Heroes of Healthcare
Heroes of Healthcare

Episode · 4 months ago

Public Health Initiatives from The White House w/ Dr. Sandra Ford


The big challenge in public health is finding a way to connect all the disparate services and resources scattered throughout the country to the people who need them most.

The best tool in that fight is data.

That’s why unifying data sources is the main focus of Dr. Sandra Ford, the Special Assistant to the President for Public Health and Science at The White House.

In this episode, she talks about the inherent challenges in public health and some of the strategies her team is using to tie everything together.

We discuss:

  • Dr. Ford’s path to the special assistant role at The White House
  • The vision and mission of the role
  • Why connecting data across services is the key to solving public health issues
  • The process of building platforms, procedures, and policies
  • Why local community support is the best tool to overcome vaccine hesitancy 

To hear this interview and more like it, subscribe to Heroes of Healthcare on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for Heroes of Healthcare in your favorite podcast player.

That's really my goal, because that's me. Is a day changer. You make say simpler than the people who need help really get the help. You're listening the heroes of healthcare, the podcast that highlights bold, selfless professionals in the healthcare industry focused on transforming lives in their communities. Let's get into the show. Welcome to the heros of healthcare podcast. I'm your host, Ted Wayne. It's an honor today to have a unique opportunity to speak with Dr Sandra Ford, who is the special assistant to President Biden for the public health and science at the White House. In this role, which she began in May of two thousand and twenty one, Dr Ford's portfolio includes the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institute for Health and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for preparedness and Response. A SPR very excited of a unique opportunity to bring such a insightful guest to the show and we are just really ready to get going and dive into hearing all the great things that Dr Ford and her team are doing. But before we get forward, let's little hear a little bit more about Dr Ford prior to assuming this exciting role with the White House. Dr Ford held a number of public health leadership positions in Georgia, most notably as district health director of the Cab County and chief executive officer of the Cab County Board of Health, a position that she held for sixteen years. As a board certified pediatrician, Dr Ford received her bachelor's degree in psychology from Stanford University, a medical degree from Howard University College of Medicine and a Master's degree in Business Administration with a focus and health services administration from Howard Universities Graduate School. Dr Ford has held several faculty positions at Howard University School of Medicine, Rowland School for Public Health at emory university and the more House School of Medicine. Her dedication to minority health and health and equities has led to her appearances on CNN, CNN international, Atlanta local stations including Fox, ABC, CBS and BC, and National Public Radio. It is certainly our honor to have Dr Sandra Ford join us in the heroes of healthcare podcast studio. Welcome to the heroes of healthcare podcast, Dr Ford. Thanks for joining us. Thank you so much for having me today. We're excited to hear what's going on in the White House and the work that you guys are doing, the good work you're doing, and and we're going to get into all about healthcare equity and topics that you're passionate about, but before we dive in, I'd love for you to share with the listeners a little bit about how you got into this crazy world of healthcare. And, as I mentioned, I think you grew up in Los Angeles and and obviously we're spent a lot of time in Atlanta and now you're up in Washington DC. But can you tell the listeners a little bit about your journey and what got you so passionate about being here? Sure, it's a little unusually. I grew up at Lah but I was born in New York and I wanted to be a rockhead. Okay, but all the rockets for flight foot seven and on my best day I'm five two and a half. And to my parents credit, they never discouraged it. I literally they tell stories how we're paying from the door, damn, trying to stretch, you know at some point. I guess you know, I always it was either going to be a doctor or dancer. Always I spent an unusual amount of time in the hospital to be such a healthy kid. But I had pneumonia and a couple of other things and so I had a lot of experiences with physicians and it just always was passionate about medicine and so I guess once I realized that Grossport I was waiting still and waiting for I was not going to happen, I decided to pursue the medical side. But literally since I was two years old, that's pretty much all I've ever wanted to be. Well, that's great. It's nice to have that direction. You know, so many kids come out of school and say I don't know what they would do when I was one of them, but it's nice to have that kind of clarity and that direction. So it tells me listens about how you got to the White House. Exciting new role and opportunity for you and, like I said earlier, I know you you spent a lot...

