Providing Health Leadership During the COVID Pandemic

In this video, Dr. John Wiesman describes his experience as the Washington State Secretary of Health during COVID-19.
This series of video interviews with public health leaders is related to topics discussed in columns in the JPHMP series, The Management Moment. These brief interviews provide tips on putting into practice information from these columns.

John Wiesman, DrPH, MPH, is a Professor of the Practice in the Department of Health Policy and Management (HPM) at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health where he serves as the program director of the Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) program in health leadership. He brings 30 years of governmental public health practice to the Department. Dr. Wiesman is an accomplished transformational leader who focuses on system approaches to improving the public’s health.

Prior to joining the faculty, he served as the Washington State Secretary of Health for seven years where he led that state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He also served as a local health director and as president of ASTHO and NACCHO.

A Few Takeaways from the Interview

In this interview, Dr. Wiesman focuses on:

  • His own formative influences that laid the foundation for his public health career,
  • The challenge of making wise decisions in the face of uncertainty and conflicting information, especially during the early days of the pandemic,
  • The longer-term challenges associated “COVID fatigue” over the ensuing months of 2020-21,
  • The importance of maintaining personal health routines, which were challenged by the extremely long work days for a prolonged period.

Author Profile

Ed Baker
Dr. Edward L. Baker currently serves as Adjunct Professor at UNC, Harvard, and Indiana University schools of public health. Previously, he served as Director of the North Carolina Institute for Public Health at UNC, Assistant Surgeon General in the US Public Health Service, Director of CDC’s Public Heath Practice Program Office, Deputy Director of NIOSH, and Associate Professor of Occupational Health at Harvard.