~ Submitted by Bea Brunkhorst
I am pleased to announce my candidacy to continue serving on the Board of Health for another 3-year term.
When I moved to Bedford in 1995, I was impressed by how much people care for one another here, and their involvement in this well-run town. I thank the people of Bedford who have allowed me to contribute to the town as a member of the Board of Health for the last 23 years.
I come to the Board with a Ph.D. in biochemistry, decades of experience as a scientist, and day-to-day implementation of biosafety rules and regulations. With my training, experience, and passion for science and public health, the Board of Health is a natural fit.
In my day job, I am the Biosafety officer and Chair of my company’s Institutional Biosafety Committee. This role is incredibly useful in many facets of the Board of Health’s work, such as developing safety measures in this unprecedented Pandemic and serving as the community representative on some of the biotech Institutional Biosafety committees in Bedford.
My training as a scientist doing research in cancer immunotherapy ensures that I can keep the board and public informed on the latest public health-related science, including COVID-19. I believe in using all tools available to us to fight this Pandemic, including vaccines, community testing, masking, social distancing, and increased ventilation.
Over the last 21 months, we have learned that the Pandemic has increased pre-existing health issues such as mental health needs—especially in our younger and older populations—as well as food insecurity and obesity. Some of these issues could be addressed by supporting our social worker staffing, longevity of our food bank, and safe routes to schools as well as any other initiatives for outdoor exercise.
The Board of Health is tasked with addressing a myriad of public health issues before COVID arrived, and will continue to tackle them throughout and after the Pandemic has been resolved. We face continued threats from the opioid epidemic, vaping, new influenza strains, emergencies created by severe weather, heart disease, cancer, and violence. I want to use both my scientific and partnership skills to help our Board of Health be ready for such threats. For years, the Board has addressed the proliferation of tick-borne diseases. I would like to continue the work we have already done, and follow up on a letter we sent to the Massachusetts Public Health Commissioner asking for a more coordinated state effort like the one advocated by the Governor of NY state.
As a veteran member of the Board, I continue to learn about public health and safety developments while having a solid foundation in understanding our wonderful town of Bedford and what might work to address our challenges.
I look forward to working out solutions with my colleagues on the Board as well as encouraging community input. I would appreciate your support at the upcoming Caucus and your vote on March 12, 2022.