...of time in public health in the Atlanta market, but let's talk a little bit about that journey and how did you end up working for the current administration? Sure, so, I had was in the Kent County Georgia for Sixteen Years in different positions, mostly at the local level in public health. I was also a state health officer. But you know, I realize that you can impact change in your area, even your state, but there's so much more that we can do on a national level. And so I was really excited by the Widen Harris Campaign, the fact that it's a stork, first African, American and Asian woman. So there's a lot going on right there, and I just put in my head I really want to be part of this administration. And so, you know, started having some conversations with people about, you know, what that would look like. And really I probably started asking late because what I understood was, okay, well, you know, all the big positions have already been decided. You know, I don't know politickes like that, right. And so it just so happened that a very dear friend of mine from back college days set a letter to the domestic policy council and it was an extraordinary letter, basically very, very complimentary, and the next thing I knew, I started getting phone calls and I still wasn't quite sure you know what that meant. Sure, and so we started having conversations in February, March about some opportunities. And then when the position special assistance to the president for Public Health and science, I mean first of all the position alone, the title took my breath away, right, it's a mouthful. It's a mouthful. And you know, then the responsibilities of it just sounded so in line with what I had been doing at the local level but on a grander scale. So, you know, despite having to give up my job and relocaied and you know, I just I couldn't turn it down, I couldn't walk away. Yeah, know, when you get when you get that call, it's a privilege, right. And so so we got to answer the call. So so maybe silly question. So are you are physically located in the White House? I work in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, which is connected to the White House. And, okay, we have some meetings occasionally in the West Lank book quite predominantly, I mean. Okay, and so the first time you walked in the West Wing was at a surreal was it kind of like I kind of can't believe I'm here. So I will tell you the first thing I had. So we were remote for quite some time and I was actually still in Atlanta. I started in May and I was still Atlant I don't relocate to DC until mid June and we were still working remotely. But my supervisor said Hey, you, have you ever been over here? And I was like actually, know, will come on through and I literally, on my way over there, started hyperventilating because the enormity of it, yeah, hit me and I started crying. I mean it was a whole thing because I just thought about, you know, my family and my mom and you know just what it meant, you know, to have this privilege in this oppor two years, very emotional. I can imagine still is. I mean every day when I read that office I'm still completely awestruck at the privilege of getting to have this opportunity. Yeah, I will. I can't imagine. I know I lived outside the DC area for for a while and you just feel an awesomeness of the city when you get to it, even, you know, we even just visiting the monuments and and things like that, and when you stand outside, when you stay outside the gates of the White House, you sit there and you think about the magnitude of what goes on behind those walls. So I can't imagine what it's like being inside those walls. So thank you for sharing that for us. I'm sure it wasn't, and rightfully so. You should be proud of it and should be emotional about it. Thank you. You know, my mother worked for the Airlines and so I've flown to a lot of different places and DC is still my very favorite place to land because of what you describe. Just yeah, thing is so, you know, historic and you're like, oh my gosh, it's where I am. So yeah, you always want to window seat when you're going into, when you're flying into watch the redcing have. Well, that's great. And so tell us a...

