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A State Health Commissioner’s perspective on the COVID-19 crisis

Sep 16, 2020
A candid discussion with Dr. Norman Oliver, Virginia State Health Commissioner, on the pandemic response from the front lines.
Dr. Norman Oliver

The United States does not have a nationalized health care system, and the fragmentation of our public health enterprise presents a variety of challenges in the face of a pandemic. Siloed information systems. Disparate data collection methods. Varying state approaches to public health and pandemic response. Now that we find ourselves in an extended state of emergency, ICF is eager to help reinvent America’s public health enterprise. That’s why we’re engaging experts from across the public health landscape to share their perspectives and inform the path forward.

How do states, counties, and the federal government coordinate their pandemic response efforts? Where do the various responsibilities sit, and how are regional differences addressed in a given state? The COVID-19 pandemic is serving as the ultimate stress test on our public health enterprise, and by understanding how our system functions under the hood, we hope to uncover creative solutions designed to protect and serve all citizens more effectively.

In this podcast, hosted by David Speiser, Ph.D., executive vice president at ICF, we zero in on the state’s perspective to capture insights from the front lines of the pandemic. The conversation with Virginia State Health Commissioner Dr. Norman Oliver covers topics such as:

  • The fragmented nature of public health across the U.S. and how states vary in their approaches.
  • The role of the Virginia Department of Health in regulating hospital capacity, along with lessons being absorbed from the COVID-19 emergency about how to maintain surge capacity of facilities and medical professionals.
  • How to align the public with the need to embrace critical public health interventions such as vaccine acceptance, masking, and physical distancing requirements.
  • Recommendations for how to effectively prioritize new or modernized public health information systems after the pandemic, while also ensuring that they are truly national and universal.

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