Throughout the pandemic, nothing has stopped her from going into the office every single day (with fresh flowers).

Wafaa El-Sadr | New York Times | May 19, 2021

Even though she is a lauded epidemiologist, Covid’s severity took Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr, a professor at Columbia University, by surprise. “People in my world always felt there was a possibility of a pandemic by a new virus,” she said, “but the magnitude and speed at which it happened, and the profound impact on the world, was beyond what I imagined.”

The public health crisis, however, has not stopped the 70-year-old from going to her office at the university every day, even on weekends. As the director of ICAP, a Columbia initiative that supports H.I.V./AIDS research, and the incoming director of Columbia World Projects, which is dedicated to improving lives across the globe, she has been busy. Recently, she has focused her work with both organizations on helping vulnerable populations, both here and abroad, navigate the pandemic.

As for New York City’s future, Dr. El-Sadr, who lives in Columbia housing on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, is somewhat optimistic. “I see light at the end of the tunnel,” she said. “How we get through the tunnel safely until we reach the light is the challenge.”

Originally published by The New York Times. Read the full article here.