Dr. Aileen Marty Has Been Breaking Barriers for Women in Public Health for Years

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Infectious disease specialist, Florida International University professor, retired naval officer and wife are just some of the titles used to describe Dr. Aileen Marty. 

She’s been breaking barriers for women in public health for years, but you’ve recently seen her as an expert in countless interviews since the start of the coronavirus pandemic over one year ago. 

“When I first recognized that this could be a large problem, immediately we went into that mode of be first, be right, be honest, be empathetic, be truthful and provide as much information to the public and to colleagues as could possibly be done,” Dr. Marty said.

In the early stages of the COVID-19 crisis, Dr. Marty didn’t waste any time getting right to work. Her way of breaking down the science and the complex issues has made her a household name in South Florida and beyond. 

“I believe that you should always tell a story in a way that makes sense to the person that is listening,” Dr. Marty said. 

The FIU professor says she gained her effective communication skills when she served in the U.S. Navy for 25 years. 

“I was in the military and I helped develop a lot of satellite courses to train other physicians and to do a number of different things, and in order to do those types of programs, I was taught about how to provide and communicate information,” Dr. Marty said. 

If that’s not enough, Dr. Marty has over 40 years in the field of Public Health, working with the World Health Organization managing outbreaks like SARS, MERS and Ebola. She’s definitely got some scientific street cred. 

“All of that brought experience and knowledge that I could share with others so that was my goal, to make sure that people were as ready and had as many tools available to them as possible,” Dr. Marty said. 

One year later, the doctor weighed in on what she’s learned through this unprecedented pandemic. 

“I think we’re so fortunate today that this horrific thing happened when we have so many advances in immunology and so many advances in molecular biology,” Dr. Marty said.

Many of the experts we see guiding us through the pandemic are men — and it’s no wonder now that historically the people most noted for their work in math and science have been male. But in South Florida, it’s women who possess the most recognizable faces helping us understand COVID-19. NBC 6’s Nathalia Ortiz reports.

She also touched on the progress that has been made in the development of the vaccine. 

“That knowledge that we gain has really, really helped in this horrible pandemic. These other instances of other different diseases that we were working on are the foundation for getting to a vaccine so quickly,” Dr. Marty said. 

With hope on the horizon, her work has opened up a world of possibilities for aspiring scientists, especially women. 

“I hope that I have and there are people who say that they’ve been inspired by the work that I’ve done, and that’s really wonderful,” Dr. Marty said. 


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