On July 1, 2019, Sherri Young, DO, assumed her new position as health officer and executive director of West Virginia’s Kanawha-Charleston Health Department – the first woman ever to serve in the role. Within five months on the job, she would be facing a once-in-a-generation global health crisis – helping guide a testing and vaccination effort that would serve as a model for the rest of the country.
COVID-19 reached the U.S. in mid-January 2020. Over the course of the next couple of months, cases spread like wildfire across the country. West Virginians watched as, slowly but surely, every state confirmed cases and waited with dread for the deadly virus to arrive.