Messages from Public Health and other Colleagues
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- You are brave. I'm so glad you did it and hope you won't suffer too many negative repercussions. I forwarded it to PH colleagues.
- I just wanted to say how much I admire your forthrightness in the New York Times. As a gay man who survived the AIDS epidemic, I pretty much reached the conclusion that abstinence, at least in the short term, was the most practical way to avoid monkeypox infection. The emphasis on sex-positive messaging is just another example of institutional failure in a society more obsessed with image than reality.
- I wanted to thank you for taking a stand in favor of public health measures to contain the spread of monkeypox. I'm sure it's not easy and that you're facing intense criticism and accusations. I know you have only the public's best interests at heart, including people of all backgrounds. A profile in courage.
- THANK YOU for your leadership on this issue. You are 100% right on the mark with what the public health messaging need to be. I know it not easy taking such a position but many of us "old public health epidemiologists" so appreciate your leadership and are saying the same thing.
- Thanks so much for your courage. You struck a blow for common sense.
- Bet the fur is flying but kudos, my friend. Someone has to call out this irresponsible administration.
- I just finished reading the NYT article from 7/18 and wanted to thank you for your courage in speaking out. I totally agree that DOH is being misleading and making the outbreak worse. The patients are really really suffering as we're seeing it in our clinics.
- Thank you for speaking out and for taking a stance on something so important. I stand by you 200%. DOHMH leadership is foolish to remove one of their most senior and experienced medical epidemiologist/physician from the Bureau of Communicable Diseases (BCD). This will come back to haunt those in power now at DOHMH. As another old-timer PH colleague and mentor said so eloquently, "Cutting off your nose to spite your face. Taking Don away from BCD outbreaks. How stupid is that?" 7-25-22
- What a loss for DOHMH and the City. Of course, you are right, Don, and blocking discussion with censorship is dangerous. Education as to behavior choices does not equate to blaming the victim. It's all in the messaging. Thank you for your service! 7-26-22
- I read the New York Time article and agree with your concern about the NYC DOH messaging . I hope the response from the health department is not vindictive. 7-26-22
- Thanks so much for speaking up Don. The science speaks for itself and people need to be made aware so they can make healthy choices for themselves, their partners, and communities. Dialogue among public health leaders/experts such as yourself should be embraced, not stifled:-( Stay strong and hope common sense will prevail.
- You're the Cassandra of NYC DOHMH. Messaging is key and we've missed vital opportunities to get ahead of this...I applaud you for standing up for what's right.
- Thank you again for your work and public service of 22 years. That mp4 recording with HR was Orwellian. What are you supposed to do in Maternal Health? Tell women of the future that, had NYC Health Department listened to you in July 2022, monkeypox may not have spread to women and children? That catastrophic neonatal disease could have been prevented, had they listened?
Truly a circus.
- Ugh, Don. I don't even have words. This makes me incredibly sad.
I am in full agreement with you. Public health messaging is key. People need to be informed about their health risks. You have a duty to share this knowledge. I have seen your work first hand and know that you perform your work with complete dedication and integrity. I am sorry the NYC DOHMH seems to be going down just like the CDC. I thought the NYC DOHMH was our last hold out. Thank you for trying to educate the public
- Just read the times article and disgusted (but not overly surprised) that public health officials have become so politically correct that they have completely lost focus regarding the role of their JOB and protecting the public - especially the gay community! Glad to know you still have your values and common sense. You also have a voice in your writing and perhaps this is the time to pivot and use that platform to articulate the dangers of letting politics guide public health decisions - there are now global examples with COVID and other diseases to fill a library!!!!
- This COH has no business leading an agency with lives on the line. Who would've thought it could get worse than during the BdB years? Good for you for speaking truth to power.
- I applaud you in your fight for truth. I left DOHMH as I watched objectivity and truth be suppressed for other ideologies that did not have the health of the people of the city as their priority.
- Thank you for speaking up. As an infectious diseases physician who has done HIV care in NYC since the early years of the HIV epidemic, I had the same concerns about the messaging failing to suggest or recommend sexual risk reduction until the monkeypox outbreak is controlled and until individuals are vaccinated. Sexual health is essential, and suggesting, indeed advising, individual to limit sex or numbers of partners until interventions that make sex safer is only good clinical care and appropriate, indeed essential, public health. Messages could even have included coupled risk reduction and vaccine guidance such as "we recommend limiting partners until you are immune through vaccination". As someone else noted "Education as to behavior choices does not equate to blaming the victim. It's all in the messaging." and to not advise potential risk reducing behaviors is a dereliction of public health responsibility. It is terrible that your advice was not heeded and terrible that you are being reassigned; this should reconsidered. It would be public health's and NYC's loss to not have and rely on your expertise as part of the critical response to this emerging epidemic. I wish you the best and thank you for your work
- THANK YOU for your service to the public and for maintaining your integrity to the science of public health, despite the many challenges. You are a leader.