...little bit about what is in terms of the role. What a special assistant to the president mean? Is it in and how does that work? I obviously it's not a cabinet position, but it is a it is an administration position. Sure. Well, first of all, they're quite quite a few of us. Are Number number of special assistance to the president for different areas. So I'm a special assistant for public health and science. My portfolio includes CBC, the National Institute of Health and I age, and Astra, which is the Assistant Secretary for preparedness and spots, which is great because those are all the things I was working on at the local level. So right I'm I communicate with them about the daytoday activities. We work on policy issues related to those agencies, but also a host of other things. I'm working on things I would never have, you know, thought about as part of my portfolio. But you know, I for quite some time I was also the only position on the team. So anything that had a medical bend to it, you know, I was also working on as well. That's great. And so you, I think I remember right, you officially moved into the role, and was it may of this year? Yes, make tent with my first say. Okay, so you coming up on coming up on six months, and if you can share with us a little bit about what is your in this role? What it what is your vision and mission? What are the important tasks that you and your team are trying to tackle right now? Will you in terms of what did the administration say? We see a gap, we see a need here for something and Dr Ford, we think you can, you know, be the person to kind of lead us into some some solutions and some results here. Sure. So I will tell you that I have a notebook of, you know, just kind of all the things I think about in terms of this position. Literally from like the first day I was offered the job, I wrote it, wrote out the title and what the duties were, and so even before I officially accept accepted the position, I started brainstorming about things that I wanted to meet specifically to work on or to have an impact on while I was in this position, and they included, you know, emergency comparedness and maternal and child health, equity, social determinants, youth violence, adolescent health, and so at my six month mark I actually went back over that list and absolutely every single thing on there's something that I'm working on. So, you know, to be that closely aligned with your vision, you know, in a position, is pretty extraordinary. Yeah, that's great. Right, it wasn't. Well, it's good, because sometimes you go into something with one perspective and six months later it's nothing like you thought it was going to be. So this was nice that it it landed right where, right where you thought it would be. Take us back to a little bit about your time into cab county and how did the experiences their kind of mold that vision, kind of mold that that things? What are the some of the things that you saw that you led you to be passionate about. Hey, we need to fix that, or that's an area that we really need to do something about, and then we can start talking a little bit about what are some of the things you're trying to do moving forward. But what were the observations you saw in that public position in Georgia? So the Cab County is a really interesting county because it has the largest refugee resettlement community in the southeastern United States, and so you're dealing with folks that are coming to the states with trauma beyond anything you could ever imagine, not speaking the language, not having appropriate close and so, you know, you think about the things that we as Americans are lacking and you multiply them and then you have a whole population that you have to deal with and help to manage that, and so that was very humbly. So there's a whole refugee piece that you know, was always a passion of mind, but as a mother and as a pediatrician with term of child health, is huge and so when I first got to the cab and cheek thousand and five, the infomortality rate in the morthern part of the county, which is very, very wealthy, with two point six per one hundredzero. So that's that's self better than the national average actually, I believe, which at that...

...time is about six. However, in the southern part of the county it was thirteen point five. Wow, so you're you talking about a fourfold risk that your baby's not going to be able to celebrate a source birthday with within a thirty five minute dry as you say, within such a close proximity. It's hard to believe that there would be such a big is, such a big spread in such a small area. Right. So I got that information actually before I even accepted the position, and that was one of the first to do. Is On my list is we've got to figure out how to address this. And so you know, that was a big, big project. That's still one of my pet paths, since we've gotten so much support in the cab form a turn of child health. It's one of those situations where you tell the story correctly, people are just compelled to US asue. And so it started from Intra mortality and just kind of morphed into a whole program where we have workforce development, we have dress for success, we have. Our Arts team has been trained as Zula's and so it helped to grow both the staff and support the community at the same time. So, which is wonderful right. And it's multiple programs and not just one thing it sounds like right. You know, it's multiple things like the dress for success and clothing and how to create the opportunities as well as getting the right health and and I don't mean to oversimplify it it, but is the challenge in terms of that dichotomy you talk about between the level of service or infant mortality? Is that simply a money thing? Is it just simply there? There better resources are going where the money is and that's because the health system gets more their bills paid that way. Their bills get paid easier that way. What is it as simple as that? Just it's sure the services follows the money. Now, I wish, I wish you were that sometime. If there's so many other things that go into have programs that are successful in programs and are not. Part of the reason that we had so much says into cab was based on the longevity, you know, of me being there, you know, for sixteen years. So it's a relationship thing. You know. I know. I know who handles housing, I know who runs workforce develop it, and so you know, the the extra added energy of trying to create a collaboration is already there because I know these folks and that what what I'm trying to do at now in this Pur position is to create that kind of collaboration without having to have the personal connection, because we can't go city by city and, you know, say okay, well, you're the housing person, make friends with the public health person. So, you know, trying to figure out a way to make those types of collaborations easier so that we can maximize the money that we have right. No, we've got the build back better coming that we're all praying for, and so this would not be the time to ask for additional money, because there's money in that all right, and so we've got to figure out how to maximize what we get to sort of the largest number of clothes. So I would think the geographical expansion of going from the cab county, which is thirty five minutes from end to end, as you kind of said, to nationwide some of the things. But I heard you say don't apply, I can't, I can't make a relationship in every city in the United States with the with the right health officials in the right housing officials and so on. So I've got to find a system or a program that deploys, or a policy even better, that will deploy the vision of what we need to do in in an equatble format. Is that? Is that accurate? Absolutely, I think that the difference. And they still teach me about it because, you know, at the local level we talk about hundreds of thousands and, if we're lucky, millions of dollars, and now we're talking about billions, right, truly trillions, and so everything is, you know, magnitude, you know, x, yet beyond your right, beyond your comprehension. Almost. Yeah, so you think about okay, but you're also talking about hut hundreds of millions of people...

