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Epidemiologist Kenyatta Stephens says lack of leadership on COVID is an issue

Epidemiologist, Dr. Kenyatta Stephens says Black and Brown communities continue to be disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic due to the lack of a singular authority on the matter.

Stephens made the revelation while speaking with rolling out’s CEO, Munson Steed on Health IQ.

“So, the problem with not having a singular cohesive message is that people will tend to turn to whatever sources that they feel most comfortable with,” said Stephens.

Check out more from Stephens’ chat with Health IQ below.

Given the fact that we’re in a pandemic, please share with individuals what an epidemiologist does and how you routed yourself to this career?

An epidemiologist is a scientist that studies disease. Whenever I speak to younger audiences, I always say we’re like disease detectives. So typically, when there’s an outbreak and you have symptoms, we take symptoms and, we investigate to try to figure out what is causing the illness.

My path to epidemiology is sort of like my second career. I started out working at Emory University School of Medicine. My background is molecular genetics and molecular biology and I studied mitochondrial disorders; which are mutations that you normally receive from your mother. In doing breast cancer research, I also was doing cervical cancer research, because we saw some of the same mutations. While doing some work at the Grady Teen Clinic, I met an epidemiologist from our public health department at Emory and just kind of talked with her. Growing up in the ‘hood, those weren’t careers that young girls like myself had actually heard of. Most families tell you to be a doctor, lawyer teacher, those types of professions. The public health field wasn’t even on my radar.

Read more and listen to the interview after the jump.

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