40 under 40 class of 2021
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Epidemiology Program Manager
Washoe County Health District
"There must be consistent feedback loops in order to improve health of our community. I believe through strong collaborative partnerships that public health issues can be identified and backed with quality data and addressed through increased knowledge, education related to prevention. "
Three words to describe me:
curious, independent, thorough
The best part of my job:
hearing from the community that an employee of the Health District was able to bring a moment of peace, knowledge, or comfort in this tumultuous time
Something that would surprise others about me:
I didn't want to go to college when I graduated high school.
Heather Kerwin has worn many hats in the public health field, including as an infectious disease epidemiologist for the state of New Mexico, a statistician for the Washoe County Health District, and a research associate and adjunct faculty at the University of Nevada, Reno. Currently, Heather plays a prominent role in Washoe County’s fight against COVID-19, as the leader of the county’s case investigation and contact tracing efforts. In this role, she has helped train more than 175 staff to conduct investigations and contact tracing.
Heather is also a mentor for up-and-coming public health leaders. In the last five years, she has trained or mentored more than 15 students seeking to obtain their master’s in public health and currently manages a team of young, new hires in the Epidemiology Program at Washoe County Health District.
Heather holds an MPH in epidemiology from the University of Nevada, Reno.