...now as your hundred thousand, and so you have to figure out how to make sure that that money is just stributed equably, that you know, it gets into the hands of the people who needed the most, but also know how to use it the best. Right, overwhelming. At times. It's overwhelming is but you know, you try to pick, you know, like an know, with that one piece that's it. That's it. That's it. Yeah, well, I appreciate your honesty on that. I'm sure it would be. I couldn't I don't think we would believe you if you said it was not overwhelming. So yeah, it's a Dune thing task just staying a little bit more back in. You know, de cab I know when we talked the first time, you know, in preparation for our call today, you had mentioned that you know looking at the distribution of the of the funds, and I think I asked you the question, which was, what is the most frustrating thing that you ran into with that and how they get used or they don't get used? And and I know it's not your area, but you hear about the whole rent in the news somewhat related. You hear about the whole rent distribution, the rent protection program and how so many funds are sitting in cities and states and not being deployed due to red tape and the application process and all things like that. So what did you see that frustrated view? Because then I want to start talking about what are you guys doing and how are some of the things that you learned that we can do to maybe change that as we move forward with this, with this big fund, that we now have access that or we're going to have access to. So the frustrations were that. You know, first of all, you're correct. It was money out there, and that's why I say it's not necessarily a money thing, but I always felt like some of the people who needed the money the most didn't know it was available. You know, everyone is not tech savvy, everyone's not on the Internet and, especially if you're just working daytoday, you're not really aware of things that are available and you know, certain populations are not eager to seek out government assistance for anything, and so there's a lot of money, there's a lot of utilities that could be shared that folks to simply weren't aware of, and that that that continues to be a problem. You know, I think that, you know, folks who knew about the rental assistants got the rental assistants. Does that mean everyone would served? Absolutely not right. Yeah. Well, I think at heard what you said to I think, as you said. Yet you know, not not only do you have not access to internet or not access to information or not time to research it and do the work behind it, but you had language barriers with the refugee group we talked about. They don't it's not written in every in their language. And then there's fear of exposure. Right, I'm here, I'm here illegally, I'm here a short term, and so I don't want to ask for help because that might be the red flag that that gets me sent back to where I don't want to go right. And they don't understand that the polic health, you know, agencies are that's not our job. We're not in the policing business, we're in the health business and we saw that, you know, very clear with covid you know, the hesitations to even get tested, much less vascinated because it's fear of, you know, being identified. HMM, it was a big generals. HMM. Yeah, sure. So how do we fix it? So what are some of the things that you guys are planning and looking on in anticipation of having these these access to these funds? And, as you said, it's the funds have been there in the past. But so what do we need to do to fix it so that we get people who need to help their help, the right help, and maybe it's not always money. You know, and I don't know. I'm not saying let's just throw money at it, but it is the services and how do we invest the money in building those services to be better so that they can serve the community? And I don't want to answer the question for Yoursel I'll stop talking and just to ask you to what you have. What are you guys working on? So so I'm a lifelong learner. Obviously, who else would leave a comfortable position to come up to D see? But you know, I think my biggest weakness is technology and unfortunately, what it a major Ke's to this issue...

