CDC headquarters has been largely empty throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. In accordance with nationwide tips, most CDC staff have been teleworking as a part of social distancing efforts to stop the unfold of the illness.
However a handful of employees stay within the company’s Emergency Operations Heart (EOC) from daily. And for 3 months, one in all them was Dr. Dana Meaney-Delman.
Dana served as one of many principal deputy incident managers, working intently with Incident Supervisor Dr. Jay Butler, who till lately led CDC’s response to the outbreak. And whereas rows of empty desks within the EOC are a stark reminder of the continued pandemic, CDC has a workforce of “actually proficient rock stars” working tirelessly to guard the general public, she says.
“This response has been difficult for a lot of causes, however notably as a result of there are such a lot of unknowns concerning the unfold and the effectiveness of prevention methods,” Dana says. “And the response is advanced. We have now to coordinate with different companies in different components of the federal government. However daily, I stroll away from the EOC amazed at what our unbelievable employees can accomplish and their dedication, motivation and innovation.”
From affected person care to public well being
For those who discuss to Dana, it’s apparent that she is a New Yorker, having spent her first 30 years in Lengthy Island. Her curiosity in drugs started in highschool whereas working in a doctor’s workplace. She jump-started her profession after highschool, being accepted right into a mixed school and medical faculty diploma program at SUNY Stony Brook Faculty of Drugs. After medical faculty and residency, she spent 12 years as an OB-GYN in personal apply and in educational drugs earlier than she turned excited by public well being. She continues to apply clinically at Atlanta’s Grady Memorial hospital as a part of adjunct college at Emory College.
Whereas working on the M.D. Anderson Most cancers Heart in Houston, Texas, Dana was requested to jot down scientific tips for treating most cancers in pregnant individuals, which in the end impressed her curiosity in public well being.
“Earlier than that have, I had by no means actually thought-about public well being as a profession path, as a result of I didn’t have a lot publicity to the sector in medical faculty and residency,” she says. “I all the time seen myself as a clinician, with a ardour to handle particular person sufferers, notably these in underserved areas.” However she famous that “rather a lot what OB-GYNs do daily is core to public well being.”
We display for a lot of ailments and situations and promote prevention all through the lives of ladies,” she says. So in 2005, she determined to pursue a grasp’s in public well being whereas persevering with to apply drugs and train medical residents and medical and nursing college students. Whereas finishing her MPH, she started working at CDC as a contractor, ultimately becoming a member of the company full-time in 2012.
A veteran of emergency responses
COVID-19 is the seventh response Dana has labored on. She participated in smaller emergency responses and performed management roles within the Ebola and Zika responses. For Zika, she was deployed to the CDC response earlier than the EOC activation and stayed with the response by way of all the activation. Her scientific experience as an OB-GYN was essential for Zika, which can lead to start defects amongst kids whose moms had Zika virus an infection whereas pregnant.
Her most up-to-date expertise earlier than COVID-19 was main the company’s response to the outbreak of extreme lung accidents linked to using e-cigarettes. Originally of the COVID-19 pandemic, she helped CDC mobilize the EOC and arise the incident administration construction for a coordinated response.
“On the finish of February, when it was fairly clear this was going to be a pandemic, I bear in mind feeling an intense obligation to serve,” Dana says. “I used to be just a little intimidated about what we have been going to face, however we had finished our many “gown rehearsals,” and CDC wanted leaders all through the company with response expertise.”
Serving to individuals do what they do greatest
On the COVID-19 response, she met commonly with response management and activity forces addressing completely different aspects of the outbreak, consults with outdoors consultants CDC faucets for recommendation, and fosters cross-coordination and dialogue of rising points inside the response. She seen her position largely as “serving to CDC’s unbelievable employees prioritize and encourage and assist individuals do what they do greatest.”
“We are going to get by way of this,” she mentioned as she rotated off the response on the finish of June.
“We will’t fake it’s not a really troublesome scenario, however we’ll get by way of it collectively. CDC has offered one of the best suggestions and steerage, and we’ll proceed to take action based mostly on the rising scientific proof. The American persons are listening and persevering with to do their half to reduce the results of this pandemic.”