Category: Epidemiology

Jennifer Horney, professor and founding director of UD's Epidemiology Program poses in the STAR Building with her new book, "The COVID-19 Response: The Vital Role of the Public Health Professional."
Jennifer Horney, professor and founding director of UD's Epidemiology Program has published her second book, "The COVID-19 Response: The Vital Role of the Public Health Professional."

COVID-19 response book published

November 03, 2022 Written by Amy Cherry | Photo by Ashley Barnas

UD's Epidemiology Program founder publishes second book

Jennifer Horney, professor and founding director of the Epidemiology Program within the University of Delaware’s College of Health Sciences, has published The COVID-19 Response: The Vital Role of the Public Health Professional. Published by Elsevier and geared towards graduate students in public health and those working in public health-adjacent fields, the book, available on Amazon, emphasizes the critical roles that the public health workforce played on the frontlines of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, public health’s greatest challenge in more than a century.

“Public health is at a real pivot point, and we need to raise awareness of the breadth and depth of the roles of public health agencies and the workforce,” Horney said. “During the COVID pandemic, a lot of people got wrapped up in the complexity or inconsistency of messaging from the CDC, but they didn’t realize that their friends and neighbors working in public health were responsible for standing up COVID test sites and running vaccination campaigns in NASCAR stadiums or analyzing millions of COVID test results.”

With several hundred thousand people working in public health across the U.S., Horney’s book aims to raise visibility about the profession.

“When public health does its job well, nobody knows, because we don’t know how many people aren’t getting tetanus after a disaster because they got a vaccine or aren’t getting sick when they eat in a restaurant because public health inspects restaurants,” she said. “We can’t measure the number of people who don’t get the flu annually because they get a flu shot or who don’t get childhood diseases because public health has worked for years to establish guidelines for childhood vaccines.”

The COVID-19 Response also delves into the disinvestment in public health following the 2008 financial crisis and pushes for a path that will be essential to meeting the future challenges and threats public health will undoubtedly face.

“After 9/11 and the anthrax attacks, major investments in public health preparedness were made, but those investments were not effectively linked to evidence of increased preparedness. As a result, when the financial downturn happened in 2008-2009, funding was cut,” Horney said. “We’re already seeing history repeat itself post-COVID-19, where budget extensions don’t include COVID funding. I don’t want to see us make the same mistakes that we made after 9/11.

“As the public health workforce deals with threats of violence, politicization, burnout, and funding challenges, we need to implement lessons learned and establish a viable path forward that includes sustainable investments in strategy and the workforce before the next public health crisis hits.”

Horney, who serves as core faculty at UD’s Disaster Research Center, previously published the Disaster Epidemiology: Methods and Applications in 2017. The academic text is used in her Disaster Epidemiology Methods class.  

Horney is also the editor for COVID-19, Frontline Responders and Mental Health: A Playbook for Delivering Resilient Public Health Systems Post-Pandemic, which covers the mental health impacts of the COVID-19 response. The book will be published by Emerald on January 23, 2022. 

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