...is data. And so I'm going to have to be forced to learn from technology whether I like it or not, because, you know, a lot of this is just about knowing who needs what. You know, we have a sense that if, clearly, if you're homeless, you are most likely food insecure as well. But the the the challenge is to try to connect the data. So if you apply for, for example, renders assistance, let's say, right, it should be an automatic rollover of your information to other services that pepill so assist you, right. So that's what that's really my big baby project right now is how do we make it easier to serve people. That's about as simple as I can say it, because we kind of already have a sense of who need services. But we know who needs food and we know who needs housing and we know who needs health care. But I guarantee eighty percent of those people are the same people. Right. So what we need to do is figure out a safe, privacy protected way of sharing information so that we can reach out because again, if you're working fourteen hours a day, you don't have time to stand in line, you know, in the office and say what services are available with me. And to your earlier point, the application process should be simple. So you should be able to say I need healthcare. Check, okay, I might also hungry. Check same application. Not all you got to go down to. So and those office like this lenkneck right click this link enough and now start the process all over it all over again. And so that's really my goal, because that, to me, is a game changer. You make things simpler, than the people who need help really get the help. And it's not more money, it's better distribution of the money that's already there. Right. So is it is the vision, or could division be something like a online platform or some other mechanism because, as we said earlier, not everybody's got access to online but we're as you said, I can come in and create all these, for lack of a term, of health and Human Services Services that I need right, which is, you know, career development, housing, food, you know, all of those sorts of things, like through one one application. That's kind of the division. That's the vision. And then once you have that universal application, however it's set up, you also make sure, because we at the flip side of that is, don't ask me something that you can't fits right. So, you know, I want to make sure that, once we find out is in need, that they are actually linked to organizations that consider them, that we can bring it, that we can provide the service. Right. Don't make them feel out the application and then just sit there and say, well, that's great, thank you for information, but we don't have anything for you. We don't have a person who does that. Right. So that's the other piece of this. And so to support the local organizations, because a lot of people do this, suffer free, right. You know, we've got churches who have food banks and okay, that's fine, but we need to have a more solidified way of ensuring that people actually are connected to services and it that means paying the church to can make sure that they have a consistent, sustainable supply of food and giving them the appropriate technologies to access and access that application so that they know specifically through to contact. Okay, well, let's do that with them, so that that's kind of where we're I'm working on right now. I've been. It's a possible that, instead of the individual applying, you have, or maybe it's boats that you have, like a church would apply and say we can be a distribution hub for it. Sure, I mean will be recruiting, you know, part of it will have to be recruiting of community based organizations. You know, again, a lot of those types of operations are working based on grace, you know, public donations and things of that. Right, and so that's lovely, but let's let's try to support them, you know, at a larger level because of our expectations will be greater, right, you know. So, and also they...

...can also, on the flip side of that, part of the navigation piece of it, the community navigated because they the church knows he's Huntry, the church knows he's als, and so you know, put them in the kind of case manager, case navigator position to say, Hey, I've got thirty people in my congregation who I know for a fact me food. Let me put those names and connect them with this organization that I know hm performs that you know service. Right. Yeah, I've personally. I have done some work through an organization called convoy of hope, and that's what they all do. They'll were, they bring break trucks of food into different communities and what they'll say to the community is community reaches out to them and says, we've got a lot of people who need food, who need resources right now, and they say great, you do the grassroots reach out, will provide. Will show up with the truck, and they show up with the truck and the and the local church or school or whatever it is, puts out the word and says, if you if you're in need, we're going to be here on this Saturday or this weekend and come and we'll get you set up. So those are everywhere, though, and that's what's frustrating. Use these, I call them, little pockets of magic. Yeah, see all over the all over the country, but how do we collaborate and make them you know, make sure there's a cont of coalescence of them so that there's not just a pocket here and then the next pocket is sixty miles away in another city. You know, how do I a is a continuous availability so that if I'm in that of the city, I don't have to drive sixty hours, sixty miles and stand in line for three hours to get, you know, my meal right. And that's where you when you talk about the equitable distribution right, because we don't want to know that while the southeast is doing a great job of it and getting it out, but the southwest is struggling. We just don't have that same system. How do we? How do we build a network that does it across the board and how do we make sure that we have outreached to the fields who don't work all day and don't and don't have access to, you know, Internet on o where and you know what I mean, like don't, don't, arn't on their phones all day. Yeah, to know what's available. Sure, no, absolutely so. As you've started to get, you know, way into the deep end, as they say, when you started with the new role, what has you most excited? What are you seeing in terms of resources that are available to someone in your role. That's got you saying, wow, we can, we can really make a big movement here. So you picked a great day because morning, this morning, Vice President Kamala Harris had the first maternal health conference at the way house and talked about all of the different programs that administration is putting into play to support maternal health. Extending Medicaid postpart and coverage for an entire year. I mean that's huge. Yeah, but not just that. You know, some pre name and post nat on mental health things. You know, that excites me because those are things that we saw at the local level and just wanted somebody to listen and and, you know, fix it. And so to have that, you know, and it was hours and it was testimonies from, you know, local folks and mobs and women who had lost their babies and do Lahs and legislators, and to have Corey Booker, you know, even men involved. You know, it's huge because it's not it's not just a woman thing, it's a family thing. Sure, that impacts the whole family absolutely. And so and it impacts the economy long term because obviously these you're growing our next set of workers. So, you know, I thought I thought that was super exciting. For sure, every day there's pretty exciting, honestly, because there's a just a lot that goes on that we're working on. And what about technology resources? You talked a little bit about that, about how do we build a platform? How do we create something where it's a database, and maybe that's not the right word because we're trying to be protected, for we have to make sure it's a protected database with the privacy information and so on. But how how...