- Just a few words to express my complete support. You are an outstanding physician, epidemiologist and advocate for patients and all New Yorkers.
- Thank you so much for your dedication to providing factual information and advice to all people regarding the best ways to
protect themselves from the monkeypox virus. Truth telling is
the only way to help people to limit the spread of this virus. Thank you for your clear advice and values.
- I hope you get a lawyer and sue the City under Labor (LAB) CHAPTER 31, ARTICLE 20-C, SECTION 740 Retaliatory action by employers; prohibition
- NYC Public Health has devolved into show business.
- Dear Dr. Weiss, thank you for doing your job with honesty and integrity. Working for the DOHMH has been one of the highlights of my career in public health. I am highly disappointed and flabbergasted at DOHMH's stance regarding this outbreak. The responsibility of public health officers is to state *facts* clearly and in a timely manner. DOHMH has abdicated its duty and responsibility.
- Thank you for saying something. After watching how high risk populations reacted to CoViD and mask mandates, I'm not surprised by the reaction to the reality of the situation. The only stigma that I feel is being a gay man who disagrees with how "activists" have tried to gaslight public health. We need all the tools available to fight Mpox.
- Sorry to learn of your travails. Obedience is the prime directive. That is why you are being punished. The merit of your views is utterly irrelevant to the small-minded folks who are jerking you around. Stay strong!
- As a friend and colleague for over a decade you have always inspired me through your work and dedication to public health. Your transfer is a loss for our hospitals, the health department and the city. Thank you for your courage and inspiring me throughout my career.
- Thank you Dr Weiss for putting objective science above subjective politics on how prevent the spread of monkey pox
- I'm furious about the retaliation you've suffered for assessing the evidence and speaking the truth. At a time when the NYC Health Department is experiencing tremendous attrition, this only further serves to tank morale and accelerate the march toward the door. We've lost so many committed, experienced, senior staff who are fed up. NYC is in jeopardy.
- I was suspended twice w/o pay in my career for speaking my mind and I wouldn't change a thing for having done so. I also survived harassment- in the end he was fired, not me. My boss taught me when you know you are right it doesn't matter what others think - of course he power that I hadn't achieved. But I would follow him into a burning building if he told me to. I have always respected Don as a first rate epidemiologist and hope something good comes out of this for him. I think often about Tom Safranek, Nancy Messonier, and Sarah Park and how badly they were treated.
- Leaving aside for one moment the harm this move has done to you, I cannot believe that The Powers That Be are sacrificing your knowledge and skill on the altar of ego.
- Don, you're truly a hero for publicly saying what's right. I stand with you. Even the new tobacco ads are completely sanitized and a waste of millions.
- Don, Thank you for your outstanding years of dedication, commitment and above-all, honesty.
- From one of your NYSDOH colleagues... THANK YOU FOR SAYING IT. You are absolutely correct. You were right during COVID-19 when you spoke up, and you're right now. I was so happy to see your comments printed in the NYT article. You're not alone. From one infection control epi to another, I'm sorry that you were retaliated against and know that you are not alone. Many of us feel the same way you do.
- In this administration, stroking egos and telling politicians what they want to hear matter more than knowledge and expertise. What happened to you is only the most glaring example of it. People will die so that the idiots in charge can feel good about themselves. What you said about leadership on your blog is very relatable. Imagine what NYC could be if public servants were allowed to do the jobs they passionately came on board to do.
- I agree with above person. The entire "yes" team has to go. COO, C-level, some Deputy Commissioners, and even a few Assistant COH. Ineffective hierarchy besides being Political first, Truthful second. You can't have a group of politicians running the health department! It's all going downhill.
- I am grateful for your efforts in getting forthright preventive messaging out to the gay community. It is terrible that, in the process, the Bureau of Communicable Disease lost an outstanding infectious disease epidemiologist with an extensive record of service to the city.
- Just getting wind of this down in NC. how devastating and demoralizing that NYC DOHMH leadership has done this. your work inspired me while at the agency. i know you work based on evidence, not political correctness. we need you... nyers need you!