Dr. Philip Keiser didn’t ask to be the face of the pandemic in Galveston County. However when COVID-19 reached us, it was Keiser, the county’s native well being authority, who was thrust into the highlight.
For greater than a 12 months, that’s principally the place he’s stayed — spending untold hours consulting with neighborhood leaders and organizing plans for neighborhood testing, case monitoring and, ultimately, mass vaccinations.
Amongst native well being officers, Keiser has been probably the most seen particular person on the entrance strains of the struggle towards COVID-19.
For these efforts, Keiser was named the 2021 Galveston County Day by day Information Citizen of the Yr.
Keiser was named the winner of the award throughout a ceremony in Dickinson on Thursday night.
“It’s been transformative,” Keiser stated concerning the final 12 months of his life. “I’ve realized to be extra affected person, extra considerate and extra ruthless once I’ve needed to be. I’ve realized to place the great of the trigger and the folks above my very own pursuits.”
Keiser has been the Galveston County native well being authority since 2016 and earlier this 12 months was named the interim president govt director of the Galveston County Well being District.
He’s an energetic doctor and professor on the College of Texas Medical Department.
Throughout the pandemic, Keiser acted as a sort of bridge between the medical board, the county’s largest well being care supplier, and the well being district, the county’s public well being division and the company charged with responding to illness outbreaks.
Usually, the job of well being authority is a part-time job, however the pandemic has thrust Keiser right into a extra outstanding place.
Keiser had performed a component in practically each side of the county’s response to the virus, from monitoring preliminary outbreaks to guiding vaccination efforts.
Whereas accepting the award Thursday night time, Keiser additionally lauded the work of his colleagues on the medical department and the well being district, in addition to the volunteers who helped spearhead the county’s mass vaccination efforts at Walter Corridor Park in League Metropolis.
“The one factor I’ve realized via the entire thing is that this can be a group effort,” Keiser stated.
Keiser was certainly one of 20 finalists named as nominees for the newspaper’s annual award, which it has been given out since 1988. The opposite nominees included enterprise house owners, politicians, religion leaders, academics and artists.
The award ceremony additionally honored Dr. William Johnson, the late horticulturist who was the county’s agricultural extension agent, founding father of the county‘s iconic grasp gardener program and, for practically 30 years, the writer of the gardening column in The Day by day Information.
Johnson died in February.
Johnson’s writing knowledgeable and impressed numerous readers over many years, Galveston County Day by day Information Editor Michael Smith stated throughout the ceremony.
“He knowledgeable, impressed and empowered generations of Day by day Information readers to get their palms soiled within the historic pursuit of horticulture, and he did it very properly,” Smith stated.