Former Florida State Surgeon Common Scott Rivkees, professor of the observe of well being companies, coverage and observe on the College of Public Well being, mentioned pandemic preparedness and his expertise as a public well being chief on Wednesday at a Q&A occasion hosted by the Ivy League+ Pre-health Society.
The occasion was organized as a part of the society’s mission to create “mentorship alternatives with visitor audio system like (Rivkees),” mentioned Pre-Well being Society President Justin Perry ’23, who moderated the occasion. Rivkees joined the Division of Well being Companies, Coverage and Observe on the College of Public Well being final fall following his tenure as state surgeon common, The Herald beforehand reported.
On the Q&A, Rivkees mentioned methods to arrange state well being departments to enhance pandemic preparedness.
“You will have totally different fashions for departments of well being,” Rivkees mentioned. Some states like New York and Florida have centralized departments with the flexibility to coordinate statewide responses, whereas others have much less centralized techniques that may be useful as a result of “responses occur domestically,” he defined.
“There are specific benefits for each techniques,” he mentioned, including that incorporating “the most effective of every” may enhance state well being departments.
Rivkees additionally addressed political polarization in the US and its relationship to COVID-19.
“Mortality in counties (from COVID-19) is said to not age, however who (people) voted for,” Rivkees mentioned, including that partnerships with neighborhood leaders may help handle polarization.
“One of many issues that I’ve realized is that you just actually (want) to have trusted neighborhood companions,” he mentioned. “Ensuring that, irrespective of people’ political affiliations, there are trusted people that (others) take heed to and respect to assist handle points down the street.”
In the course of the discuss, Rivkees recounted his most memorable experiences as state surgeon common, describing the day Florida got here down from a stage one state of emergency.
“I bought to handle the emergency operation middle (of) a number of hundred folks that had been collectively, day and night time, preventing this pandemic,” he mentioned. “The power to thank everyone for the superb job and sacrifice they did was actually memorable.”
On the occasion, Rivkees mentioned the methods during which his background as a doctor knowledgeable his work as state surgeon common.
“As a doctor, you see what points have an effect on people (and) you possibly can see people that suffer,” Rivkees mentioned. “You’ll be able to see … how one can make a distinction” by numerous health-related applications.
Members of the Pre-health Society who attended the occasion praised Rivkees’s perception into up to date public well being points in the US.
Perry — a scholar in Rivkees’s class PHP 1450: “COVID-19, Public Well being and Well being Coverage” — highlighted the professor’s “ideas, opinions and insights into public well being, present occasions and the way issues are unfolding with COVID-19.”
Ibrahim Ndiaye ’23, neighborhood outreach coordinator for the Pre-health Society, mentioned Rivkees’s discuss was “eye opening.”
“It gave me numerous perception into the present political local weather,” Ndiaye mentioned. “Different instances, COVID-19 is behind folks’s minds, and the pandemic typically is simply one thing that folks do not take into consideration. So that is actually one thing I used to be trying ahead to. I actually loved the discuss.”
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Neil Mehta is a designer and senior employees author at The Herald masking the Variety beat. He’s a sophomore from New York learning public well being.