When Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced the appointment of Dr. Joseph A. Ladapo, MD, PhD, as state Surgeon General and Secretary of the Florida Department of Health on September 21, it couldn’t have excited his constituents more…and upset mainstream media further.
A graduate of Wake Forest University, Dr. Ladapo holds an MD from Harvard Medical School and a PhD in Health Policy from Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
Ladapo said he was “very happy to be… working with Governor DeSantis and the leadership here in Florida to really think thoughtfully and in a very positive way about our public health here in Florida and frankly, hopefully set an example for other states around the country and maybe even further than that.”
While mainstream media tried their best to slant, bias and portray Dr. Lapado negatively, his background and wisdom made good sense to most Floridians.
“There are a few things we’re going to keep in mind as we approach public health here,” he said. “The first is that Florida will completely reject fear as a way of making policies in public health. We’re done with fear. That’s something that’s been unfortunately a centerpiece of health policy in the United States ever since the beginning of the pandemic, and it’s over here. Expiration date, it’s done.”
Dr. Ladapo was recently granted a professorship at the University of Florida (UF) College of Medicine. Prior to joining UF, he served as an associate professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) caring for hospitalized patients.
“We’re compassionate, we get it, there are scary things, we’ve seen a lot of fear from COVID over the past year and a half, and it’s very understandable,” he continued. “But the way to approach that is not from a place of fear because it doesn’t lead to good decisions. And we’ve seen a lot of that, where the risks and benefits of decisions haven’t been considered wholly or thoughtfully.”
“That’s over here. In terms of our approach… we’re going to acknowledge the fact that there are some things that are scary, but that’s not the place that we’re going to make decisions from,” he noted. “So we’re going to really think globally about the health policy decisions that we make in this state.”
Science vs. Opinion
“The second thing that I plan to be sure is very clear in our policymaking is that we’re going to… be very explicit about the differences between the science and our opinions,” he announced. “So we all have opinions, we all have a perspective, and we are absolutely entitled to those perspectives.”
“What’s been happening over the past year is that people have been taking the science, and they’ve been mis-representing it,” he said. “It’s been unclear where the discussion about the science ends and discussion about how you feel about the science and what you want people to do with the science begins. That will never be a problem here… You’ll know when we’re talking about data, and you’ll know when we’re talking about our opinions, our impressions, our preferences about the data.”
Public Health is Multi-Faceted
“And the the third thing is that we are going to never lose sight of the fact that public health is not one thing,” Dr. Ladapo told the enthusiastic crowd. “Public health is not about a single item, it’s not about how many cases of COVID there are in a location. That is a part of public health, but it’s not the only thing. As all of you know, that’s how public health has been treated over the past year and a half. That’s over, it’s not going to happen here.”
“As a perfect example of how glaringly we’ve ignored what public health really means… how we’ve just brazenly pulled children, who need the structure of school and need the structure of a routine in their lives, out of school… It’s terrible to do it for all kids, but we’ve also done it for kids with disabilities, and people have hardly even batted an eye.”
“What’s been happening over the past year is that people have been taking the science, and they’ve been mis-representing it… It’s been unclear where the discussion about the science ends and discussion about how you feel about the science and what you want people to do with the science begins. That will never be a problem here.” – Dr. Ladapo
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