A: We can! On this Thanksgiving evening, we want to share the impressive and successful public health response of the Cherokee Nation. Their recipe: strong leadership, early decisive action, data-driven decisions, widespread testing, and a mask mandate. Compared to surrounding areas of Oklahoma State, the Cherokee Nation has experienced much lower case and mortality rates.
We highly recommend a recent STAT News article by Usha Lee McFarling. In McFarling’s article, you’ll meet leaders like Lisa Pivec, a member of the Cherokee Nation and senior director of the Cherokee Nation Health Services. Pivec’s team has lead a response that has been praised by many experts, including Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health.
You’ll also meet Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., who pushed for the mask mandate early, supported Pivec’s team in myriad ways, and ensured PPE supplies for tribal health care workers.
The Cherokee Nation response has been guided by a dashboard (linked below) modeled after a similar dashboard developed at Harvard. These data drive day-to-day pandemic management and have helped the tribe make decisions in the absence of Federal leadership and resources.
Does your family have a tradition of reading aloud on Thanksgiving? (Nerdy Girl Alison’s family usually reads President Lincoln’s 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation.) As you gather tonight with perhaps a smaller-than-usual group, consider sharing this compelling story and celebrating the power of a skilled and forceful pandemic response.