...do you find with technology resources? Is that a whole other process where you're bringing in a different group of professionals who are saying this is feasible to design, this is what we could do. Tell us a little bit about how that works. Well, the beauty of this position is that you really do have access to the best and brightest, and so you know there are whole other teams within not only the domestic policy council but just within the whole US government that has that that type of knowledge and expertise and have been working on this, you know, long before I got there. And so if we can use the power of the bully pulpit of the White House to kind of accelerate things so much better. And you know, maybe they're thinking of it from one perspective, but I'm thinking of it from, you know, the social determinus of health perspective. So, you know, maybe you're thinking of how to share data for, you know, healthcare outcomes and and Baling even, but I'm thinking of it about resources and Human Services. And so we need the same information but maybe for different reasons, and so it's good to be able to get in the room with folks who have understand that and try to figure out how we can find a win win for both of us. Yeah, I'm sure you must need a course just on how to navigate the resources of the Administre, of the White House and the government. And it's so massive that you just you're probably their days you wake up and say, I don't even know where to find that or how to get that that. That's true most of the time for me. You know, unlike most of the most of my colleagues, I'm not a staffer, I'm not ever worked in another administration and so even I tease, but you know, White House Lingo. You know, I'm just starting to seek White House a little bit, Uh Huh, and so even just understanding the way they describe things is something new for me. So certainly figuring out who does what. But everyone's pretty helpful about pointing you in the right direction, especially when you explain what it is that you're trying to so you know, you may say, okay, this is what all you need to talk to Excellency. That's the person who does that. Right, you're in the wrong place. Go over there, go down that all the beauty of it, though, is as simple as you know, you can be in a meeting and say, Hey, this is something that I'm interested in working on, and then you'll get like five emails after the meeting that say hey, I'm working on that, let's let's get together. So kind of the position I'm in right now, which is really exciting right, so to it is, I'm sure it is the being, as you said earlier, self proclaimed lifelong learner, you're in the thick of it, right. I mean I'm sure there's every there's days you're applying blots that you know, but there's every day is a big new learning adventure, which is, I'm sure, making it very exciting. Well, Google is my best friend. The acronyms are you know, I'm in such a medical type of yeah mindset that, you know, things that I'm thinking is like no, that's not what that stands for. It also, you know, just trying to understand the lingo and the acronyms and the agencies. You know, is a constantly. I mean, if you're a lifelong learner, if this is a job for you, right, because it keeps coming at you every day. What a success look like for you? You know, when you when you, if you think about you know how great your agenda that you set matched with what you're doing and all of that's really lined up. And you know, if you look back, I don't know how many years from now in terms of looking back at this, have you thought about that? You know, kind of that, you know, work from the work from the end backwards kind of thing. I'm what a success look like for you to find that? Yeah, I think about all time, because it is it's a it's a challenging job, it's a tough job, and so, you know, there are tiny victories and they're big victories, you know, contributing to different things. We had the surge in general. Produced a report on missing different disinformation in and health and you know, I threw in a couple of bullets on that and it made the final cut. Wow, okay, that's that's pretty cool, you know. So that's a small victory. But also, I mean on a larger scale, if I'm...

