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Sunday, Jul 21, 2024
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BERNADETTE BODEN-ALBALA

 DIRECTOR, FOUNDING DEAN PROGRAM IN PUBLIC HEALTH UCI

DAY JOB: Tapped last year to head the start of a new public health school at UCI. Will lead the transition and combination of the current Program in Public Health, Department of Epidemiology, and Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine into one new cohesive school that will have north of 1,400 students. The public health school will be one part of the Susan and Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Joined a task force organized by Chancellor Howard Gillman in January to help educate and support the school’s some 37,600 students, and work with the Orange County Health Care Agency in its efforts of tracking and analyzing the looming spread of COVID-19 in Orange County. Launched large-scale, population-based study that will generate a more accurate estimate of the true prevalence of the pandemic in OC.

NOTABLE: The survey involves serological testing of a representative sample of 5,000 OrangeCounty residents to determine if they have COVID-19 antibodies, according to UCI. It will “help guide local health officials as they ease social distancing requirements and gradually reopen the economy—while also allowing them to better identify at-risk populations and understand how long immunity to the virus lasts,” it said.

QUOTABLE: “Testing that is scientifically and statistically sound is absolutely critical to getting people all over Orange County back to work and back to their lives in a safe way,” said Boden-Albala in May. “What we’ve seen so far is that low-income and minority communities are experiencing the most severe symptoms and death rates. It’s tragic, and we have to know why this is happening and what we can do to prevent it. By partnering across Orange County, from Irvine and Newport Beach to Santa Ana and Anaheim, we can do this.”

FAST FACT: In a slightly unusual move for a university dean, Boden-Albala, known for her research in preventative healthcare and how social factors affect health conditions, chose to teach a class of her own at start of year in order to “get a better understanding of the students.”The class of about 150 pupils began in January.The topic? Infectious diseases, featuring a curious one that was rapidly spreading throughout parts ofChina.

2020 HOBBY: “Sitting on my outdoor patio in beautiful Orange County, I discovered the beautiful and diverse birds of southern California. So, I bought some books, and binoculars in hand I have become a bird watcher!”

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