Leah Casanave

Supervisor, STD Prevention and Control Program

Douglas County Health Department

Dr. Leah Casanave is an epidemiologist at Douglas County Health Department in Omaha, Neb., and is shifting the narrative on infectious diseases and creating space for open conversations on sexual health and safety practices. As a public health practitioner, Leah strives to use innovative evidence-based solutions when addressing priority health issues and currently leads and manages the STD Prevention and Control Program. She developed a game plan and distribution plan with their Federally Qualified Health Clinic and worked to obtain grant dollars for a future HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) distribution program for uninsured and otherwise non-mainstream clients. She has created and launched a Take Home Test Kit for college students through college counselors that contains materials and instructions for urine specimen collection at home to detect STDs, and developed a small pilot project for gonorrhea (GC) antibiotic susceptibility testing.

Leah holds a DrPH and an MPH in epidemiology from the University of Kentucky College of Public Health.

BOLD SOLUTION: Leah responded to a request from Metropolitan Omaha Community College to offer free STD testing daily on all three campuses. In collaboration with both Federally Qualified Health Centers in Omaha, Leah proposed a project involving Take Home Test Kits. The kits were made available to students through college counselors and contained materials and instructions for urine specimen collection at home. Once collected, samples could be dropped off at a number of convenient locations and then picked up by designated agencies for laboratory delivery and processing.
My superpower is the ability to meet people where they are and communicate complex health situations into lay terms.