Jennifer F. Myers
I am queer and I am a senior informaticist and infectious disease epidemiologist.//
I am an infectious disease epidemiologist trained in the application of public health informatics to the areas of disease surveillance, prevention, preparedness, and health promotion. I received my Bachelor of Science degree (BS) in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Studies from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, and a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree with a dual concentration in Biostatistics and International Health from Boston University’s School of Public Health. My background includes development, implementation and evaluation of public health information systems including case reporting, outbreak management and electronic case and laboratory reporting. I returned home to California in 2012 after working for several years at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health as a surveillance epidemiologist within the Bureau of Infectious Diseases’ Office of Integrated Surveillance and Informatics Services where my focus was primarily on vaccine preventable diseases. Since then, I have spent the last 8 years with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) leading improvements in foodborne disease reporting and outbreak surveillance, which involves the development of new methods and programs for aberration detection and the automation of surveillance and capacity building projects for enteric diseases related to food exposures. I also served nationally as the member co-lead of the CSTE/CDC Influenza and Infectious Diseases Forecasting workgroup from 2018-2021.
In January 2020, the threat of introduction of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) into the United States with the potential for community transmission prompted state officials to redirect numerous staff from our home programs to the emergency response effort. I was redirected to my first of three rotations within the pandemic response in late January 2020 and am currently still serving as a senior informatics specialist within the CDPH COVID-19 Epidemiology and Surveillance Response Team. Undeniably, COVID-19 further compounded longstanding inequities in health across the globe. Many of these inequities being the result of structural injustices from racism to anti-LGBTQ policies; one all too common a form this takes is the unequal distribution of, and access to, health care resources. Reducing overall health risks in all communities is good for everyone, but a healthy community for everyone requires both partnership and visibility. I am thankful to work for an organization that embraces all our citizens regardless of where they live, work or play, what their social supports are, or how they identify. I am proud to be out, and proud of California and CDPH’s commitment to health equity. We ALL deserve to live a healthy life.