...able to identify a way that we can figure out how to share this information about healthcare needs and and nonhealth care needs, that's that's game changing for for long after I leave, because a lot of it it just is relaxing policies or regulations that may not be serving us now, may have been created in a patent day when, you know, we didn't have the types of information sharing platforms that we have now, and so just to relax restrictions like that, which may not even be that big of a challenge, once we sit down and figure it out. If we can do that and figure that a way to make sure that the person that's hungry also has access to a loove forward their head, or that when you get just charge from the hospital, that we know for sure that not only do you have food, but it's healthy food. It's not just you know what you could you know what was dropped off by your neighbor, but that we know you have had because we know that the link between good nutrition and wellness is everyone understands that. But how do we make sure it happens? Sure we can find ways to make those kinds of beings less challenging and prove the collaboration so that it's not just a personal relationship, that this is kind of in regulation, that you are to collaborate with these agencies to ensure the wellness of your community. I'm happy for that that you you walk away saying job well done. Yeah, right. So, you know, one of the things you talked about, which is I love to just spend a moment on, is that disinformation right? Unfortunately, we living in this world of you know, whether you call the fake news, disancer information. I don't know what's right. I don't know what's wrong, and we're seeing it so much with the vaccine. I mean I think it's a bit of an inhibitor for some of the vaccination rates getting higher or getting to the numbers that we would probably all like to see. What are some of the discussions you are all doing that at the White House that are that are I don't know, more to say the word combatting against it, but how do you what's your perception on how is it something that we what can we do to continue to get the get information out that people feel like a is trustworthy and reliable? You know, it's really all at the local level. I'll tell you. I'm listening in briefly this morning on the maternal and maternal health conference. One of the women who actually received the covid vaccine said that the reason she got it was because she saw her nurse and her doctor getting it. You know, I mean the government can say all they want to say about how great it is and CDC and all the other scientific agencies, but until your neighbor gets it or until you're you know, someone that you love or trust gets it, that that's the game. Change it for most folks it's you know, we can talk from the science on, and there are people who do readboet literature do the research. For for the most part it's your neighbors, your person you sit next to in church, and so the people who are getting the vaccine needs to spread the word that, you know, it's safe. I'm fine. You know, this was a smart decision. You know, I think that it helps to have the government supported and to make it free and to make it accessible, but also we just need to have the community, you know, push the people that they love to make sure that they understand how important it is. So it comes down to the local level again, right. It's just where it's all public health is local. All Go. It's all got to be at the local level. Yeah, I mean, I mean I remember hearing the stories about how numbers were down. They got the pastors together in the local area, you know, both Iman's Grabb eyes, everybody together and say it. You know, can you guys get behind this? And they said, we're all vaccinated, so we can get behind this. And they you know, they brought it to their congregations on the Sundays and they saw numbers go up. So it's it's no, no surprise. So it's it's not. It's not creating the policy at the top level. It's just about making sure we push the information and making sure it's getting out at the local level.

