The ASTHO Take: A Week in Public Health News

December 04, 2015|3:03 p.m.| Virgie Townsend

Must-read news for leaders in public health.

  • Public Health Community Grieves for San Bernardino Victims

On Wednesday, two assailants killed 14 people and injured 21 more at a holiday party for the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health. The alleged assailants were a married couple, Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik. Farook was an employee at the county health department. Both Farook and Malik died during a gun battle with police.

Many of the victims were public health workers: environmental health specialists, a department office assistant, health inspectors, and other county health agency employees. ASTHO joins the public health community in mourning their loss.

"The public health community is in shock and grieving for our brothers and sisters at the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health and all others touched by yesterday's events," says ASTHO Executive Director Paul Jarris. "Know this: the men and women who work at San Bernardino County Department of Public Health are in the business of saving and improving lives. This act of mass murder and terror cannot come close to diminishing the good that they have done and have set in motion for the future."

LaMar Hasbrouck, executive director of the National Association of City and County Health Officials (NACCHO) and former director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said in a statement that one of the shooting survivors, Amanda Gaspard, is affiliated with NACCHO.

“Our work in public health requires that we place ourselves squarely on the frontlines in keeping our communities healthy and safe. This sometimes means we risk personal safety in service to our mission,” said Hasbrouck. “As our thoughts turn to our friends and colleagues at the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health, we want to remind and urge all of our colleagues that we are a resilient community that strongly supports each another, especially in times of crisis.”

Please join us in remembering those we lost in San Bernardino. May we honor their memory through our continued dedication to making the nation a healthier, safer place to live, learn, and work.