Public Information Manager, Office of Communications
5 years of service
Got any favorite quotes?
“Strong people stand up for themselves, but stronger people stand up for others.”
Who inspires you?
Growing up with a disability, my parents didn’t treat me as though as I was different. They taught me I could do anything I put my mind to if I worked for it. I am working to instill the same concept with my daughter. I am thankful for my family, friends and special colleagues who have supported me personally and professionally along the way.
What is the most rewarding experience you have had in public health?
Working as a public information manager allows me to use my experience and love for journalism to serve the people of Oklahoma. My biggest reward is knowing that sharing information about important health topics can impact our state now and in the future. Information about topics such as vaccinations, disease outbreaks, injury prevention, emergency preparedness, sexual health, food safety, chronic disease and infant health affect everyone.
How did you start working in public health?
My first experience in public health was working at a private non-profit agency where I was hired to implement a tobacco prevention grant in Lincoln and Seminole counties. In this position, I learned about tobacco industry tactics and the importance of working with coalitions and all sectors of the community to promote social norm change through policy. I worked with communities, schools, businesses and other organizations who implemented changes in their policy to promote a healthy environment free of tobacco products.
Can you share a few highlights of your experience in public health in Oklahoma?
I work closely with the OSDH Emergency Preparedness and Response Service, which conducts regular exercises to ensure we are prepared to respond to a public health emergency such as an infectious disease outbreak. I have been involved in exercises at the state Emergency Operations Center as well as scenarios where we tested our capability to transport a patient with an infectious disease such as Ebola.
In your role, how do you educate people about public health?
As public information manager, my job is to educate the public about important health topics in the simplest way possible. I disseminate information for the media as well as the public through messaging on our website and social media pages. Providing accurate information to the media helps ensure the public receives the message. My goal is to ensure our message is received by all populations including those with disabilities, those who may not speak English and those with a low literacy level.
What is the most difficult part of your job?
It is sometimes difficult to balance the timing of the release of information. Releasing information before we have confirmation of facts is irresponsible and can lead to public alarm for no reason. On the other hand, waiting too long can delay the public’s response if there is a need to take action. I take the responsibility of releasing information very seriously.
If someone was interested in a public health career, what advice or encouragement would you give them?
Public health is a diverse field with a variety of subject topics comprised of people from all backgrounds and professional experiences. The people in this agency are passionate and dedicated to improving the health of Oklahomans. I would encourage anyone with the same qualities to join us.