- David Plazas is the director of opinion and engagement for the USA TODAY Network Tennessee.
COVID-19 officially emerged in Tennessee just days after tornadoes devastated the middle part of the state in March 2020.
Dr. Alex Jahangir, a Vanderbilt trauma surgeon and professor, who chaired Nashville’s public health board as a volunteer, was suddenly thrust into the spotlight when Mayor John Cooper asked him to lead the city’s COVID response.
He became a daily presence on televised news conferences to update the public on what was happening and measures government was putting into place to try to guard public health.
That experience came with its share of accolades, but also a wide range of scrutiny, criticism and bullying.
Jahangir documents the first year of COVID in his new book “Hot Spot: A Doctor’s Diary from the Pandemic,” which he wrote with Katie Seigenthaler, expanding upon his daily “op notes” during that time.
On this episode of the Tennessee Voices video podcast, Jahangir (who previously appeared in Episode 119 on Nov. 24, 2020) spoke about his experiences under the magnifying glass.
As a trauma surgeon, he is used to having to think fast during a crisis, but COVID provided so many hurdles, such as, mixed messages from state and federal officials, frustration from business owners who were tired of restrictions, and turmoil within the health department leadership.
The book comes out to the public on Sept. 15. I had a chance to read an advanced copy and it is an illuminating read.
Jahangir also penned a guest opinion column based on his book, in which he decries the bullies and also shares the lessons on leadership he learned from Nashville’s top Black public servants.
Op-Ed by Alex Jahangir:Lessons from COVID: Ignore the bullies and leave no one behind
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About Tennessee Voices
The Tennessee Voices videocast is a 20-minute program, which started in March 2020 and invites leaders, thinkers and innovators who have written guest columns for a USA TODAY Network Tennessee publication to share their insights and wisdom with me and our viewers.
Please email your ideas for future guests to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for watching.
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Watch past episodes: Tennessee Voices videocast
David Plazas is the director of opinion and engagement for the USA TODAY Network Tennessee and an editorial board member of The Tennessean. Tweet to him at @davidplazas.