Long-time epidemiologist retires after 24 years at SDSU

Local News

BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) — After 24 years at South Dakota State University, long-time epidemiologist Bonny Specker has retired.

Specker has given the City of Brookings information while the community weathers the pandemic.

“I am really surprised how little people understand basic public health principles, or why public health is needed,” Specker said. “I think that science in general needs to be explained better to the public, so that they understand the scientific process and how to interpret data and how to find reliable data.”

Specker urges people to get the vaccine when they are able.

“You should definitely get it,” she said. “The side effects are minimally compared to what happens with COVID, and the problem with this other variant is in order for that herd immunity, you know, where there’s enough people that are immune to the virus that you prevent the spread because this new variant is much more transmittable or easily transmitted, you’re going to need a higher percent of the population immune.”

She highlights the importance of sources and where people get their information.

“What are people listening to or getting their information from, and I would recommend that you don’t get it from Facebook and you don’t get it from Twitter, but you get it from respected news sources and from places like the CDC or news sources that actually provide the references that end up going to something like CDC or a reliable source,” Specker said.

She has new plans to write historical fiction that teaches people about public health.

“I have it in my mind,” Specker said. “I want to try doing more creative writing, but in a way that you can educate the general public, rather than just showing graphs.”

She looks at SDSU fondly.

“Great people and a lot of good friends, so I was lucky to be able to work with a lot of great people while at SDSU,” Specker said.

You can take a look at data from Specker on the City of Brookings’ website.

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