The Specialists Cohort (Pennsylvania)
Jill Henning is an Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.
Early in the pandemic she and her students put together a coronavirus toolkit for businesses, families, and schools that was freely available here.
In March 2020, Editor Chip Minemyer recruited her along with a local physician to answer questions concerning COVID-19. She made science relatable and engaging answering hundreds of questions.
The COVID-19: Your Questions feature was picked up by other CNHI newspapers across the country.
In December 2020, Cambria reached a grave milestone: they were first in the nation for COVID-19 cases and deaths per capita. That December, Ashlee Kiel reached out to Jill to help with the community effort to educate she was beginning.
From that meeting, In This Together Cambria was born. This organization along with The Tribune Democrat and UPJ, have been educating residents of Cambria county through questions, webinar series, video productions, and educational materials.
Her entire goal through this pandemic was to make science relatable and easily understood. She continues to work towards that goal daily.
A few words from those who nominated Dr. Henning:
“Dr. Henning has made it her mission since the pandemic began to bring knowledge, facts, and reason to the people of Cambria County. Cambria County is a rural area that did not take much of the pandemic seriously. Dr. Henning was able to reach thousands across the county (and country) with the website (linked below) that she helped build. It is easy to follow and is very resourceful. She has also done countless interviews and webinars answering questions for the people of her community. She has been a leader in Cambria County over the past year, and even through some adversity she has faced, she continues to fight the good fight. She is a true hero to the people of this community, and I can guarantee her drive to spread her invaluable information has saved countless lives throughout the course of this pandemic.”
“We are so lucky to have a resource like Dr. Jill Henning from UPJ in town. Last week she shared questions that adults had been asking and this week she tackled the kids. Through the wonders of Zoom, she agreed to answer questions kids have about the Coronavirus by having her son and niece share their questions. She touched on how the virus spreads, if it “changes”, if take out meals safe, how to properly don and doff a mask and more. She uses clear and amazing visuals to explain the concepts and has a fun hand washing exercise that you can do with the kids. I hope you take the time to watch the whole video and invite your family to watch with you. She’s so upbeat and reassuring! “