The public health workforce has risen to the occasion
Thanks to Elyssa Ely for her validation of public health (“The pharmacist,” Opinion, April 3). Her reflection on the role of pharmacists — as providers and educators — underscored the need for a multidisciplinary public health workforce in these pandemic times.
With resources strained and uncertainty continuing to be rampant, the need to think outside our comfortable boxes remains high. The public health workforce is broad and includes health care providers, community advocates, and administrators. The pharmacist in her opinion piece offered expertise in a variety of ways, not only by dispensing COVID-19 vaccinations but also by taking the time to connect with the people he was vaccinating.
It was gratifying to read Ely’s implicit highlighting of the evolving roles of the public health community. Although I’m not a pharmacist, I’m fortunate to work with many committed and talented pharmacists at Boston Medical Center and Tufts Medical Center. They routinely go the extra mile to connect with and inform the public about how to improve their health and well-being. This is the core of public health and a strong motivator for their service.
The writer serves on the Governing Council of the American Public Health Association and on the Alumni Leadership Council of the Boston University School of Public Health.
This is what real care looks like
Elyssa Ely’s “The pharmacist” immediately pulled me into the rest home where anxious residents were about to be vaccinated, as she painted them and the lone pharmacist administering the shots with gorgeous prose. It left me with tears of gratitude for that caregiver, who listened to each resident in this time of trials and blessings.
‘Why are you calling me “dear”?’
I enjoyed Elissa Ely’s account of the pharmacist who vaccinated rest home residents, until she praised him for asking, “How is your day, dear?” to “nervous women who were three times his age.”
Strangers rarely presumed to call me “dear” when I was young. Now that I’m old, it happens quite a bit. Sometimes I reciprocate by calling by calling them “sweetheart” or “darling.” Other times, I ask politely, “Why are you calling me ‘dear’? Are you in love with me?”
Felicia Nimue Ackerman