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Four years ago when my wife Mary Ann and I moved to Lenbrook, little did I know that my medical background and work for the CDC would provide a valuable perspective to our new community. While I’m not an infectious disease doctor, I spent 30 years with the CDC as the Director of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. Currently, I’m a faculty member at Emory University and I welcome the opportunity to assist with our community’s preparedness and response to the COVID-19 threat.

From a medical perspective, Lenbrook’s leadership has performed well with handling the pandemic. They have asked for my input and opinion and have done a great job with screening and temperature checks and remained consistent in doing so. They have also been transparent with all their efforts. Weekly virtual town halls that we can view on TV, as well as other updates, have provided us with the latest information and reminders of how to stay well.

In a perfect world, the United States would be able to provide testing for everyone, identify anyone with the virus, use contact tracing for those who have been exposed, and then isolate anyone who has been affected. At Lenbrook, the decision to have all residents shelter in place was a wise one. All of us are experiencing inconveniences, but it’s the best course of action to keep us safe. 

I believe that the success to a happy life is having realistic expectations. You have to understand that life is different in a community. When my wife and I started looking at senior living communities, I thought it was too soon, but she was right. Lenbrook makes it easy for her to get around and the services here are outstanding. The benefits for me were unexpected and I’m looking forward to getting back to our “normal” life with unlimited bridge games, exceptional classical music concerts, and dining at The Grill where I can enjoy both the catch of the day and my favorite jello salad.

While we’ll miss our canceled “160th Birthday Party” (our combined age) my wife and I had planned, we know we’re in the best place to be right now. Having the security of living at Lenbrook and understanding the caliber of the medical staff and their impact on operational decisions is paramount. We continue to be pleased with our decision to live here.

Editor’s Note – the following release is from the CDC’s website announcing Dr. Oakley’s 2003 election to the Institute of Medicine:

Godfrey P. Oakley, Jr., MD, visiting professor of epidemiology at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, has been elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences. Election to the IOM is one of the highest honors possible in medicine and health, with only 1,382 members nationwide. This year’s group of 65 new members was chosen through a highly selective process that recognizes those who have made major contributions to the advancement of the medical sciences, health care and public health. Dr. Oakley’s election brings Emory’s total membership in the IOM to 13. Dr. Oakley has been called "the folic acid ambassador" for his work to prevent birth defects resulting from folic acid deficiencies, including paralyzing spina bifida and fatal anencephaly. Former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Dr. Oakley was an advocate to have synthetic folic acid added to all grain products. This position was supported by the Food and Drug Administration in 1996, marking the first change in the federal Food Additive Law since 1943. He was the ABC “World News Tonight” Person of the Week, March 1996.