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Three Burning Questions with Michelle Allen, Chair of the NCSD Board of Directors
Michelle is the Infectious Diseases Section Director for the Georgia Department of Public Health, our Board Chair. For her, prevention is a passion!
December 8, 2017
Michelle L. Allen is the Infectious Disease Section Director for the Georgia Department of Public Health. In this role, Ms. Allen oversees statewide infectious disease prevention services to ensure all activities and initiatives work in unison. She also informs policy and procedure, and directs planning and operational activities for the state’s HIV/AIDS, STD and Tuberculosis programs. Before her role as director, Ms. Allen spent 14 years in field service in communicable disease prevention, intervention, surveillance and education.
Ms. Allen currently serves as chairman of the board of directors for the National Coalition of STD Directors. She previously sat on the advisory board for the STD/HIV Prevention Training Center at Johns Hopkins University.
A native of Atlanta and a proud “Georgia Peach,” Ms. Allen is a distinguished alumna of Georgia Southern University and a member of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc. For Full Bio, click here.
What do you love most about working in STD prevention?
What I love most about working in STD is the opportunity to help people. The stigma associated with STDs can be very overwhelming. Many clients overcome significant barriers like access to care and social determinants. You are Blessed to be a Blessing.
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing our field?
Resources both human and financial are pressing problems as we battle what was labeled years ago as a Hidden Epidemic. We spend millions to treat STDs and resource poor programs often struggle to replace senior staff members who retire after years of literally working two jobs. The barriers are not insurmountable. I believe program collaboration and service integration (an initiative coined by CDC) can have high quality improvement yields in the area of cost benefits and health outcomes.
When you’re not working, what’s your favorite thing to do with your free time?
I love to travel with my husband, who instantly transforms into Indiana Jones, once his passport is stamped. We have climbed Mayan Ruins, Snorkeled in Turks and Caicos, and literally went on an excursion where we….wait for it…swam with sharks. Prevention is a passion, and during the Zika Epidemic, I traveled with Zika Condom Kits and information to share with my new friends.
I love my NCSD family and strive to make you all proud. I am by honored at the support and mentoring I have received from the Board, David Harvey, NCSD Staff, and it’s members. I could not end without a special shout out to the Great State of Georgia (silently hum Georgia on My Mind). I am surrounded by a brilliant team of dedicated individuals both at the state office and in our health districts. Special thanks to our department’s leadership Commissioner Dr. Pat O’Neal, my supervisor Dr. Chris Rustin, and Ms. Gail Jackson also know as Simply the Best. You all are mission critical to the quality of our program.