Three Microbiologists: Public Health Workers Making an Impact in Houston

By: CDC Foundation


Kadeshia Earl spends hours with her colleagues, Dr. Xi Pan and Laura Duarte, in a lab with samples of a deadly virus. It’s tedious work—safety and efficiency are paramount. Precision is critical. Each sample needs to be processed, cleaned, batched, extracted for RNA and tested for the presence of COVID-19. Through their laboratory work, patients will find out if they are negative or positive for the virus. These women are microbiologists for the Houston Health Department and are a critical part of the response to COVID-19.


Houston, TX, is the fourth most populous city in the nation. In July, the Houston region had surpassed over 100,000 COVID-19 cases with more than half of those cases within the city of Houston. The health department needed help. In order to provide support, the CDC Foundation, hired surge public health workers through the CDC Foundation’s COVID-19 Corps. These surge staff in Houston as well as others in some of the country’s most-impacted areas, from Detroit, MI, to Santa Clara, CA, were hired with the help of a $15 million donation provided by TikTok, one of CDC Foundation’s largest corporate gifts.


“All of us at TikTok stand with the brave public health responders who are on the frontlines of this crisis, and we thank them for their service. We’re honored to support the CDC Foundation’s COVID-19 Corps so that communities across America can perform critical tests and heal those in need,” said Michael Beckerman, VP of U.S. Public Policy for TikTok.