Contagious Conversations: A Trusted Voice of Public Health in the Community


Through the COVID-19 pandemic, we learned that many Americans rely on a trusted voice in the community to receive health information. One of those trusted voices is Mysheika Roberts, MD, MPH, health commissioner for the city of Columbus, OH. As health commissioner, Dr. Roberts leads a team of more than 500 public health professionals who are focused on neighborhood-based approaches to address the root causes of health inequities, from safe and affordable housing to education and nutrition to jobs and violent crime. 

Many, if not all, health departments in our country have been addressing stark mortality, hospitalization, vaccination and other inequities, across dimensions such as race/ethnicity, geography, income, education and disability status during COVID-19. In the latest episode of our Contagious Conversations podcast, Dr. Roberts discusses why community engagement is important and how she and her team are addressing health inequities in Columbus.

As part of the discussion, Dr. Roberts provides powerful examples of community partnerships in Columbus that are having a tremendous impact during the pandemic. She also shares personal insight on the importance of individual and institutional relationships. During her time in Columbus, Dr. Roberts has worked with a variety of partners to serve her community, and she details her journey to becoming a trusted voice of public health in Columbus.

Dr. Roberts also discusses the Lights, Camera, Action National Summit Series convened by public health partners, including the CDC Foundation, to advance recommendations for a modernized U.S. public health system. In the most recent virtual summit, the discussion focused on catalyzing cross-sectoral partnerships and community engagement.

I encourage everyone to listen to this episode and learn more about why community engagement is vital to ensure that each of us, in all of our communities, has a fair opportunity to be as healthy as possible. 

Lauren Smith Headshot
Lauren A. Smith, MD, MPH, is the chief health equity and strategy officer for the CDC Foundation.