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Transcript: "Dr. Jan Carney"

Doctor Jan Carney and Gretchen Morse, Executive Director of the United Way, Chittenden County

Dr. Carney: I'm Dr. Jan Carney and I am Associate Dean for Public Health at the University of Vermont College of Medicine and from 1989-2003 I was Vermont's Commissioner of Health.

When I was health commissioner every day was an adventure, uh, you're the air traffic controller of public health, and there's really no book written about how to do the job.

We're responsible for the entire state, to protect health, improve health; there were day-to-day crises; um, disease outbreaks, environmental threats; and so the question I asked myself was, um: How do I make sure that while I'm taking care of everything that happens, every minute and every day, of looking long term. Even if we show a small improvement in a public health area, that will translate to improved health for many, many people who lived in the state of Vermont. And so that was really my goal.

Reporter Sera Congi: "A nationwide survey puts Vermont 2nd when it comes to women's healthcare"

Dr. Carney: I had the great opportunity, um, to be in charge of public health for a whole state. And to really face all those challenges, and- and see where it didn't work so well, and- and try and do it differently, or where our successes were tremendously gratifying.

Gretchen Morse: She had a terrific ability, um, to work with people from many, many different backgrounds.

Jan's work, uh, has really helped people who fund programs and run programs to focus on the most important issues. We have a very high percentage of children that are immunized, most everyone who needs prenatal care, get's prenatal care, we've been able to expand coverage for, um, pregnant women and children and almost no one does not have access to healthcare in the state of Vermont as a result of her, of her work.

Dr. Carney: It feels like in medicine that you've been given a gift. When you finally get to see that the things you're trying to accomplish that somebody's actually benefiting from them, using them, taking advantage of the educational efforts. It, it just feels great.

Right now I'm- I'm teaching future physicians. I love to teach. And as...when I was Vermont's Health Commissioner, um, I was a teacher. You- you had to educate, I talked to legislative committees, um, I talked to the public, I talked to health professionals... and you really have to figure out: how do you get your message across, um, if you want people to follow your advice, or...or help you accomplish something.

It's, its kind of like having, um, a group of patient's as opposed to doctors at a doctors office you talk to patients one on one. And, in public health you work with groups of patients and that is equally as gratifying a feeling. So I think that...the more that I can help advance prevention -- both at the community level... and in doctor's offices -- that is a source to me, of, um, great satisfaction.

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