Yes, I mean we have lots of policies, but you know, people following them right, and so that's why, you know, it's important to make sure that you start here, but also you drill down to the other levels, because you can again, just like the money you can put the money up there, but is it going in the right place? So we need to make sure that we have, you know, local ambassador to seek up for things that are for you know, that's why community leaders are so important, because they they are the voices that the community lostens yeah, yeah, so it is we're kind of coming around the back end here. I'm Acron is the new word on everybody's lips, although I don't say it too well, and so you know not that. I guess I'm not a hundred percent surprise, but I thought after Delta we would probably start but I thought that I after the first wave, that it would start to get a little bit better. What are you hearing and what is the obviously it's still a lot of unknown everybody is trying to ask the questions. Is My vaccine work? Won't it work? How infectious is this? Is this another wave? Poor Physicians, who we feature all the time on the show are exhausted. I said a lot of them Delta said that they would do the second tour of duty, like in the military term, and now are we going to be facing a third one, or are we continuing to start to get a little bit of Hurd mean and meant, you know, herd immunity and vaccinations will will maybe not make it as severe. What are you hearing and what's the talk from from the administration? Well, you know that I think that the concern is that we're not done. That, I think that's the real talk from the administration. Is, you can call it whichever Greek letter you like. Yeah, but COVID is not gone. You know, it may change. It's, you know, very lens and maybe more severe, less severe, more contagious, less contagious, but it's not done and so I think that the push to continue to try to have people vaccinated, because what we do know is that the current variant that is still most prevalent in the United States, which is the Delta, is is very effectively controlled with vaccine. Omacrown is still up for discussion, but I feel like any protection at this point is the protection. It's certainly not going to make me more sick we did. We can pretty much say that with more insurance. I mean we may need a stronger those it's hard to stay at this point, but I think the bottom line is that we're not finished and I think that it's a hard message to sell because people are weary. Yeah, you know, they want to travel, they want to gather and you know, we keep having these tea tiny pockets when things calm down and it goes back out and then we wrap back up again. And so it's a hard message right now because of the nation. The world is weary. Yeah, but we're not finished and I think that's that's the real take film is that, you know, we need to continue to protect ourselves, continue to wear the maths, wash your hands and socially distance, which I know it's getting harder and harder, but we still we still have this deadly virus and we're still we're not losing people at the magnitude that we were in March of two thousand and twenty, but there's so folk dying from covid every single event. Yeah, every day. Yeah, I mean thoughts three years from now, four years from now? Is Covid the flu? Is it? Is it another flu? You mean you know there you know, you hear about people saying I got the flu shot this year, but then I got the flu because the string they gave me was not so we in a sense, it's not new. We it feels new, feels different, there's no doubt what we went through over the last two years is very different than anybody almost in at all, unless you were around for the Spanish flu, you know went through. But do you think that? And eventually that's where it we get? You might get any any given season. You might say I got the flu this season or I got covid or I got my flu shot and I got my covid shot. We will probably be vaccinating for Covid and the flu, I would imagine in a future I will say this. So I mean the flu...

...is deadly also, that's for sure. So I mean you know that that has we not minimize at all. It's for some population is of fluids extremely dangerous. So I think, you know, we're just I'm hoping that things calm down and that we're not seeing the waves that we're seeing right now. That would be awesome, but I think vaccination is the first line of Defense to make sure that even potentially happens can happen. Yeah, yeah, so early so we'll say we'll keep our fingers crossed that this is less than Delta and then we continue to move towards more, what, I don't know, full normalcy. Yeah, yeah, whatever. Yeah, what normal? I don't know what normals can know what. Don't know what. It's a relative term right. So well, as we wrap up, I just say thank you so much. In the middle of everything that's going on, it is a privilege to have you carve out a little bit of time to spend with us and our listeners and we just grateful for that. We I'd be remiss if I didn't close out our episode by with my standard question of ask you who is your hero. So I thought about that and, you know, I would have to say that my favor was my dad. First of all, my dad is eighty two and he still competes in Taekwondo. Wow, yeah, is world champion or has been that? Sure, if he doesn't, there's no one he can fight in his age group. He's fighting fifty year old. But in terms of discipline and just you know, it his outlook on life that he he is my hero. And also just from an emotional perspective, my dad always does the right thing. HMM, you know, even when it doesn't make sense to other people or when you know people are questioning you know, why would you do that? He is his his moral compass is extraordinary and so I admire that in him. There have been opportunities when even I was like I you really want to do that? By he just he just has a very clear the moral compass and and I really as I get older, I realize sometimes how challenging that could be. Sure he always does the right thing. Sure. And what his name is? William Ford. William Ford. And where's he? Where's he lived? He is in the Land Florida, which is is between Orlando and they tan the beach. Okay. Well, hopefully get some time over the holidays to spend some time with that and get a chance to see him. I know that job that you're in is very difficult. I'm sure there are no hours, lots of hours. There's is it's not a nine hundred and twenty five, and there's a lot. There's lots of there's lots of work to be done and we just appreciate your service and your call and the willingness to do that. You're definitely one of our heroes. We appreciate your many years of service, for sure, for the communities and everything and and there's anything we can do and continue to get the word out you, let us know. We appreciate your time and spending some time with us here today. Thank you so much, since it's been very really appreciate you great thank you, Dr Ford. Thank you. Have a great day. You've been listening to heroes of healthcare. For more subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player or visit us at heroes of healthcare podcastcom.

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