Communications
Dr. Marissa Levine

Since the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 began spreading across the United States at the beginning of the year the country’s more than 2000 public health departments have been working around the clock to monitor the disease, provide testing, and inform the public about risks and prevention techniques. It’s brought the work done by public health officials, at the local, state, and national levels further into the public discourse than anytime in recent years. But, as the pandemic has spread, and become politicized, it’s made the work they’re doing even more difficult.

Today we explore the coronavirus response in the U.S. from a public health perspective with Dr. Marissa Levine, Professor of Public Health Practice and Family Medicine in the University of South Florida College of Public Health, where she focuses on population health improvement and teaches leadership.

Prior to becoming a professor Dr. Levine spent 16 years in state government having served as the Virginia State Health Commissioner, and she led the Virginia Department of Health from 2014-2018. She previously held deputy commissioner level leadership and local health department positions with VDH from 2002 until 2014.

During that time, Dr. Levine was involved in the state’s response to the H1N1 pandemic, and as Commissioner led the effort to respond to Ebola and Zika and has significant experience leading public health emergency response efforts at the local and state levels. Dr. Levine is also a retired family physician with 16 years of medical practice experience.

She’ll be presenting a lecture on Friday, November 13th as part of the Naples Discussion Group's 20-21 schedule called “Covid-19: Adapting to Change (with a capital ‘C’). Because of social distancing measures it will be held via Zoom, and is only open to some students of the Honors College. But, we sat down with her first to get her perspective on what’s unfolded this year.

Mike Kiniry is producer of Gulf Coast Live, and co-creator and host of the WGCU podcast Three Song Stories: Biography Through Music. He first joined the WGCU team in the summer of 2003 as an intern while studying Communication at Florida Gulf Coast University.
Julie Glenn is the News Director and the host of Gulf Coast Live. She joined the WGCU team in November of 2016 to expand the Gulf Coast Live call-in radio show from once a week to five days a week. Since then, the show has been recognized in state and regional competitions and has featured artists, political leaders, historians, environmental experts, doctors, local reporters, and national and international scholars. After leading the station's award-winning coverage of Hurricane Irma in September of 2017, Julie was named Interim News Director. In January of 2018, she launched WGCU's first podcast: Grape Minds.