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Casey VanWoerkom 

Casey VanWoerkom

Epidemiologist,
Acute Disease Service

3 year of service


Who inspires you?

My family is my biggest inspiration; I do what I do for them. I also have to say my coworkers inspire me every day. Their hard work, motivation, and desire to work until the job is done motivates me to be better every single day. 

Got any favorite quotes?

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” -Aesop

How did you start working in Public Health?

As a student at the OU College of Public Health I had the opportunity to work part time as an intern for the Acute Disease Service. During that time, I was able to interview individuals about recent illnesses, assist with outbreak investigations, and help with the influenza surveillance for Oklahoma.

Can you share a few highlights of your experience in public health in Oklahoma? What is the most rewarding part of your work?

We had a situation where a local university had notified us of positive lab results for mumps among a subset of students and that there were others with similar symptoms. I had the opportunity to go onsite and work with the university’s medical staff, health educator, and with the local county health department communicable disease nurses to provide education, discuss transmission, prevention and control measures these students could take to prevent further spread. In addition, the university’s medical staff and the nurses from the county health department were able to provide MMR vaccine to those recommended individuals. It really felt like true public health in action and it was very rewarding to be a part of that.   

In your role, how do you educate people about public health?

As an epidemiologist with the Acute Disease Service, I have been able to work with medical providers and members of the public through on-call consultations. In the Acute Disease Service, there is an epidemiologist available 24/7/365 to answer communicable disease questions. I’ve also had opportunities to interact with the media to answer questions related to influenza.

What is the most rewarding experience you have had in public health?

The most rewarding part for me is being able to help solve a problem and prevent it from becoming a larger issue. Whether that is identifying a potential source of an outbreak, identifying contacts during an investigation and making recommendations, or sharing weekly influenza data.

If someone was interested in a public health career, what advice or encouragement would you give them?

I would encourage them to follow that desire. Working my area, we work closely with many partners both inside and outside this agency. There are many different areas of public health, so I would say find what interests you and pursue that.

If you are unable to view the video above, please click here: https://youtu.be/ZwTrT7lcxuE

 

 

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