This week (April 6-12) marks National Public Health Week. During the most challenging health crisis of our lifetime, it’s more important than ever to thank those who work to keep our nation safer and healthier.
In honor of this recognition week, we highlight three Northern Illinois University alumni who represent the important work public health professionals do during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
David Banaszynski, B.S. ‘97, is the Health Officer for the Village of Hoffman Estates. He is part of the Emergency Operations Center in Hoffman Estates. Each morning he, along with police, fire, public works and other department heads hold a COVID-19 status briefing. He visits facilities that have a health permit to confirm they are operating according to the Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s executive order. When the pandemic began, Banaszynski went to all the local hospitals, schools, day cares and long-term care facilities to observe infection control protocols and offer professional advice on how they could do better. He also visits the retail food stores in the community to check their inventory and give advice on how they can improve their health procedures. He recently supervised the decontamination of an apartment building that had a COVID-19 positive citizen.
Steve Curatti, B.S. ’88 and MPA ’02 serves as Program Administrator for the Kendall County Health Department. He and his colleagues are performing among many other tasks during this fluid, dynamic and extraordinarily challenging time, the time-consuming and daily tasks of COVID-19 disease surveillance and case monitoring/management; diseased containment and community-wide education outreach. They are working closely with local public health system partners to establish and ensure a comprehensive response to the community’s needs and challenges.
Elizabeth “Beth” Squires, B.S. ’94, and MPH ’03 is the coordinator for the NIU Public Health academic programs. In addition to instructing courses to NIU students online, she has made several media appearances to educate the public about health and safety measures during the COVID-19 pandemic. She was one of the first guests to speak about COVID-19 on Chicago’s public radio station, WBEZ, and has answered listeners questions about preventing the virus spread. She has been a public health information source for the DeKalb Daily Chronicle and the Daily Herald.