Commissioner of Public Health, Monroe County
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career?
I’m learning the value of planning without over-planning. It’s important to look ahead for trends that, along with experience, can help one prepare. But in a fast-changing world, it’s also important to pay attention to the present and adapt plans based on changing realities. The pandemic is a great example — throughout the past year we have had to consistently modify plans based on new information. In my career, it’s equally important for me to pay attention to my own professional development in the moment, while I look ahead to whatever might be next in my career.
Who have been the biggest mentors in your career?
Lately, I’ve leaned heavily on my informal mentors and colleagues outside of health care and public health — leaders in our community who can offer an “outsider” perspective that helps me to understand how what we do within health care and public health will impact the greater community. Earlier in my career, I think back to academic mentors who taught me about the importance of communication and the research methods.
What do you do to unplug in your free time?
I love to cook! I enjoy looking for fresh ingredients at the store or farmers market and trying to figure out a meal combining that with ingredients I already have at home. Cooking is a very different creative process for me, one that nicely complements the creative process that I enjoy in my professional life. And I enjoy spending time at home with family — playing board games, outdoors activities, and travel when I can get away!