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Public Health in Pittsburgh Jamie Sokol ’05 helps implement emergency plans in western Pennsylvania.

As public health administrator for the Allegheny County Health Department, Jamie Sokol had to help implement a COVID-19 emergency response plan for the county that includes Pittsburgh. That meant shutting down some of the health department’s programs, scaling back others, and building up new ones for an area that serves more than 1 million people across urban and rural areas of western Pennsylvania.

“A crisis like this underscores the need for strong public health funding,” says Sokol.

Almost overnight, she helped transform an abandoned clinic into a COVID-19 specimen collection site. In September, as cases began to climb, Sokol worked with local and state agencies to open another community-based, free, drive-through testing site. The site is located in a part of Allegheny County where many people do not have easy access to health care.