Professor of Biology Herm Lehman has been applying his professional academic interest in public health to the greater good as a volunteer COVID-19 contact tracer for Oneida County.
“I was drawn to the work of the Public Health Department because it intersects with my teaching interests,” said Lehman, who began instructing a course in public health at Hamilton many years ago. Through that course, he gradually learned about health care infrastructure from the local to the international level.
“I’ve always been impressed with the public health enterprise, the hard work they do, with little reward,” Lehman said. “You hear a lot about doctors and nurses, but not those in the Public Health Department. They are as vital and essential to our collective health as anyone these days.”
So inspired, Lehman joined the contact tracing team to trace, or monitor, COVID-19-infected individuals and those who come in close contact with them in the local community. He said that since mid-April, he was part of a large team that called and chatted with these people, checking on their overall health status and wellbeing, on a daily basis. “I discovered, on almost a first-name basis, that our community is extraordinarily diverse and appreciative,” Lehman said.
Lehman has suspended his work with the county for the time being as he plans to apply his training and experience as a contact tracer at Hamilton. He credits the county Public Health Department with stepping up to oversee COVID-19 testing and data collection in the region.
“I am so impressed and in awe of their dedication, determination, and perseverance — they work long hours, seven-days-a-week managing this crisis,” Lehman said. “It is a privilege to work alongside this great group of people.”
|Hamilton College Contact Tracer Volunteers