Public Health Leadership

The recent pandemic of COVID-19, coupled with social media and 24 hour news coverage, has caused a lot of information to spread, some good and some bad.  People in positions of leadership have to decide what to with the information they are given.  They need to learn how to distill, how to determine good from bad, and they must set priorities.  In a situation like this those priorities can mean a debate between the health of a nation and the health of the nation’s economy.  

I have rarely been as proud of my fellow Mountaineers as I have been during the COVID-19 Pandemic.  The Appalachian DNA has given us a sense of purpose.  While we probably have one of the most vulnerable populations, West Virginia is on track to be one of the lowest in the nation, if not the lowest, in COVID-19 infections and deaths from the virus.  While this surge has hit us, we don’t seem as overwhelmed by it as other states. Yes, some of that is due to our solitary and rural nature, but our leadership has stepped up and the people are following.  We have stayed at home, washed our hands, and listened.  Our hospitals were having a difficult time staying open, yet state leaders and institutions have stepped up to keep them open and taking care of West Virginians.

At the federal level, the President mistook himself for a king and appointed himself as the sole decision maker.  His worry seems to be of the economy and reelection, not the health of the nation.  HIs desire for breakneck speed to reopen this country is foolish and selfish.  The recent backlash has caused the President to walk back his authoritarianism a little.  I hope he hears the cries of the people that do not want us to prioritize the health of the economy over the health of the people.

I hope everyone will work together to make certain we all can vote in November, by staying at home until the professionals tell us it is ok to resume activities.  As of right now, millions of people who work in healthcare are risking their life and the life of their families by working on the front lines.  Like David in the Old Testament, they go without the necessary armor and work with what they have.  They use worn out N95 masks like the smooth stones and are slaying the disease like a giant philistine. 

Published by Danny Scalise

Danny Franklin Scalise, II is the Executive Director and Chief Lobbyist of the West Virginia State Medical Association and its subsidiary organizations as well as a professor of Health Policy at the West Virginia University School of Public Health. He is considered one of the leading health policy experts in West Virginia and is a passionate advocate for public health. Scalise has been a public policy adviser to two Governors. He is well known across West Virginia as a problem solver and a great student of West Virginia politics & the legislative process. As part of the Manchin administration, Danny was the Recovery Czar in West Virginia managing $1.8 billion in grants and entitlement funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
 Danny earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from West Virginia University Institute of Technology in 2002, his Master of Business Administration from West Virginia University in 2005, and his Master of Public Health degree in Health Policy in 2018. In 2016 he became Certified in Public Health by the National Board of Public Health Examiners. He has been published on and regularly speaks on issues of public health, health policy, and local health department governance & organizational structure. Danny sits on the Board of Directors for the Thomas Health System in South Charleston, WV and in 2019 Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin appointed him to serve on the Kanawha-Charleston Board of Health which governs the largest and first PHAB Accredited Health Department in West Virginia. 
 
 Danny has been recognized by Opportunity Nation in 2013 as part of their national Opportunity Leaders & Scholars program and was awarded the “Health Administration Rising Star” by the American Public Health Association in 2016. He is a 2012 Leadership West Virginia graduate, was on the State Journal’s 2016 Generation Next: 40 under 40 list, was named a 2019 Young Gun by West Virginia Executive Magazine, and was given the 2019 Advocacy Award by the West Virginia Immunization Network for his work to protect West Virginia’s childhood immunization laws. Since joining in 2007, Danny has been an active participant in Mensa.
 
 


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