Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation
Sara Cody
Main content start

Sara Cody

County of Santa Clara

Fellowship year

2024 - County of Santa Clara - Study 32

Sara Cody will spend the year writing a book about her experience addressing the Covid-19 pandemic as a local health officer. Cody plans to write a personal memoir about her pandemic experience that will explore decision making under great uncertainty, the factors that enabled her to act quickly, the role of governmental structure, the various impacts of her decisions—personal, professional and political—and the forces at play during this chaotic time in the field of public health and in our history. Through reflection on her own experience and on the local, state and federal policy choices made during the pandemic, Cody will examine her core assumption that a robust public health system is necessary for individuals and communities to flourish. She will explore the tension between usual public health practice—deliberative, heavy on process and community engagement, and a long time horizon—and the necessary public health emergency response mode where decisions were rapid, made by fewer people with little community input, and all done within a very formal incident command structure. 

Cody is the Public Health Officer and Director of the Public Health Department for the County of Santa Clara in California.