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Student #1 Jerome Adams was the 20th Surgeon General of the United States. He was confirmed under President Donald Trump in 2017 and served during the COVID-19

Student #1

Jerome Adams was the 20th Surgeon General of the United States. He was confirmed under President Donald Trump in 2017 and served during the COVID-19 pandemic until he was asked to resign by President Joe Biden in 2021. Before the pandemic, he focused on the opioid epidemic by urging Americans to keep narcan on hand and the flu epidemic by promoting the flu vaccine. When the pandemic picked up speed, Adams was assigned to the COVID-19 task force (Wikipedia contributors, 1). 

During this time, Adams did not take COVID-19 seriously. Even as deaths from COVID-19 increased, Adams urged Americans to stop buying masks and that they were not effective. He also compared COVID-19 to the Flu and stated that individuals were more likely to contract the Flu than COVID (Law, 2). He minimized the seriousness of the pandemic. This statement about face masks was later retracted in a tweet. 

Adams also made statements that were unsupported. When asked about the disproportionate numbers of African Americans affected with COVID-19,   he told the African American community to avoid drugs, tobacco, and alcohol and to do it for their families. His colloquial language was not appreciated nor was his order for this demographic specially to stay home without understanding the need to be in public for their jobs (Bunn 3). What especially was not liked was his implication that the minority group engaged in risky behaviors. 

Adams was one of the only African American voices in the Trump Administration. The Trump administration sidelined him even as he argued for racial disparities present in the COVID pandemic (Diamond, 4). I think Jerome Adams was thrown in the deep end by the Trump Administration. He, like many leaders, was unprepared for the pandemic. He came from a background in poverty and heavily relied on that background for his actions. He was expected to be a well-rounded leader, but was not up to par. He tried to reach out to the population he was closest to but did so in a manner that insulted that group and implied they are more likely to engage in risky behavior. He lost credibility with not only minorities but also most of the American population. I think Adams had vision when he first became the Surgeon General but the combination of the administration he was working with along with the completely unpredictable nature of the COVID-19 pandemic led to his ineffectiveness in fighting the pandemic. It seems like he was almost set up to fail.

Student #2

As the former Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), President Biden’s Chief Medical Advisor on COVID-19, and a member of the Coronavirus Task Force under the Trump administration, Dr. Anthony Fauci demonstrated a leadership style marked by several key characteristics throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Dr. Fauci’s leadership behaviors were relationship-focused and centered on concern for people (Johnson, 1). His decades-long experience in public health and infectious diseases positioned him as a trusted authority. Dr. Fauci’s expertise and credibility in the field were instrumental in guiding public health responses and shaping policy decisions during the pandemic (Georgetown University, 2). For example, he provided evidence-based recommendations on mask-wearing, vaccination, and social distancing, backed by scientific research and data (Holland, 3).
Dr. Fauci was consistently transparent in communicating with the public, providing clear and accessible information about the virus, its spread, and necessary precautions. He utilized various platforms, including media interviews, press briefings, and congressional hearings, to disseminate information and address concerns. By communicating openly and honestly, he helped foster trust and understanding among the public, even when delivering complex messages or acknowledging uncertainties.
Throughout the evolving nature of the pandemic, Dr. Fauci demonstrated adaptability and flexibility in his approach. As new information emerged and situations changed, he willingly adjusted recommendations and strategies accordingly. For instance, he advocated for updates to vaccination guidelines based on emerging variants and scientific developments, highlighting the importance of remaining responsive to evolving circumstances (Goodman, 4). Dr. Fauci emphasized the importance of collaboration among public health experts, government officials, and other stakeholders in responding effectively to the crisis. He worked closely with colleagues within the United States and internationally to coordinate efforts, share information, and develop unified strategies. By fostering consensus and cooperation, he helped ensure a more coordinated and cohesive response to the pandemic (Goodman, 4).
Dr. Fauci demonstrated empathy and compassion in his interactions with those affected by the pandemic, including patients, healthcare workers, and the public. He acknowledged the emotional toll of the crisis, expressed sympathy for those who lost loved ones, and emphasized the importance of supporting one another during difficult times. His compassionate approach helped reassure and foster connections with individuals experiencing fear, uncertainty, and grief. Dr. Fauci’s behavior was consistent with my expectations of a leader in his position. He provided examples of his leadership style and displayed these characteristics regularly at press briefings, interviews, and congressional hearings. Dr. Fauci unfailingly exhibited credibility, expertise, transparency, adaptability, flexibility, empathy, and compassion when faced with uncertainty and fear during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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