Mercy College's "Public Health America" Program Features Interview with Dr. Sherlita Amler, Westchester County Health Commissioner

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BronxNet Television Program hosted by Dr. William Latimer Discusses Impacts of COVID-19 in the Community

Mercy College announced today that the January 25, 2022 episode of “Public Health America,” will feature an interview with Sherlita Amler, M.D., Commissioner of the Westchester County (NY) Health Department. Hosted by William Latimer, Ph.D., Vice President of Mercy College’s Bronx Campus, the program includes a thought-provoking discussion on the impacts COVID-19 has had in the area and how the virus has disproportionately affected communities of color.

Part of Westchester County Executive George Latimer’s Administration, Amler has been the Commissioner of Health since 2011. Amler was on the frontlines when Westchester became the national epicenter of the pandemic in March 2020. Her years of experience at the federal, state and local levels as a licensed physician, registered nurse and certified emergency manager prepared her for the role of managing the community’s health and safety during an unprecedented time in Westchester County’s public health history. Amler’s prior experience also helped her develop the communication tools to inform the public on a broad scale about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine and the importance of following recommended safety protocols.

“Westchester residents are well-educated around COVID-19 and are taking the necessary steps to protect themselves,” said Amler in the “Public Health America” interview, citing the county’s 96 percent vaccination rate. However, she added that there is still work to do and the county won’t rest until all eligible residents are fully vaccinated and protected.

The County Executive and Amler have worked tirelessly since the start of the pandemic to reach all residents, especially those hard to reach due to language barriers or mistrust of the medical community, to not only educate them about COVID but to also encourage them to get vaccinated and stay current on vaccinations. The County has relied on “trusted messengers” to record PSAs in English and in Spanish, paid advertisements, social media campaigns. Some of those trusted messengers have included elected and spiritual leaders and even the Radio City Rocketts and the New York Knicks. 

Amler also emphasized the importance of maintaining basic practices of social distancing, mask-wearing, testing and quarantining after exposure to, “…protect those in the community who can’t be vaccinated,” such as children under age five and people with underlying medical conditions. “We have to be smart in how we behave and use the resources that are available,” the Commissioner said.

The episode, “Public Health America with Dr. William Latimer: Dr. Sherlita Amler,” can be viewed on BronxNet’s website at New episodes of “Public Health America” air every Tuesday at 7 p.m., replaying on Wednesdays at 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Each 30-minute episode focuses on a current health topic ranging from occupational hazards to the role of the arts in public health.