Saluting Our COVID-19 Corps Heroes

Following the shutdowns that began just over a year ago as the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread across the nation, the CDC Foundation, in support of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), began a campaign to hire and onboard essential staff to provide assistance to state, local, tribal and territorial health departments. Overall, in under six months, the Foundation brought on board more than 773 field employees in 79 jurisdictions to fill a wide variety of critical and, in some cases, highly specialized roles, including epidemiologists, contact tracers, medical staff and more. 

Individually and as a group, these dedicated field staffers have had a significant effect on communities across the nation where they are serving and working to meet the challenges of a deadly pandemic. 

To share their impact, the CDC Foundation has developed a set of stories focusing on these COVID-19 Corps members and their work as part of this collective response. We hope you’ll take some time to learn more about them and their efforts as part of National Public Health Week. A few highlights are: 

  • A trio of registered nurses in their native Alaska have faced rain, snow, sleet, windstorms and even unexpected visits from wildlife to provide more than 110,000 COVID tests to the population of Anchorage and beyond. 
  • Young CDC Foundation field workers have provided incredible dividends for health departments in several regions that were looking for a way to provide mitigation strategies and information to some of the more than 20 million enrolled college students in the United States. 
  • Associate laboratory microbiologists Seymour Suncin, Farukh Bhatti and Etinosa Osagie joined the CDC Foundation’s COVID-19 Corps to provide support to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) Public Health Laboratory (PHL). “This program has been a great success, allowing young scientists to not only gain important laboratory experience but also give DOHMH much needed help during the COVID-19 pandemic," said Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi. 
covid-19 corps member

The Foundation will continue to champion public-health professionals like these individuals and looks forward to telling their stories in the coming months as the pandemic hopefully begins to wane and recovery advances. 

This blog is supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $45,939,536 with 100 percent funded by CDC/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, CDC/HHS or the U.S. Government. 

Toni Perling headshot
Toni Perling is a COVID-19 Corps communications officer for the CDC Foundation.