Ready For The Vaccine? Workplace Public Health On The Frontlines

This week we are launching our new Workplace Public Health program in the Josh Bersin Academy, and as the pandemic rages, I encourage you to join. Developed in partnership with Columbia, this program will teach you how to build a public health policy for your workplace.

Let me offer you some other advice as well. First, I encourage you to read Apollo’s Arrow, a detailed book that describes the current Pandemic and gives you a historic perspective. What you’ll learn is that Pandemics are not new, and they typically last several years. So while the vaccines are coming, they won’t make the virus disappear. We will be dealing with health, culture, and environmental effects for the coming year. And susprising new news: only 51% of Americans are planning on taking the Vaccine!

Second, I have something even more exciting. One of my best friends from high school, Janet Berreman, is the District Health officer for the County of Kauai (the entire island of Kauai). Prior to this Janet was the Chief Public Health Officer for the City of Berkeley, and prior to that, she was a practicing pediatrician. 

I have known Janet for almost 50 years and she is one of the most caring, thoughtful, and highly skilled professionals I’ve met. Last weekend Janet was able to spend some time with me, sharing her perspectives on the Pandemic, the role of Public Health, Workplace protection, and the possible outcomes from vaccines. I encourage you to watch this video, and please join us in the Workplace Public Health program to discuss with your peers. 


We Need To Think Like Behavioral Economists

Much of public health is about psychology. How can we convince people, for example, that taking the Vaccine is ok? There are lots of test going on: at Wal-Mart, for example, they’re testing a message that says “your vaccine is reserved and waiting for you.”  Others are developing stickers “I got vaccinated today.” Katy Milkman from Wharton and other psychologists are trying lots of things. I suggest you read up.

About Janet Berreman, MD, MPH, FAAP

Dr. Berreman is originally from California and trained as a pediatrician at UCSF.  She worked as a general pediatrician in American Samoa for 4 years and in 1992 was one of the first pediatricians to join the Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center on Oahu, HI where she practiced until 2003.  During that time she mentored medical students and pediatric residents at UH JABSOM in her role as clinical faculty.

In 2003 Dr. Berreman returned to California where she completed an MPH at UC Berkeley.  From 2006 to 2016 she served as the City of Berkeley’s Health Officer, where she learned the nuts and bolts of local public health.  Her experience there included being at the helm of controlling a large university-based mumps outbreak; managing the local response to the H1N1 pandemic, including closing a local public school in the early days of the pandemic and managing vaccine distribution in its later months; and managing the local quarantine and monitoring of travelers exposed to the ebola virus outbreaks in West Africa.

Returning to Hawaii as the Kauai District Health Officer in 2016 allowed Dr. Berreman to combine her rural Pacific Island primary care experiences with the public health expertise she gained in California.  Her background gives her a strong foundation for doing this work—including the work of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is the best job I have ever had.  It is challenging and rewarding every day.  It is an honor and a privilege to do this work in these times.”

Join Us in the Josh Bersin Academy

Our new program on Workplace Public Health will bring you together to help share and build your own workplace health policies.

Join more than 20,000 of your peers in Josh Bersin Academy, The World’s Home for HR™. You’ll get access to our entire library of programs, resources, research, and community for only $250, one of the best holiday presents you can give yourself or your team.