Fri. Jan 28th, 2022

“I can’t believe she’s leaving me,” Katz said. “We’ve worked together for decades. She can’t leave.

“On the serious side, my job at the health department, for all intents and purposes, has been to make it so Roma can do what she does. She did all the important clinical work. That’s the truth. All she has ever needed from me is my signature on forms.”

Taylor said her professional life with Katz helped her get through the toughest challenges.

“COVID has been the biggest challenge,” Taylor said. “But I’m used to working with Dr. Katz — figuring out a problem and solving it.

“There have been days that felt like a failure. But you go home, come back and fight another day. That’s something Dr. Katz and I have done for a long time.”

Taylor has 41 1/2 years of lead-poisoning education, contact tracing food poisoning and working on gonorrhea and syphilis and HIV and COVID-19. She said she learned one important skill.

“So much of public health, especially the effort to trace communicable disease, is about listening,” Taylor said. “Sometimes people are angry. Sometimes they’re ashamed. You just have to let them talk and get it out. Sometimes people are scared, or afraid to speak around certain people. You have to learn to listen — sometimes between the lines — and go back another day.

By senior