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rosemarie halt p’89, mph’12 leads delaware county covid-19 response
liaising with government officials, coordinating coronavirus (covid-19) testing sites, and managing volunteer health professionals, rosemarie halt p'89, mph'12 has taken on many new responsibilities since she was tapped to coordinate the public health response for delaware county, pennsylvania.
“initially it was trying to navigate this crisis and find out the most critical things that needed to be addressed,” said halt. “now we are thinking through priorities and determining what is our immediate emergency and how to respond.”
as the number of covid-19 cases was climbing in delaware county, the county government was in need of someone to coordinate public health efforts, but no official office was previously established for these responsibilities. halt, a proud resident and active community member was an obvious choice. in the last few months, she has worked to be the intermediary between delaware county and chester county’s office of public health as well as with the pennsylvania department of health.
“i felt like there was a great need in my community and it was something that i could do that would help a lot of people,” said halt.
halt said she has been inspired to see people come together and rise to the occasion during this crisis. in these types of crises, she said, the local response can have the greatest impact, so it was important to do what they could to help their community.
“the biggest thing i was able to pull together initially was just a daily check-in call with all of the key departments of the county,” said halt. it seems simple but is critical to understanding the scope of the emergency. “we are able to determine what is our responsibility and how do we respond.”
as the emergency has evolved, halt has seen a great response from emergency responders and healthcare professionals.
halt says her experience and education from usciences have always helped to guide her through times like these, and recently she has been leaning on the network that she made from usciences.
“i’m still relying on many of the professors and former classmates that i’ve had,” halt said. “in these types of crisis, it is often the relationships that you have and the ability to connect to other people that are crucial to our response.”
halt said she is hopeful that the next generation of usciences students will become leaders in similar circumstances.
“our healthcare system is in need of bright young people to help,” said halt. “we have to be able to have the best education to respond to emergencies like these and adapt to the changing environment. going to a university that gives you a lot of skills in leadership and variety of experiences -- that gives you the ability to respond in a crisis.”
halt encouraged the usciences community to support the usciences student emergency fund which provides financial support to students impacted by covid-19.
when asked how her fellow alumni can help during this crisis, halt said, first, follow stay-at-home orders to ensure folks are protecting themselves and their families.
“if your region is asking for volunteers, particularly if you have a medical background, you may be able to help by signing up for the medical reserve corps,” said halt. “and help the people around you. be aware of your neighbors and their needs by providing food to them or getting their prescriptions so they don’t have to put themselves at risk by leaving the house.”
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