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COVID-19 Spotlight: Dawn Snyder, MPH, CHES®, Prevention Manager

Many practicing CHES® and MCHES® have recently found that their specialist abilities are shining more than ever, as they pivot their skills to adjust to the changing demands of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dawn Snyder, a Prevention Manager for Broward House of Florida, has put her CHES® competencies to work in an amazing endeavor… a drive-through coronavirus antibody-testing site in Hard Rock Stadium in South Florida.

Dawn received an undergraduate and graduate degree from Montclair University of New Jersey, and received her CHES® certification in 2014. Her early career encompassed a position at a health department as well as teaching public health coursework at Montclair, which included a CHES® prep course that encompassed building resume and interview skills, as well as how to find job opportunities in the field.

“Even though I enjoyed teaching, my heart has always been in public health and prevention,” said Dawn.  She made a career transition that included a move from New Jersey to South Florida to join the non-profit organization Broward House. Broward House strives to improve the quality of life for individuals impacted with chronic health challenges, including HIV. Dawn’s primary goal as a Prevention Manager is to reach people who are living with HIV and are unaware of their status… and the hard facts say that 17% of those living with HIV do not even know that they have it.

As a Prevention Manager, Dawn focuses on the counseling and testing portion of Hepatitis C, HIV, and STI’s. Recently, Broward House received a call from CAN Community Health, an organization tasked with organizing a COVID-19 drive-through testing facility by the governor of Florida. As Broward House specializes in processing antibody testing, they were happy to assist in the effort, and staff members were quickly trained and mobilized for the task.

“We were asked on a Tuesday morning to spearhead the antibody testing site in Miami,” said Dawn. “By that afternoon, we were receiving training, and we were onsite the very next morning.” Dawn’s team remained at the Hard Rock Stadium for two weeks, working ten hours a day to set up the massive effort.  You can view news coverage of the effort here.

“It was an amazing experience for our team, where we were able to utilize best practices in emergency response and testing, employ a whole new skill set… and simply be a part of something never before accomplished. I love that I never know what each day will bring.”

According to Dawn, Broward House has not slowed a bit in outreach during these unprecedented times.  “We are still doing our testing, and we see that our clients truly need us right now. It has been an amazing team effort. It is only in teams that we accomplish great things in Public Health.”

It is interesting to note that Dawn previously worked at a health department during the H1N1 outbreak and with Montclair University during the Ebola outbreak. She is now witnessing the enormous impact of this pandemic in her state, and around the globe.  When asked about the enormous implications of coronavirus, Dawn commented, “This virus has effected so many people that I know, in so many ways.  It hits home very hard.” 

For more information on Broward House, visit www.browardhouse.org.

Posted by Jessica Wessner at 7:00 AM
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